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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Taco Salad Remix with Homemade Ranch


I love salads. I'm always experimenting with different combinations to add some flare to what otherwise could be a boring bowl of lettuce.

After a trip to Chipotle, I was inspired to create my own version of a taco salad. Now, this is definitely a remix -- it doesn't have any of the traditional ingredients like tortilla shell/chips or meat. It consists of brown rice, black beans and other toppings sitting on a huge bed of lettuce -- and it's delicious. What's really great about this salad is that it has no meat and is packed with 19.5g of protein.

It's topped with a creamy and light ranch dressing. I love ranch. But because it can be heavy and store bought dressings are full of preservatives, I've created my own. It is lighter than most store bought brands and it's free of artificial ingredients making it a better option to fix that ranch tooth.

Once you have all the ingredients, the salad is easy to put together. The recipe below is for one large serving. It's a meal -- you won't be hungry for hours. Check it out.

Ingredients:
5-6 cups romaine lettuce (or lettuce of your choosing)
1/4 cup black beans drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cooked brown rice
1 small tomato, diced
1-2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
chili powder
cilantro (optional)

Directions: Place lettuce in large bowl. Spread brown rice over lettuce. In a smaller bowl, place the drained and rinsed black beans and mix with a few shakes of chili powder, then add to larger bowl with the lettuce and rice. Top with cheese, green onions, tomatoes and cilantro.

Ranch Dressing:

Yields: 3/4 cup
Ingredients:
1/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons green onions (white parts only)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients, except dill, in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add dill and pulse for a few seconds -- just long enough to blend. Too much blending with the dill added will make it turn a light green color.

NUTRITION DATA:

Salad: 299 calories, 9.25g fat, 44g carbs, 19.5g protein, 8.5g fiber

Ranch: 1 tablespoon
42.5 calories, 3g fat, 0.2g carbs, 0.2g protein, 0.3g sugar

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