Have you ever had a craving for something, and it can actually be fairly healthy except for one thing which happens to also be the whole reason for the craving? Well, in my case, taco salads are close to the top of that list!
I always loved the crispy, crunchy shell and the taste it would have after eating the ground beef, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. When you get one of these "salads" in a restaurant, you think it's got to be healthy, it is after all a "salad" right? Nope. That delicious shell can make the otherwise fairly healthy (depending on how it's treated) goodies just no good for you. That is the main reason I quit ordering them.
Luckily, I realized that you can actually make a taco salad shell healthy by baking a whole wheat tortilla in the shape of a shell!
Healthy Taco salad
(The measurements below are approximates as I do no measure when cooking)
- Marinaded Pork loin (If pork isn't your thing, chicken, beef or even portobello mushrooms will work!)
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Olive oil
- Chopped tomato
- 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- Chopped lettuce, about a cup per salad
- Cilantro, chopped (optional)
- A lime, sliced into wedges
- Guacamole (optional)
- 0% plain yogurt, to substitute the sour cream (optional)
- Shredded cheese
Turn oven on to broil and place the pork loin in a pan that can take the heat (I used my cast iron grill pan). Cook until juices run clear, the internal temp is at 160F and there's a beautiful crust on the outside, making sure to turn every so often to have the outside cook evenly. If you are having any issues with the pork cooking all the way, feel free to turn on the oven for another 20 minutes at about 350F (Thank you Farmer Jo for the great tip!!).
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into strips.
While your meat is resting get your tortillas ready. Find a baking dish (I actually used a small spring form pan, as it was perfect in size) and place your tortilla in side. This will need to be done one tortilla at a time unless you have more than one utensil!
Take the olive oil and lightly brush it on the inside of the curved up tortilla. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350F, making sure to check it every couple of minutes after it hits the half way mark just in case!
Remove and allow to cool about 5 - 10 minutes before filling with lettuce, pork, tomato, jalapenos, guacamole, yogurt and cilantro.
It may sound like a bit of work, but it's totally worth it! The shell comes out crisp and crunchy and you will never miss the fried one you get at a restaurant!!