Taco Salad with Homemade Tortilla Shells--By Debbie Walton

This is an absolutely fabulous meal to make from a lot of items you will already have in your kitchen. With practice you can whip this meal up very quickly. I have recently made this recipe several times in one week because we all loved it. I have also included a recipe for your own taco seasoning. You only need one Tbsp. for this recipe, so don't add all 3 Tbsp-YIKES!! Put Fresh Chunky Salsa on the side to dip your leftover tortilla shell in after finishing the salad portion.  

Begin by combining:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup warm water
Mix flour, salt and water together to make a soft dough. Spray ball of dough and surface with olive oil and knead until smooth. You want to have dough a little sticky, but not too sticky. Set the dough aside and cover with a warm damp cloth. Let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes or more.
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.

Heat griddle on highest heat and turn oven to 425 degrees. Make smooth balls and press flat. Roll balls in flour and roll out until you have a 6 inch circle. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or surface, dust very lightly with flour. (use just enough to help you roll out circle~too much flour will make your tortilla dry. I roll a few times, flip the tortilla over and dust lightly with flour, roll a few  more times and then flip again and until I have a 6 inch circle.  You might like this  King Arthur Rolling Mat. I love this mat and use it to roll out dough for rolls, pizzas and tortillas. It has circles on it to help get your tortillas or pizza the perfect size you need.

Cook two tortillas on grill at a time. When tortilla starts changing color and starts puffing, flip over.

Flip again after a few seconds. Take a flat spatula and press lightly on the puffed parts of the tortilla. This will help the tortilla to puff more. This is an important step to get your tortillas to be light and puffy.
Flip again. The tortilla should have light golden-brown spots on both sides. Do not cook very long because it will become hard. You need it to be soft and pliable. Keep tortillas stacked together on and under a cloth to keep from drying out.





Prepare for the Oven:

Rub 1/4 tsp. of olive oil on both the top and bottom of the tortilla and place on an upside down, oven-proof Ramekin (click here to see the one I have), which is the size you need. Cook for 6 minutes and remove to cool. 












This is what the tortilla will look like after it has been baked over the top of the upside-down Ramekin (see last picture below to see what it looks like as you place it in the oven)












Next make your own homemade Taco Seasoning (this will make 3 recipes)

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Mix all seasonings together. Use 1 Tbsp. of mixture and store the rest in a small glass container for later use.







Combine in pan 1/2 tsp. olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion or green bell pepper & 1 crushed clove of garlic and cook for one minute and then add 1 (15oz.) can drained and rinsed low sodium beans of your choice (I have used kidney and white beans). To this add 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1 Tbsp. of the homemade taco seasoning.





This is the tortilla shell cooking over the Ramekin!





Fill tortilla bowls with lots of fresh, organic spinach or other leafy greens of choice.






Add your favorite dressing on top of the spinach. Top each taco bowl with my Perfect Brown Rice (see below). Pack rice in a small container and then dump on top of spinach or other leafy greens. This will keep your rice from going everywhere. On top of the rice add your bean mixture (again pack in small container before dumping on top of rice). Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro, a side cup of homemade salsa and fresh lime. Enjoy!


Perfect Brown Rice

Serves 4

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups filtered water

1. Fix brown rice by cooking in 1 tsp. olive oil until lightly browned. You will hear it start to snap, crackle and pop. Add 2 cups water all at once. Quickly put on lid and bring to boil. Turn down heat to simmer until all water has evaporated (around 40 minutes).




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