Minnesota Taco Salad

In mid-January, Tim came home from work and said, “A young person at work is deploying in April, and she might need a place to stay for two months. I told her that Zoe and Talia’s bedroom was empty, and if she needed to use us as a last resort, we’d be happy to help.”

A week and a half later, Tim came home from work with an update: “Guess what? We’re the last resort.”

And so on February 12, T moved in. Prior to that day, I’d never met this particular twenty-year-old, but from the get-go, she reminded me a little of the girls. Petite, soft-spoken, and direct, she quickly folded into our lives. We ate dinner together, listened to stories of her nights out, and met her friends. We even met her current boyfriend (and gave him the stamp of approval), and we now consider ourselves T’s surrogate parents.

Well, two months flew by, and she’s scheduled to depart next week.

“What do you want for dinner?” I asked last week. T almost always ate what I made, so I figured the least I could do was make one of her favorite foods.

“I know just the thing,” she said. “My mom makes this taco salad. It sounds odd, but it’s so good.”

T sent me the list of ingredients a day later, and last Friday night (cue Katy Perry), I made said taco salad.

The combination of ingredients is more than “odd,” if you ask me, and the recipe reminds me of one of those you’d find in a grease-stained, spiral-bound cookbook from your grandma’s church bazaar or women’s league.

1 head of iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 and 1/2 pound cooked ground beef
1 bag Taco-flavored Doritos, crushed
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bottle Thousand Island dressing, light okay

You see what I mean? How and why would I ever think to put Thousand Island dressing together with Taco-flavored Doritos? The answer is I WOULDN’T. (Don’t worry—if you can’t find Taco-flavored Doritos, you can use just about any flavor.) And by the way, this recipe has pretty much one step: toss the ingredients into a bowl and mix.

I have to be honest—T liked it, and I ate a little of it. I’ve never been a fan of ground beef, and the Thousand Island dressing is just . . . weird. I don’t even know how else to explain it. But I could imagine using chicken instead and some salsa in place of dressing but then . . . you guessed it . . . you just have REGULAR TACO SALAD (snort!).

Which got me thinking, “What do you even call this recipe? Minnesota Taco salad?” (T hails from Minnesota.) Apparently, yes, you do call it that. For an internet search popped up this gem of an article with a recipe similar to the one that T provided. Of course, you can also call it Doritos Taco Salad or Throw-the-Last-Items-in-Your-Fridge-into-a-Bowl Taco Salad.

Anyway, I do enjoy writing down memories so that years from now, I’ll remember these days. While T is memorable enough herself, you just never know about these things called “brains.” So now we have proof of T and her favorite taco salad.

Image of taco chip by go_see at Pixabay.com.

Leave a Comment