Friends. It’s salad time.
I don’t know about you, but I think I had one too many cookies and one too many bites of sausage gravy this holiday season. I agree – it was absolutely, positively amazing, and I don’t regret even one of those bites. I mean, how can you go wrong with gooey, chocolately peanut butter cookies and warm, comforting sausage gravy over hot-outta-the-oven biscuits? Yeah, it was crazy good.
But I’m pretty sure my body has had enoughathat, and is ready to be back to normal eating habits. I know it’s a big surprise, but I don’t eat sausage gravy on regular days. Actually, I had never even made it until Christmas, and it was so good I ended up cooking it 3 times! 3 TIMES! That is absurd… I just need something superfresh.
Annnnd, cue the salad.
But what better way to celebrate normal eating habits (whatever that means) than with a bases-loaded taco salad with all the fixins’? This salad is a fabulous reminder that eating better… eating a salad, doesn’t have to be a snooze-fest. Because it has absolutely everything I could ever want to eat in one place… on a bed of freshly cut romaine.
We’ve got spicy, smokey and crispy roasted sweet potatoes that are the star of the show. They only take a few minutes to prep, and the oven does the rest of the work. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up cooking extra and eating mostly sweet potatoes and nothing else. I mean, these taters may not even make it to the salad.
It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.
Then, we have all my other favorite toppings: Fire-roasted corn with peppers for a pop of flava. Creamy, dreamy avocado. Sharp cheddar cheese… because cheese. Cilantro for that little bite. Salty, crushed tortilla chips, because of allathat crunch [and it’s pretty much a requirement for taco salad]. And then a lil bit of fresh lime juice and creamy Mex dressing to bring it all home.
And more cheese never hurt anyone.
Now let’s be real here. You totally forgot I was talking about a salad, didn’t you?! Salad whaaaaat?!
I know I got lost in the goodness, and I also know that I’m ready for thirds, fourths and fifths on the sweet potatoes [I warned you]. So really when the recipe calls for 2 sweet potatoes, you may want to make 14, because you’ll find ways to eat them alllll [day] week long. I just can’t stress this enough.
- 1 ½ tsp. chili powder or chipotle chili powder
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. ground cumin or smoked cumin
- ¼ tsp. coarse salt and ground black pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tsp. canola or olive oil
- 3-4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 (6 oz.) can Mexican corn, drained, dried and roasted*
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese
- 1 ½ cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed
- Fresh lime wedges, salsa ranch or cilantro-avocado dressing*
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Place sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Mix until sweet potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender and crispy on the outside.
- To make salad, place lettuce in a large bowl or on a platter. Top with sweet potatoes, corn, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese and tortilla chips. Drizzle salad with fresh lime juice, salsa ranch and/or cilantro-avocado dressing.
- To roast corn: Drain and dry corn with paper towels. Spread corn out on a baking sheet and place under a low broiler for 6-8 minutes, until slightly browned.
- For a quick and simple dressing: Mix Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch or cilantro-avocado dressing with fresh salsa.
- For meat eaters: Add 8 oz. cooked taco meat to the salad.
P.S. Happy NEW year! It’s almost 2016! Howww did this happen?!