When my children were little, LONG before Taco Salad was on anyone’s menu, I made a dish that we simply called “Meat Salad”. I have no idea where I got the recipe. It was most certainly NOT from the Nelson Girls or Mom. Because we lived a year in Mexico City that long time ago, it was possible that I got it there, but I have forgotten the origin.
When we opened our first restaurant in Long Beach, California on Chestnut Place and the Walk of a Thousand Lights, in a converted tattoo parlor on the last vestige of the old Pike, it was a favorite feature at Mirage.
We hung this picture of the Sutro Baths at Mirage because it was indicative of the salt water pools that were popular in the 30’s and although this was famous in San Francisco and not in Long Beach, it evoked the era and harkened to the salt water Plunge on the Pike in Long Beach. It now hangs in our living room at Castenada Place and will ultimately move with us to Mt. Faith.
But getting back to the Meat Salad, it was especially yummy because it was not your traditional taco salad as they are usually prepared. It is the combination of the warm meat and beans which melts and blends the flavors of the cheese and vegetables that makes it special. Like Mom, I will not give you specific amounts, but I think you’ll get the picture.
In a large salad bowl, mix together torn up lettuce, a good combination is half romaine and half iceberg (for crunch), chopped bell pepper, cucumber, Green onions and tomato. Add shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack), and diced avocado.
Brown about 1 pound ground beef, add 1 can drained kidney beans, add salt and pepper and oregano and cumin.
Make a dressing of 50% ketchup and 50% mayonnaise and add salsa to taste.
Add as much dressing to salad greens as needed to coat. Fold in ground beef mixture, and crushed tortilla chips at the last and fold again.
It should be on the “goopy” side without being too wet. YUM.