Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Healthy Lunch Series: Vegetarian Taco Salad with Homemade Seasoning


Have you got a dishwasher reorganizer in the family?

We do.

And it seems there's no easy cure.  

No matter how carefully I place the plates, pack the cups or hang the knives, our resident reorganizer sneaks back to the dishwasher, quietly opens the door and proceeds to refile all of the dishes I've just loaded (!).  

It's been going on for about 20 years now.

Can anyone else relate? 

(So what do we think... is it a nature or nurture thing? A confluence of influences thing? Any hope for reform?)

~~~~ 

Mexican food is in my top three all-time favorite cuisine types (if you must know, Thai, Indian, Mexican, generally in that order).  I adore the breadth of flavors and ingredients that typically characterize Mexican food and tacos are a family favorite.

The pre-packaged taco seasonings are convenient (and often yummy) but when you investigate the contents of these packages you begin to wonder: MSG, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicone dioxide (an "anticaking" agent), ethoxyquin (etho who? a preservative) and enough sodium to fill your daily quota and then some. On balance, I'd much rather spend the extra 5 minutes creating my own mixture and I think you'll find the taste worthwhile too.



Healthy Lunch Series

Healthy Lunch Series: Vegetarian Taco Salad with Homemade Seasoning

For the Taco Salad:

  • 2 cups cooked black beans, thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 2 cups fresh whole corn kernels or thawed from frozen
  • 2 cups coleslaw or lettuce of choice
  • 16 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or any variety of  tomato chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese or cheese of choice, grated
  • 2 green onions/scallions for topping, finely chopped

For the Taco Seasoning:
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes, optional heat
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper

Serves 4

Notes:
  1. You can make your taco seasoning ahead of time and triple the batch to create enough seasoning for 3 meals.  Simply store the seasoning in an airtight container.
  2. I like to make a double batch of beans on the weekend for weekday meals. In addition to superior taste, I have ongoing concerns about the BPA content in lined cans.
  3. If you wish, you can season most or all of the ingredients in this recipe, as desired, by placing them in the skillet with the beans.
  4. Any plant protein can be used in place of the beans - diced tofu/tempeh, lentils or any other legume of choice.

Directions:
  1. In a small dish, combine taco seasoning ingredients together, mixing to integrate.  Set aside.
  2. Wash and chop vegetables as required and grate cheese. 
  3. Warm a medium sized skillet over low heat and add black beans.  Sprinkle the black beans with half of the taco seasoning using a wooden spoon to help coat the beans and toss.  Add a little bit of water to the bean mixture (start with a quarter cup or so) and then add the remaining taco seasoning coating and tossing.  If necessary, add additional water to the mixture - you want the beans to be well coated with the seasoning but not dry and clumpy. The mixture should be mildly liquid. Remove beans from heat.
  4. If eating at home, you can plate the ingredients as illustrated in the photos adding the seasoned beans to the center.  Top the beans with a quarter cup of yogurt and sprinkling of green onion. If preferred, you can also cool the seasoned beans before serving.
  5. Salsa and guacamole also make delicious accompaniments. 
  6. If bringing this lunch on the road or to the office, simply layer the ingredients into a container and seal well with lid.  Bring yogurt, salsa and guacamole in separate small containers as desired.

© Inspired Edibles

  Print this recipe card




I enjoy my taco salad with yogurt, fresh guacamole and plenty o' salsa!

A rare spectator view of Michelle Obama's beautiful garden 
taken by my brother-in-law on a recent trip to DC
how exactly he got the shot through the fence remains a mystery to all ;-)


Bon App├ętit 

19 comments:

  1. SUCH a beautiful plateful! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Soooooo colorful!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, my god! I LIVE with a dishwasher reorganizer... it drives me absolutely nuts, as I don't see anything wrong with the way I put the dishes in, AND I am very careful to leave enough space between bowls, whereas ALmighty Chief Organizer of Dirty Dishes seems more concerned with other, irrelevant (HA!) issues ;-)



    now that I got THAT off my chest, love your healthy lunch series, my kind of recipe all the way.... By the way, I have a new addiction: use a light spread of non-fat yogurt with salt and pepper as a spread on whole wheat bread. Slice of tomato on top, and I am in heaven!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is sooo beautiful and I'm totally with you on your three favourite cuisines!! I can imagine this with a heeaaaping scoop of guacamole. Mmmm!!


