By far, the most popular day at our work cafeteria is taco Thursdays. They make both normal tacos and taco salads served in those big, fried taco bowls. I typically bring my lunch to work, so I have yet to participate in taco Thursdays. Nevertheless, if you would sit outside the cafeteria, I would bet almost every single person walking out of that cafeteria has one of those big bowls. While those taco salads may be delicious, part of the reason that I have not yet indulged is just that. With all the meat (which I doubt is lean), cheese, and the fried bowl, I'm sure those salads are far from health food.
From tacos to cheeseburgers, doesn't seem like too far of a leap up the "healthy meter" but hear me out. Lean ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, whole wheat homemade croutons with no heavy dressing. May be a little higher in sodium due to the condiments and pickles, but not so bad after all.
This salad is actually adapted from recipe that I saw on Ree's site The Pioneer Woman. In the two weeks since I first noticed the recipe online, we have already made it twice. The second time requested specifically by my husband. It is that good. Almost better when I reassembled the leftovers for my Thursday cheeseburger salad lunch :) Enough said. Enjoy!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2 large whole wheat rolls, cut into 1-inch pieces
Butter-flavored non-stick spray
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 lb. lean ground beef (93 or 96%)
3 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed and torn
1/4 - 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
4 whole dill pickles, cubed
1/2 red onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray the pieces of bread with the non-stick spray and toss. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and parsley and mix. Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 15 more minutes or until brown and crispy.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. When cooked through, drain any fat from the pan. Add ketchup, mustards, and barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Keep warm.
To assemble each salad, divide the lettuce between plates. Layer on the meat, onions, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and croutons. Serve immediately. The salad can be saved for lunch by storing the vegetables, croutons, and meat separately. Warm the meat up in the microwave just before eating, then assemble the ingredients.