I honestly can’t tell you the last time I had taco salad.
Oh wait, yes I can… two weeks ago. When we made these.
But before that I mean. Taco salad was always this oddly unappealing concept, something my mom would order when we’d go out to eat, that I’d side-eye skeptically as I plowed down my greasy cheese enchiladas.
Because when you’re craving Mexican food, salad is usually the last thing to come to mind.
Maybe I’m maturing in my tastes because these days, I can definitely see the appeal. I thought it might just be a grown-up thing, this Americanized dish we call taco salad, but then I realized, you can eat the entire bowl. I mean, c’mon. What kid wouldn’t enjoy that? (And actually, now, maybe I do remember slyly cracking bits off my mom’s bowl, taking care to avoid the lettuce at all costs).
This recipe comes from The Best Mexican Recipes, the newest release from the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen. Their Complete Cooking for Two is still one of our favorite cookbooks to date, and so we were confident this book of Mexican recipes would not disappoint.
There are a number of very authentic-sounding recipes in the book, which I appreciate, but it does mean that they are often time consuming and complex, which was surprising to us for an ATK cookbook (like the Swiss chard burritos we tried. I’m all for a complicated meal if it is worth it in the end, but alas, these were not.)
This beef taco salad is a different story, and it’s a stellar example of the kind of delicious, impeccably flavored food I expect from ATK. It’s simple AND flavorful. Even after making your own tortilla bowls, you’ll be sitting down to eat in about 30 minutes.
It may very well change your impression of taco salad forever.