August is crazy if you have school kids! And it doesn’t matter if they are old or young. Young kids outgrow their school clothes, need $376 of (really specific) school supplies and are anxious about their new teacher. Older kids start school sports, end summer jobs… and maybe even fly away to college at dawn (Mom sobs.) So it was wonderful to have a Grilled Romaine Taco Salad Bar on the patio with (most of) the family.
Yes, this meal is a have it your way kind of crowd pleaser. PLUS it uses up lots of summer produce, counts as healthy and comes together in a snap. Seriously important for parents in August.
Grilled Romaine has been popular for a long time, though I was late to that party. But now I love the fact that grilling lettuce gives it smoky overtones and shrinks it, so four people can use up two full heads!
If you use it for a grilled romaine taco salad bar, and there are so many tasty toppers you can include. Chopped tomatoes, sliced peppers, hot peppers, salsa, onions, grated cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, sweet corn! I even considered adding zucchini!
A big bag of chips leftover from a back-to-college party (mom sobs again) adds great crunch crumbled on top! If you are out of packaged taco seasoning (or hate paying $1 plus for a teeny bag with lots of salt), check out the homemade taco seasoning mix I used from Food Renegade.
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce
- 1 lb of lean ground beef (or other meat/meat substitute of your choosing)
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 package of taco seasoning (or equivalent in home seasonings)
- 1 large tomato cubed
- ½ cup of sliced mild peppers
- ½ - 1 cup of prepared salsa
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- In a medium sauce pan, brown the ground beef (or alternative) on medium heat. When cooked through, drain, then add tomato paste and seasoning per package instructions. Keep hot while preparing lettuce.
- Slice lettuce lengthwise, keeping core end intact to hold the lettuce together (see pictures above). Wipe the grill grate with a paper towel coated in oil, then place lettuce on grill. After a few minutes, when browned, turn over to cook the other side. Remove from grill.
- Serve a half head (or a quarter for smaller children) on each plate, place cooked taco meat and toppings on table and let everyone chose what they’d like.