Taco salads created by your favorite restaurant offer a delicious combination of flavors-seasoned meat, crisp vegetables and shredded cheese. Making taco salad bowls at home means you are not restricted to the restaurant's ingredients and method of preparation. Homemade taco bowls can be created easily and with more than one method.
Non-stick taco bowls
You can find non-stick molds for taco bowls in the bakingware aisle at various retailers. Look for the molds near the muffin trays and tins. Often these molds come in sets of four. To make taco bowls at home for taco salad, coat the non-stick mold with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a 10 inch or 12 inch flour tortilla and brush both sides lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Lightly salt both sides of the tortilla and press the tortilla over the mold. Place the molds and tortillas onto a cooking sheet and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the taco bowls from the molds. Transfer the baked tortilla bowls to plates and allow to cool for about three minutes before filling with your favorite taco salad ingredients.
Smaller taco bowls via muffin tins
If you have a muffin tin or pan (not the mini-muffin size), you can make an easy, no-fuss taco bowl. Simply flip the muffin tin over so it is upside down. Lightly brush ten inch flour tortillas with extra virgin olive oil on both sides and then lightly salt. Fit the tortilla in between the muffin cup bottoms of the upside down tin. This version of taco bowls are smaller than taco bowls made in the molds designed specifically for taco bowls. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool for about three minutes before filling with taco salad ingredients.
Prepackaged taco bowls
Just as you can purchase prepackaged taco shells, some tortilla manufacturers now offer prepackaged taco bowls. Simply remove the taco bowl from the package and follow the printed directions for heating and serving. These bowls can be filled with your favorite seasoned meat, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese to create a quick, easy weeknight meal.
Benefits to making homemade taco bowls
Many restaurant taco bowls are deep fried, not baked. Deep frying adds additional fat and calories to the overall entree. Baking your own taco bowls at home, using molds or the muffin tin method allows you to create a healthier version of the meal. Reduced fat tortillas, tortillas with lower carbohydrates and even tortillas made with sundried tomatoes, spinach or whole wheat can add nutritional benefits as well as unique flavor.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture's nutrient database, one 10 inch flour tortilla has 217 calories, 1.7 grams fiber, 5.76 grams protein, 75 milligrams calcium and 2.39 milligrams iron. A 12 inch flour tortilla has 352 calories, 2.7 grams fiber, 9.36 grams protein, 124 milligrams calcium and 3.8 milligrams iron.
Making your own taco bowls also allows you to customize each bowl with your favorite ingredients. For healthier fillings, opt for ground turkey, grilled chicken or vegetarian combinations with black beans and with brown rice. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions and low fat shredded cheese.