It has been a long time since we’ve entered a recipe contest. However, this one sounded too intriguing to pass up. Food bloggers were invited to try one of Healthy Solutions Spice Blends and create a health-conscious, family-friendly recipe using it. We received a sample packet of their “Authentic Chili/Tacos” seasoning blend, and found a way to use it not just once, but four different ways in our recipe.
Our recipe is inspired by the taco salad, the delicious but usually quite unhealthy dish found on the menus of many restaurant chains in the U.S. Was it possible to create a healthy taco salad that was crave-worthy in its deliciousness? That was our mission, and to do so required packing in as much punch as possible. Thankfully, the spice blend is filled with an abundance of fragrant herbs and tongue-tickling spices such as chili pepper, garlic, onion and cumin. Thus, we incorporated it into all the levels of our salad, from the protein to the garnishes to the dressing.
First, we used the blend to season the Greek-yogurt-based marinade for our crunchy baked chicken fingers. Then we sprinkled it on some corn tortillas we cut into strips to make a crunchy salad topper. We threw a teaspoon of it into the black bean layer that sat atop our salad as well. And finally, we created a zesty chili/taco flavored vinaigrette to give it one last kick.
The robust flavors and varying textures of this fresh dinner salad made it a huge hit at our table, and we dare say, it would be at yours as well. The seasoning blend is mildly spicy, and therefore not too much for the tummies of the little ones. You'll notice we only used about 4 teaspoons of it; feel free to add more or less to taste. The packets are resealable! And (bonus!) this simple salad can be made from scratch in about 45 minutes.
Crunchy Chicken Taco Salad
Your favorite salad ingredients for four
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into strips ("fingers")
1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
4 corn or flour tortillas, cut into narrow strips
1 15.5-ounce can black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
Use your favorite salad ingredients to make a dinner-sized salad for each member of your family (we used shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the yogurt in a shallow bowl or baking dish and stir in one teaspoon of the spice blend. Coat the chicken fingers with the yogurt and set aside to marinate. Meanwhile, spread the tortilla strips in one layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with one teaspoon of the spice blend; bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy. Dip each chicken finger on all sides in panko and place on a cookie sheet; bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 15 minutes, until golden brown. While the chicken is baking, heat the black beans with one teaspoon of the spice blend in a small saucepan and place as a layer on top of the salad ingredients. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and lime juice with a teaspoon of the spice blend. Place the chicken fingers on top of the salad, drizzle with the dressing and garnish with the crunchy tortilla strips.