    And wow...Michelle has a nice little garden going there, doesn't she! Lucky lady!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sandra @ Kitchen ApparelJune 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Beautiful plate!!! The colors just pop out and make me so happy :) This dish sound so healthful and delicious....I'm loving the homemade seasoning!!! I think in our family I am the resident reorganizer...if my husband packs the car for a trip I have to reorganize the job he just did. At least I am able to admit it right?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Heehee, I love it! I specifically steered away from gender bias in describing this situation fully aware that there would be plenty of organizers out there of both sexes! I sure have my peculiarities too but as you say, the first step is recognizing it ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah, thank you for stopping by Elly! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Why thank you Jennifer, happy it appeals.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I get 'gently' instructed frequently but no matter how I try to meet the standard it appears a re-org is generally required :). Ah, the little things. Your yogurt with sliced tomato sounds divine - my husband & son love a similar duo of avocado and purple onion on mayo :O).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, it would be nice to have the space for a garden expanse like that (but then again, who am I kidding? I kill anything that isn't a weed so I'm not sure it would matter in the least!). Cheers KoKo - thank you for your company :).

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's a beautiful and healthy taco salad. I can easily finish the whole plate!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sissi_Withaglass.comJune 18, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    We all have such strange habits as mixing salads before serving them... Now looking at your lovely separated bright "lanes" of vegetables I wonder why I have never had this wonderful idea. It does change from the usual salad and looks so inviting! I totally agree on the sauces: I never ever buy ready-made sauces or dressings (I even have no idea how they taste...) unless they are such complicated things are fermented beans & chili Sichuan sauce or Hoisin sauce... I have heard that jars of guacamole are really disgusting.
    Michelle Obama's garden looks very appetising ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Sissi! There's a salad that is quite popular in North America that has those characteristic lanes that I've always found very attractive too. If you google image 'cobb salad' you'll see what I mean :).

    ReplyDelete
  14. me too Angie!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I feel your pain! Without divulging who (but we all know it's just the two of us!) it's definitely not me! I've given up and now I just put the dishes in willy nilly knowing they will be reorganized for optimizing capacity. I no longer take offence, instead it has now been labelled a 'blue job' and I've washed my hands of it (if you'll pardon the pun)!
    I'm going to agree with you on the cuisines, except my fav's usually alter order depending on my mood. Mexican flavours are definitely up there, and I'm with you on prepackaged seasonings, I'd rather know what we're eating. This is a lovely alternative to meat tacos, we love beans so it will make a lovely summer meal. In fact, our dear friends are coming up to our cottage in a couple of weeks and he is vegetarian, so this is definitely on the menu!
    How did your BIL get up so close? We were a million miles away!
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. Haha, I was going to say the relative order of my cuisine faves depends on my hormone levels but I guess mood pretty much covers the topic ;-).

    So you have a little organizer of your own do you? Yes, optimizing capacity is one stated goal and exposing the surfaces for proper washing is apparently another - the blade spins 'this way' not 'that way' ;O).

    Ah, yes, the garden shot.... without revealing any national secrets, my anonymous sources suggest that snipers may have been close at hand given the proximity of the shot ;O).

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love the way you have this plated...it's a rainbow of colors/textures/flavors :) Oh, and I'm totally a dish reorganizer, but only cuz Nate has no idea what he's doing ;) I think my favorite cuisine types are very similar to yours! Do you like vietnamese and korean food too? They're my favorite of the asian cuisines. I think what I love about all these cuisines is all the fresh herbs. Yum!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Gorgeous colors and nutrients! How wonderful. I love your homemade taco seasoning. Easy and flavorful. I have to admit, no re-organizers in our house or family. But my mother in law is famous for it. We only visit once a year, so I try not to let it bother me. I think this might be a matter of pick your battles and let this one be. At least it makes for funny story telling and taking the piss (aka friendly ribbing).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Definitely my kind of salad! We obviously have the same tastes in food, but my order is different. Bet you can't guess which cuisine I put first. :) Love your taco salad! Healthy, beautiful and I know it's delicious! O.K - I'm the reorganizer, but I'm not sure if Bobby has figured it out yet. He he. I reorganize to get more dishes in the the dishwasher. I can usually fit in twice the amount of dishes so when I get a chance, I move a few things around after he's out of the room. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your feedback - it's wonderful to hear from you!