Vegetable Taco Salad
By Lori Ross
Everyone likes Mexican food and taco salads are lots of fun for kids when they can pick what they want to go on their salads. Lay out each ingredient in a bowl on a big platter and give kids a bowl of lettuce, then let kids pick out what they want in their salad.
16 ounces canned beans (black, white, kidney, lentils, chickpeas...whatever beans your children like) or use vegetarian meat crumbles (see below) if you want the texture of ground meat.
1 package taco seasoning mix (Taco Bell, McCormick, Chi-Chi’s)
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked white or brown rice mixed with ½ cup tomato sauce
1 medium head lettuce, shredded, about 4 cups
1 cup shredded sharp Jack or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup cooked corn
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped cucumbers
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
2 cups taco chips
1 cup sliced avocado (optional)
Pickled jalapeno peppers (optional)
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
Mix beans with taco seasoning and heat gently for 1-2 minutes in a microwave to infuse beans with taco flavoring. On a large platter, place separate bowls of shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sliced olives, chopped green bell pepper corn, scallions, cucumbers, cilantro, sour cream salsa, taco chips and avocado and. jalapenos if using. , For each serving, place lettuce mixture bowl, top with some of the beans, rice and then let children add the vegetables, cheese, sour cream, salsa and corn chips as they wish.
Variations: If you want the texture of meat, consider using one of the many vegetarian ground meat replacements (e.g. crumbles, patties broken up into meat or meatless meatballs by Morningstar, Trader Joe’s, Gimme Lean, Boca Burger are terrific!) instead of beans. If your children prefer vegetables other than those traditionally used for taco salads, feel free to experiment.