Taco-less Salad

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So I fell off the wagon a little bit.  This weekend was my 30th birthday.  So it was a little bit excessive.  But awesome.  And worth it.  But now’s the time to get back on to continue with my progress.  Just a little update – I’ve gone down 2 sizes since I started eating this way.  So it works!

Recently, I’ve started to try to go a little lighter on the fats.  Some fats are good, but perhaps, in the long run, the quantities of saturated fats that I’ve been consuming might do more harm than good.

The following recipe is a result of this lower-fat variation on my diet.  It has nice bright flavours that make you happy to eat.

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Ingredients:

  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 450 g ground meat – I used chicken
  • 1 tsp each of cayenne pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander
  • 5 mini-sweet peppers – or 2 large bell peppers – I used orange and red ones
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt – I used course sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • a good amount of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 head ice burg lettuce
  • 1/2 romaine lettuce
  • 4 tbsp 0.5% pressed cottage cheese (you could probably also use light feta)

How-to:

1. Turn up the heat on a large frying pan.  Add non stick cooking spray lightly – maybe 2 seconds worth.

2.  Chop onions as small as you want.  I had the patience and skill to do this:

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It all shrinks down in the end.  But if you want it to sort of melt into the ground meat, then go smaller.  Add to the pan.

3. Cook onion for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

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4.  Mince garlic as small as you can and add to the pan.  Cook for about 2 minute and then add the meat.  Cook in the pan for another few minutes – til it starts to brown.

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5.  Add the spice blend.  Oregano, cumin, coriander, cayenne.  At this point you could add a bit of salt too.  I didn’t though – with the delicious salsa that’s coming up next, I found the seasoning was great.

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6.  Give a good stir and then add 1/4 cup of water.  Let this cook for another 10 minutes or until all water is evaporated and the meat is cooked through.  Then shut off the stove and let it stand while you assemble the rest of the salad ingredients.

7.  For the salsa, finely chop all peppers – the jalapeños more finely than the sweet bells.

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7.  Chop cilantro and add.  Squeeze all the juice from the lime over and add in your tsp of salt.  Mix it up.  Taste it.  Mmmmm.

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8. Remove the flesh of the avocado from the peel and the pit.  Slice/chop it and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it to prevent it from turning brown.  I feel justified adding in a high-fat ingredient like an avocado because we’ve skipped on the fat elsewhere in this recipe.

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9.  Chop the lettuce.  I chopped it into 1 inch by 1 inch squares.

10.  Assemble!  You can do this all on one plate to present to a small crowd or you can plate it up in individual portions on 4 plates.  Start with the lettuces, then  pile on the beef.  Then 1/4 of the avocado mixture and the salsa.  Top it off with the cottage cheese – which adds salt and texture and it also looks nice.  Dig in!