Salads ordered at restaurants or made at home, even, may seem like a safe bet. I mean... Salad is *always* healthy and low-calorie, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some taco salads (made with the fried tortilla shell) can reach around 900 calories!
Here's how I make my taco salad at home, using some of what I call "cheat codes".
First, let's talk proteins. I choose to go with shrimp because I love seafood, it's a change from the traditional, and it's low fat and packed with protein. You can use whatever size shrimp you prefer, I chose to use XL shrimp with shells on that I cleaned myself, but no shame if you pay slightly more for the convenience of ready-to-cook. I seasoned mine with a really bold seasoning:
If you've not tried it and you aren't afraid of a little spicy kick, I highly recommend it! I also recommend that you grill the shrimp. I threw on some skewered veggies for later in the week to make heating up the grill worth it.
As far as the lettuce base, I just chopped up romaine, which is really high in Vitamin A. I typically like spring mix, but it does not go well, in my opinion, in this salad. Iceberg lettuce is honestly just a wash... It has practically no calories but also offers no nutritional value.
I am not a fan of many low-fat cheeses, so I choose to limit my portion of regular cheese instead. For this salad, I opted for a regular shredded colby jack, but limited to one handful (around 1/4 cup).
Regular sour cream is high in fat and calories and I have personally never cared for the low-fat option. But... I found a cheat code in Greek yogurt. Not every 0% fat Greek yogurts are equal, in my opinion. I prefer the taste of:
This is the perfect substitute for sour cream! I promise you won't miss it- just make the switch today. A dollop of this provides no fat, lots of protein, and hardly any calories.
Guacamole is another addition that can add lots of fat and calories quickly. Avocados are definitely delicious but even though their fat is mainly "good fat" (monounsaturated), they are high in calorie and should be limited in portion size. A whole avocado, for instance, is around 320 calories! In light of this, I like to keep these little guys on hand:
They come in 2 oz cups and for this recipe I felt satisfied with splitting that with two salads.
For the tomato element, I love to make my own pico de gallo. If you've not made it, don't be intimidated! All you have to do is chop up some tomatoes and add cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. I don't feel that a recipe with further instructions is needed for that- trust yourself! Or, if you prefer, use any salsa you like. Just around 2 tbsp is needed for this recipe.
The final element is the needed crunch! You could measure out some tortilla strips or chips, but I had these on hand:
I love to keep these on hand for a quick tostada that I can load up with beans and veggies! Tostadas are a great family meal because each person can use their individuality to make a unique creation. Imagination is wonderful in the kitchen! For this recipe, I snapped a tostada in half and crushed it to top my salad. Again, limit your portions on ingredients beforehand and you won't even miss it.
Then, as I do with many foods, I added sliced green onion on top for flavor and presentation. The final product:
The final recipe:
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 oz of XL shrimp (around 7 shrimp), seasoned and grilled
1 oz of Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup shredded colby jack cheese
2 tbsp of pico de gallo or salsa
1/2 crushed corn tostada
1/2 Wholly guacamole mini
Grand Nutritional Totals:
Total fat: 15.8 g (Saturated 6.3 g)
Total Carbohydrate: 12.6 g
Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 35 g
Potassium: 455.8 mg
Vitamin A: 420.5%
Vitamin C: 15.6%