Sunday, January 17, 2010

Salad Challenge!

Last week's blog gave me an idea. I'm sure you've all heard of the 52-week challenge, the latest craze in new year's resolutions. If you haven't the basic premise is that people come up with a list of 52 things to do, and each week they have to check one off their list, or some kind of variation on the theme of weekly accountability.

I'm not usually one to jump on bandwagons, but I like the idea of this because it can promote creativity, and I'm all for that. So after last week's delightful salad, I thought to myself, I bet I could make a different salad every week for 52 weeks without repeats. And this is precisely what I plan to do! Since last week's post is what inspired this plan, I'm going to retroactively name it Week 1 of the Salad Challenge!

I am always kicking myself for not keeping up with my food blog enough, and this will force me to do that, on a weekly basis. I am still hoping to intersperse non-salad meals in between salad-of-the-week, but we'll see how that goes.

Tonight I made taco salad. Vegan taco salads have all the hearty full-meal-salad makings of its ground meat filled namesake, but much healthier (and none of that gross bright orange grease that always drips from meat-based taco filling!). It makes for a super fast crowd pleasing salad that will satisfy herbivores and carnivores alike. Definitely not a wimpy salad.

Week 2: Vegan Taco Salad
1 can black beans, drained
1 package taco seasoning
Lettuce/greenery of choice (crunchier lettuces like Romaine stand up better to warm toppings)
Diced bell peppers, hot peppers, green onion, tomato, cucumber
Corn chips

To make the taco mix, put the black beans, taco seasoning and water in a saucepan over medium heat. If you're making this gluten-free, most seasoning packages contain wheat products so you'll need to season it yourself. The Gluten Intolerance Group posts a recipe for taco seasoning here. With a potato masher, coarsely mash the beans so they form a more cohesive paste, while still leaving lots of chunks behind. Let the mix simmer until it has thickened.
In a large bowl or plate pile on lots of lettuce, spoon on a healthy helping of taco mix, top it with peppers, onion, tomatoes. Finally top with broken corn chips (this is a great way to use up the broken bits from the bottom of the bag! In fact, broken corn chips make an excellent crouton substitute on a number of salads.).

You can put on a salad dressing if you like, though I find that it's not really necessary because the taco seasoning adds all the saucy goodness you need. However, if you feel you want a little something extra, I suggest using one of the following dressing options:
- salsa
- lime vinaigrette (fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil, cilantro & cumin)
- vegan ranch dressing (I tried this recipe from Veggie Terrain tonight and it was very good)

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