So Fresh, So Spicy

turkey taco salad

tacos, in salad form

I’ve got a question to ask everyone: can a salad be fresh and spicy? (Yeah, I said salad. I do eat them on occasion.) The answer is … yes. I love tacos, but why should they only be eaten in shell or tortilla form? A warm spoonful of spicy taco meat sitting on top of fresh, cold lettuce creates a pretty tasty experience. And it’s guaranteed to transform a rainy Monday night into a Flavor Fiesta. Since every salad needs a proper dressing, I mixed up a cilantro-lime vinaigrette using red wine vinegar, fresh herbs, lime juice and zest. It contrasted really well with the spicy meat, and added even more freshness to the fiesta.

Spicy Turkey Taco Salad
For the salad:
– 1 white onion, diced
– 1 jalapeno, finely diced
– 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
– 1 tablespoon of chili powder
– 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
– 1 ¼ lb of lean ground turkey
– Worcestershire sauce
– Jalapeno hot sauce
– Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice (optional)
– 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
– ½ of a red onion, sliced
– Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
– Salsa
– Olive oil
– Whole wheat tortilla chips, for garnish

For the vinaigrette:
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
– 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
– 3 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
– 1 teaspoon of lime zest
– 1 tablespoon of lime juice

In a large skillet, heat some olive over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground turkey, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and cook until turkey is browned and cooked through. Add about ½ cup of water and a more than a few dashes of jalapeno hot sauce and simmer uncovered, until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Season with a sprinkle of Arizona Dreaming spice.

ground turkey tacos

tasty turkey taco meat

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together (or place everything in a jar and shake) the cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, lime zest and lime juice.

To assemble the salad, layer lettuce and red onion on a plate. Top with a large spoonful of ground turkey, a handful of shredded cheese and a dollop of salsa. Drizzle lightly with the cilantro-lime vinaigrette and garnish with tortilla chips.

The spicy turkey mixture would also be great in your favorite taco shells or tortillas.


5 Comments on “So Fresh, So Spicy”

  1. That looks like a fine idea. It reminds me of one of our favourite chinese dishes Yuk Sung which is a tasty porky filling in crisp lettuce. My favourite thing about Thai food is that it manages to be fresh AND spicy too. This is a good alternative.

  2. billpeeler says:

    That cilantro-lime vinaigrette sounds awesome – I’m sure it’s perfect for the salad – looks muy delicioso!

  3. Conor Bofin says:

    I really do approve. I usually end up eating chili with rice. It would be lovely with the crispy lettuce and that vinaigrette.

  4. Caroline says:

    Couldn’t agree more–just as delicious without the shell! And that vinaigrette sounds fantastic. Pretty sure I could just drink that. 😉

  5. That’s really cool. I mean hot. I mean spicy!

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