Mexican Chef's Salad

by Stacey Jaros


Back in April I posted about my Mom making Taco Salad  when she visited before we went on vacation. At the time I thought that recipe I know by heart was the one I found in The Red Box. I was mistaken.

Check out that nifty bag of chips. 

Check out that nifty bag of chips. 

One thing I definitely remember about this salad as written in The Red Box is that it called for Taco Flavor tortilla chips. Taco Flavor Doritos were created in 1967 but were discontinued at some point. I don't recall when that happened but I do remember thinking, "aw, bummer, we used that for that recipe." Recently I began seeing Taco Flavor Doritos in nifty retro-designed packaging in the supermarkets. I couldn't recall what they tasted like but I thought I'd like to try them in the recipe before they're discontinued again. I assumed they'd be a limited edition but they're here to stay.

Just like the Taco Salad from my memory this recipe begins by browning ground beef. I added salt and pepper to the cooking beef.

Just like the Taco Salad from my memory this recipe begins by browning ground beef. I added salt and pepper to the cooking beef.

While that was browning I prepped the other ingredients. I shredded the lettuce. The recipe doesn't call for the tomatoes to be seeded but that is how I prefer them, especially when I'm adding tomatoes to a salad.

I don't like excess moisture in a salad. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine.

I don't like excess moisture in a salad. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine.

Although it's not mentioned in the recipe I rinsed the beans. I don't think it's necessary but sometimes I think canned beans can be a little slimy. I did drain them pretty well.

An onion chopper similar to this makes quick work of chopping onions. It's not necessary but I find it very handy.

An onion chopper similar to this makes quick work of chopping onions. It's not necessary but I find it very handy.

Whenever I'm tossing a salad I like to use a bowl about twice as large as the ingredients need. I tend to be a very messy salad tosser and I find the extra volume in the bowl helps cut down on messes.

Salads like this are so easy because once all the prep work is complete everything just gets dumped in one bowl and mixed.

Salads like this are so easy because once all the prep work is complete everything just gets dumped in one bowl and mixed.

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The recipe calls for one onion. The onion I used yielded more than a cup. I thought that would be way, way, too much raw onion in a salad. I added a couple tablespoons before initially tossing the first ingredients.

The recipe calls for the entire bottle of salad dressing. I barely used a third of it. Jeff likes his salads well dressed. You could definitely get away with using less.

The recipe calls for the entire bottle of salad dressing. I barely used a third of it. Jeff likes his salads well dressed. You could definitely get away with using less.

The French dressing is such a surprising complement for these ingredients. It adds a spicy color but a cool flavor. I don't ever order French dressing in a restaurant. In fact I seldom see it offered but it works really well with these flavors.

I added all the next ingredients except for avocado. I was using a perfectly ripe avocado which I chopped. I was afraid if I tossed it too much with the salad it would break down to mush. I tossed it and tasted it. I thought it could use some more onion so I added a few more tablespoons. In the end I didn't end up using even half the onion I chopped.

It's not necessarily a very pretty salad.

It's not necessarily a very pretty salad.

Once I was happy with the balance of ingredients in the bowl I dished up the salad and added avocado as a topping. I like to serve a few whole tortilla chips along side the salad.

I should have set aside a couple tomato bits to place on the top to brighten it up.

I should have set aside a couple tomato bits to place on the top to brighten it up.

This salad was delicious but I think the beef could benefit from a little more seasoning. As for the onion, even though this particular onion was quite strong and really added a pungent kick, it blended well with the cool dressing and smooth beans. While I don't exactly remember the flavor of the Taco Chips, and they're not my favorite bagged chip flavor, I must say they really work with the combination of flavors in this salad.

Mexican Chefs Salad

1 onion, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 head of lettuce, shredded
1 package grated cheese
1 8 ounce bottle Kraft French dressing
1 6 ounce bag taco flavor tortilla chips
1 large avocado, cut up
1 8 ounce can kidney beans
1 pound ground meat

Toss onion, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and dressing. Add tortilla chips, avocado, and kidney beans. Brown ground meat. Salt and pepper to taste. Drain. Add meat to above mixture.

Decorate with extra chips, avocado, and tomato.