Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taco salad and knock-off dressing

In an unending effort to come up with New! Delicious! Low-Fat! salad ideas, today I got real ambitious. We all know that the essential component of a palatable salad is good salad dressing, and we also all know that good salad dressing contains fat and sugar in abundance. Take, for example, my most preferred dressing, the house dressing at Cafe Rio. I'm sure it has 200 calories per teaspoon, but that stuff turns a salad into...I don't know, but something really good tasting. At any rate, I can't go around consuming Cafe Rio's dressing, but I can try to use their salad as a starting point for a healthier and appealing (though not decadent) salad of my own. This recipe may benefit from some tweaking.

Cilantro-lime ranch dressing
1 recipe tofu mayo from Clean Vegan
1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet (this may have been too much, it came out real ranchey)
1 cup soy-buttermilk (add a teaspoon or so of lemon juice (or vinegar) to the soymilk and it will curdle in a minute or two)
the end of a jalapeno (I didn't add enough and couldn't taste it)
a small handful cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime

Taco salad
shredded romaine
chopped bell peppers (I used yellow)
shredded carrots
chopped tomatoes
diced avocado
chopped green onion
1 can black beans and 2 cans kidney beans cooked in juice with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning until thickened

When I made this salad again the next day out of the leftovers, I cut up and entire mango and put it on top of everything and it really livened things up. Oh, and made it really gorgeous. So, if you're willing to work with mangoes, they make a great addition.

It came out well, but still needs a bit of help. I still thought it was worth posting as a great idea for a change of pace in the salad world. I am also a little bit embarrassed at having used not one but TWO seasoning packets containing msg and other unmentionables. Forgive me.

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