Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Taco Salad

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 I had planned on writing this whole thing about how there are a lot of Americans who don't eat good Mexican food. . . citing examples like the caulking guns they use at Taco Bell to serve their bean and guacamole pastes, their strange octagon shaped taco sandwiches and of course the role they play in the evil axis that is Yum! brands

But to be honest - Taco Salad isn't really Mexican food. It is more Mexican inspired but that's not to say this isn't one of the best recipes in this project thus far. Betty is so my Yoda. 

But enough lallygagging. . . there are quite a few steps so let's get going.

  • 4 Cups of Vegetable Oil (for frying Tortilla Shells)
  • 4 Tortilla Shells (10 inch Flour)
  • 1 Package of Gimme Lean Ground Beef (really you can use any fake ground beef substitute - this is just what we happened to have)
  •  1/2 Large Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed - keep the can)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Dashes of Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tablespoon Texas Pete Hot Sauce 
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Braggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (ground)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vegan Poultry Seasoning or Seasoning Salt (most are vegan but you need to read the label to makes sure)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin 
  • 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 1 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
  • 2/3 Cup Black Olives (sliced)
  • 1 Avocado (pitted and pealed. . . we made ours into guacamole but it would have been just as good in slices)
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Green Onions (chopped) 
  • Cilantro (chopped) 

    Tortilla Shells 
    Remove the label and both ends from your empty Kidney Bean can.

    In a 3 quart saucepan, heat Vegetable Oil to a boil. Place 1 tortilla at a time on top of the saucepan. With long handled tongs, place kidney can in the middle of the Tortilla and VERY SLOWLY and GENTLY push the Tortilla into the Oil. Count  to 5 and remove the can - if the Tortilla hasn't set into a flower cup - hold for another 5 seconds. remove Can and fry Tortilla for 1 to 2 minutes longer - turning the Tortilla till it is crisp and golden brown. 
    Carefully remove the Tortilla Shell using the tongs and place on a paper towel on a plate to soak up excess oil. Let cool and repeat with the other Tortillas. 

    Taco Salad

    In your loyal cast iron skillet, heat on medium heat the Olive Oil. Stir into the Oil the dashes of Liquid Smoke and Hot Sauce . Add defrosted Fake Ground Beef (broken into bite size or smaller crumbles), chopped Red Onion and Kidney Beans and then mix in Braggs, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Poultry Seasoning and Cumin. Make sure everything gets mixed thoroughly and everything gets an even coat. It should take around 10 minutes for it to finish cooking. . . but it will take a different amount of time for different types of Fake Ground Beef. Some types of fake meat are thicker than others. Remove from heat once the Fake Ground Beef is browned and the Onions are caramelized.Be sure and let the Fake Beef mix cool before serving.

    Now you can build your salads!
    Put your Lettuce in the Tortilla Shells as a base and then add whatever fixings you want. . . It's your party!


    1. Yum! Can't wait to try this out.

    2. I've never understood if one is a vegetarian, why would you even bother with fake meat? If you like the texture of the fake meat, and the flavor, and it tastes like meat or gr. poultry, why not just use the real stuff? I am not being critical, just curious.

    3. some, and I'm guessing most vegans and vegetarians, don't eat meat for ethical reasons. they don't agree with the treatment of animals. I assume, many of them like me, grew up eating meat and just because one doesn't agree with the treatment of animals and therefore doesn't want to eat them, doesn't mean they hated the way animal products tasted. I cannot fathom the thought of ever putting a animal product in my mouth again, but I still make vegan versions of of many dishes involving meat.

    4. It's not about flavor. It's about animals rights or health. "Fake" meats are healthy and good substitutes that don't harm animals.

    5. it's also about those of us that can't eat meat for health reasons. while i the thought of my food not causing another creature's slaughter, i became a vegan for some significant health reasons. it saved my life. do i really enjoy the soy crumbles? in some things, yes. we got used to eating beef and we can get used to eating plant-based products just the same.