Easily updated and readily customizable, taco salads gain new customer interest with changes in proteins or toppings.
This article first appeared in the 15 September 2007 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website here >>
By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor
Grilled Chicken Taco Salad (pictured above)
The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus. On the university's sprawling campus, Seasons Cafe menus colorful ingredients tucked neatly into a crunchy tortilla shell. Romaine lettuce forms a refreshing foundation for grilled chicken, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, Cheddar cheese and black olives. Red onions and sour cream finish the presentation.
Shrimp Taco Salad
Salsarita's Fresh Cantina, multiple locations. At the Charlotte, N.C.-based fast-casual chain, shrimp grilled in house with butter and garlic join lettuce, tomato, red onions and cheese in crisp tortilla bowls. Guests also can add sliced jalapeÁ±os, black beans, cilantro and flavored sour cream and top their creation with tomatillo, medium, garden-style or hot salsa.
Azteca Taco Tossed Salad
Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, multiple locations. Sour-cream dressing punched up with chile-garlic sauce, cumin, chile powder and lime juice sets a zesty tone for ground turkey and chopped greens in the San Diego-based chain's rendition. Green onions, olives, kidney beans, tomatoes and cilantro lend extra bursts of flavor, while corn chips contribute crunch.
Southwest Taco Salad
Wendy's, multiple locations. The Dublin, Ohio-based chain's popular ground-beef-and-red-bean chili provides the protein power behind mixed greens tossed with Cheddar cheese, tomatoes and seasoned tortilla strips. Ancho-chipotle ranch dressing introduces hints of spice, and reduced-fat sour cream provides a cooling complement.