Did you used to be a child? Same. I used to eat tacos from the Old El Paso yellow packaging out of hard taco shells with little cut-up tomatoes and shredded iceberg lettuce and “mexican blend” cheese and it was good.
But now I’m a grown-ass lady. Additionally, my mom used to make those dinners because she worked full time and had 5 KIDS and probably honestly did not want to bother whipping up her own spice mix (I feel bad even mentioning these dinners because my mom is a fantastic cook and god knows if I had 5 kids I would just catapult mac&cheese into their gaping maws). I have zero kids (unless you count my husband BOOM burntown baby, population you) and I shop at Whole Foods and I’m pretty sure they do not sell the Old El Paso suite of products. But my husband-child asked me to make him a taco bowl for dinner the other night, so I did, and it. was. glorious.
I stole one of my favorite dressings of all time from the Sprouted Kitchen, added it to some cabbage and red onions, and then piled on the beans, ground turkey, salsa, and cheese. I’m telling you, this was a revelation, and a very quick meal (aside from the dressing-making, which you can and should make in bulk and use on everything).
So if you are craving some hint of your childhood and are looking for a low-fuss dinner but don’t want to ingest the world’s supply of sodium, consider this alternative.
Grown-ass adult Taco Bowl
1 lb ground turkey (or beef if that’s your boat)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsps cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 can black beans (approx 15 oz)
1/2 head small cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc or a combo)
1 cup pico de gallo salsa
optional: 1/2 avocado, sour cream, other fixins of your choice
FOR THE DRESSING
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp. capers
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 larger bunch of cilantro
juice of two juicy limes
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar (I used honey)
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or vegan alternative
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper
Make the dressing: In a food processor or blender, add the garlic, pepitas (you can sub in another nut!), capers and jalapeno and blitz until paste-y. Add the cilantro, lime juice, rice vinegar, agave, mayo, salt & pepper, and olive oil and blend until creamy and consistent.
In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and the finely sliced red onion. Add dressing until everything is lightly coated (I would estimate I added 2/3 of the recipe). Mix and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest.
In a large frying pan on medium heat, add the oil. After about a minute, add the turkey, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt and mash/chop them all around with a wooden spoon until the turkey is in small chunks and the spices are spread around. Add more spices if desired. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.
While the turkey is cooking, add a small pot to the stove and pour the beans (drained) in. Mash them slightly and add a small amount of spices if desired (I did, but just pinches of each). Cook on medium-low until warm, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, add some slaw, some beans, some turkey, topped with cheese, pico, and any other toppings you like. Drizzle with extra dressing. Eat!