The Beauty in the Beef

For the love of South Dakota Beef

Mom’s Taco Salad


Move over crushed Doritos, there’s a new taco salad in town.  It’s full of satisfying protein and fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, whole grains and healthy fats.  The classic taco salad that we as moms know and love, is much overdue for a makeover.  Our palates have matured and we’ve also become wiser with our food choices.  We know that lean beef provides us with high-quality protein, beans are full of fiber, quinoa is a powerful grain and avocados host healthy fats.  Pile those ingredients high on a bed of fresh greens and Mom’s Taco Salad has never looked so good!

Like moms today compared to years ago, beef has evolved over time to accommodate health concerns and priorities.  We cook differently than our mothers and grandmothers and ranchers are raising cattle differently as well.

Changes in cattle breeding and fat trimming methods have resulted in increased availability of leaner beef. Today, more than two-thirds (69%) of beef sold at retail, including popular cuts like Sirloin steak, Tenderloin, T-Bone steak and 95% lean Ground Beef, meet the government guidelines for lean.

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What most people find surprising is that less than 10% of saturated fat and total fat in the diet comes from beef, and the total and saturated fat content from trimmed steak has declined throughout the past 50 years.  For example, the total fat content for a completely trimmed Sirloin steak has declined 34% from 1963 to 2010 and the saturated fat content has declined 17% between 1990 and 2010.

Let’s embrace change, alter our diets and consume wholesome and nutritious foods that nourish our bodies with only the best nutrients!

Mom’s Taco Salad

Lean Beef Steak (such as Sirloin, Flank or T-Bone) or 95% lean Ground Beef
1 Cup quinoa
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
4 Cups romaine lettuce
1-2 avocados, cubed.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1/4 Cup fresh cilantro
1/4 onion, chopped
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp dried oregano
dash of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1. If using a lean beef steak, a marinade will add great flavor and also tenderize.  The Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe above contains an acidic base which would provide the required tenderizing agents, so I used it as my marinade.  Pour 1/2 of the vinaigrette into a food safe plastic bag and reserve the rest.  Add steaks to marinade and coat evenly.  Place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.  Be sure to pat the steaks with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid prior to placing them on the grill.  This will help prevent flare-ups during the grilling process.  Remember to check in the internal cooking temperature with a meat thermometer for desired doneness.  (Medium Rare 140° Medium 160°)

2.  If you’ve chosen ground beef, brown thoroughly and drain any excess fat.  Feel free to add any desired seasonings or the dry ingredients of the vinaigrette here!
3. To prepare quinoa, combine with 2 cups of water and cook over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Next combine quinoa, beans, tomatoes and onions.  I don’t have garden vegetables yet, so I took a short cut and used fresh pico 🙂

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5. Your steaks should be done cooking by this point.  Remove them from the grill and allow them to rest for several minutes before slicing.  This rest period will allow the flavorful juices to evenly distribute through the steak and prevent them from pouring out onto your plate.

6. As your steaks rest, dice avocado into cubes.  Then slice steak into thin strips.
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7. Add washed lettuce to your plate.  Top with quinoa, bean and tomato blend then add sliced steak and avocado.
8. Drizzle with desired dressing of choice, or the delicious homemade Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe from above!


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