It’s a lot easier to eat salad in the summer. Not only are fruits and vegetables at their juiciest, when the weather is sticky, hydrating produce beckons like Forever 21 to a 14-year-old. Once the days get darker and stepping outside without a jacket becomes an impossibility, salad loses some of its luster.
It’s hard to get geared up for romaine when you’d rather climb into a Jacuzzi of soup and bread. Still, raw vegetables are good for the body and the palate. It just takes a bit of finagling to make them more appealing in the cooler months. I like to give salads a fall makeover by adding at least one warm element. It could be homemade croutons, baked tofu, or roasted chickpeas.
For today’s taco salad recipe I added a baked tortilla bowl and spicy black beans.
When I was in high school, a taco salad was one of my standard orders at Perkins, the casual chain known for their bread bowls and pies. A bunch of us would slide into a booth after play practice, hang out after a school dance, or grab an appetizer after a movie. I haven’t been to a Perkins location in at least a decade, but there was a time in my life when that diner was a regular haunt. The only people who were there more often were the police officers ordering breakfast late into the night.
The taco salads came in a crisp bowl that could be cracked into the mixture of lettuce, or even used to scoop up the salad like a jagged, handmade nacho. The shell crackled under my teeth with every bite of iceberg, tomato, and taco filling.
These days, I make my taco salads at home. Instead of deep-frying the bowls (and kind of defeating the point of salad), I use a metal bowl with a curled shape to bake the tortilla into the perfect taco salad vessel. If you don’t own such a bowl, no worries. A medium-sized glass bowl that’s oven-safe will do the trick just fine. Simply place your tortilla into it and press it against the sides. Bake for 10 minutes.
I fill my taco salads with spicy black beans. You’ll find these black beans all over my blog, because they make leftovers that are rife for repurposing. They can be placed in tacos, obviously, on taco pizza, or spread across puffy nachos.
Add any other favorite taco salad fillings like tomatoes, romaine, guacamole, jalapeño slices, and/or cilantro. With a little spicy kick, those raw vegetables are primed for fall and winter until it’s July again and raw tacos beckon.
Check out the video at the top of this post to see a full demonstration on how to make taco salad at home!