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Simple Taco Salad (Low-FODMAP, gluten-free)

Taco Tuesday? Na!

In my family, Sunday night is taco night.

At a little sports bar near my folks’ house, tacos are $1.25 a piece. I’m pretty sure when I was in high school, they were more like 90 cents. So we went there pretty often when we didn’t feel like cooking. And, let’s face it, who feels like cooking on Sunday night?

They’re just your basic tacos. No fancy, gourmet, foodie taco with cilantro-lime crema and jicama slaw and 100% stone ground organic corn tortillas. Nah, I’m talking crunchy taco shell, greasy taco meat, a little lettuce, cheese, and some salsa on the side.

Because sometimes what you want in life is just a crunchy, greasy, salsa-on-the-side kinda taco.

This salad tastes like that. Except I used lean, grass-fed ground beef because it’s supposed to be better for you and a pretty good price at Trader Joe’s, as well as romaine lettuce, which is higher in nutrition than iceberg lettuce, making for a meal that’s actually decently healthy.

DSCN0284 (3)I’m pretty sure this taco salad is one of the first things I learned how to make when I started the low-FODMAP diet. The tricky thing about tacos for FODMAPers is the onion and garlic commonly found in both the taco seasoning and in the salsa.

But I’ve found that fresh low-FODMAP salsa is easy to make. It’s maybe not as good as the stuff you can get at your amazing organic local foodie taqueria, but it’s fine on a salad or some chips. I’ve seen recipes that include garlic-infused oil, which of course ups the flavor a bit.

To tell the truth, I’ve gotten perfectly used to the absence of onion- and garlic-flavor in things. Of course, the convenience of being able to eat processed foods and foods at restaurants that contain the stuff is an enormous relief, but I don’t actually miss the flavor or crave it anymore at all.

Simple cumin and chipotle chili powder makes for flavorful taco meat without needing to make a whole taco seasoning blend. I’ve found chipotle chili powder in bulk at health food stores and even just general grocery stores that have a bulk foods section, but I know McCormick and a couple other brands make it too. Just steer clear of stuff labeled general “chili powder,” since that usually has some onion and garlic powder in it.

This simple taco salad makes for an easy weeknight meal during the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet (or anyone who’s looking to throw together a quick meal)! It’s gluten-free and made with all ingredients you can get at your general supermarket.


Low-FODMAP Taco Salad
Serves 4
A delicious taco salad made safe for the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet
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  1. 1 lb. lean ground beef
  2. 2 tsp. cumin (or to taste)
  3. 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (or to taste--this stuff is spicy!)
  4. romaine lettuce
  5. 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  6. 2 limes
  7. 2 green onions, green stem only, sliced
  8. fresh cilantro leaves
  9. salt
  10. shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack, etc.)
  11. corn chips
  1. Brown the beef in a pan over medium heat with the cumin and the chipotle chili powder. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly wash the lettuce and dry using a kitchen towel. If the leaves are large, tear them into smaller pieces.
  3. Divide the lettuce between 4 salad bowls. Top each salad with ground beef, chopped tomato, sliced green onion, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkle of salt. Sprinkle cheese on top. Serve with chips.
The Hungry Caterpillar
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