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Vegetarian Taco Salad

Power packed leafy greens are topped with healthy beans, avocado, tomato and corn. Drizzled with a creamy taco flavoured dressing, you'll never even miss the meat, in this vegetarian salad!



I've finally decided to get serious about my health. With Crohn's disease, it's difficult to stay healthy. You are either rail thin due to a flare up and not being able to eat, or you are chubby due to being in remission and eating again. I've currently been in remission for almost 11 yrs. I can't tell you how great it feels. The only downfall is that I am overweight. My body has decided that since it was in starvation mode for pretty much the whole of 17 yrs, that once I was able to eat again, it would hold on to every single calorie like it was 'the one ring to rule them all'. Every morsel of food ingested became my body's 'precious' and it would not let go of them no matter what. OK, time to be completely honest here.... it's not like I tried very hard to shed pounds in the past year. I'd always start off with good intentions, but then a holiday or celebration would roll around and bam! off the wagon I'd jump.


This time however, I am determined to get my life back; Slowly, one workout at a time. I've been conscious of what I am eating, trying to make healthier choices, omitting sugar (except when I take a few bites of dessert I make for my blog) and being more active. So far, I LOVE it. I have so much more energy and I love being exhausted at the end of the day because I was actually active, not because I haven't done much.


One of my goals has been to reduce the amount of carbs I eat. This has been a little tough, because let's face it- carbs are SO GOOD!!! I mean who can resist a slice of fresh bread, or brownies straight out of the oven. It's been hard, but I let myself have small amounts of carbs, once or twice a week. That way I don't overindulge if I do have some.


I created this salad, because I've been craving tacos, but didn't want to over indulge on flour tortillas, or hard taco shells. So I decided to make a healthier version of taco salad and make it a vegetarian salad. No ground beef; although I bet it would be really good with ground chicken or turkey! I added black beans for protein, and avocado for some healthy fat. The dressing is a simple mixture of Greek yogurt, salsa, spices and lowfat milk. Served with Doritos for crunch, this is a great way to portion control those carbs. My kids LOVED this salad and enjoyed eating all the Doritos that surrounded it, LOL.




Spring Mix- a blend of different types of lettuce such as romaine, arugula, baby spinach, radicchio and frisee. They are low in calories, but packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They contain a high amount of vitamin K, great for bone health, which I need more of due to Crohn's disease. Leafy greens also contain folate, which help protect against cognitive decline. Spring mix is also packed with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which help prevent cardiovascular damage over time. 

Black Beans- these nutritionally powerful little gems contain antioxidants, fiber and protein. They do not cause blood sugar to spike, even though they contain carbohydrates. Eating beans can help lower your amount of cholesterol in your body, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.


Corn- rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber, corn helps you feel full for longer between meals. It also feeds the good gut bacteria, which may help protect against certain cancers.


Tomato- full of lycopene, an antioxidant, tomatoes help fight free radicals in your body. Lycopene also helps reduce your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels. They also contain potassium and vitamins B and E, which are all beneficial to heart health. 


Avocado- another great source of potassium. High in monounsaturated fats, they can help with weight loss. Low in carbs and sugar and high in healthy fat and fiber, avocados are great to keep blood sugar levels in check.


Vegetarian Taco Salad


6 C spring mix lettuce mix, washed

1 small tomato, chopped

1/3 C frozen corn, thawed to room temperature

1/2 C black beans, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, pitted and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 C shredded colby jack cheese

Nacho Cheese Doritos for garnish


Dressing

1/3 C plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbs salsa (I used mild for the kiddos)

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp oregano

2-3 Tbs low fat milk


In a mason jar combine the yogurt, salsa, spices and 2 Tbs milk. Close lid securely and shake to combine. Add another Tbs of milk if too thick. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Shake well before using.


In a large bowl, combine the spring mix with corn, black beans and tomatoes. Place salad into a large plate, or salad bowl. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and avocado. Place Doritos around the edge of the salad.


Serve with creamy Taco dressing


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