An Easy and Satisfying Summer Weeknight Meal
Crockpot recipes most often evoke crisp fall nights when pot roast or soup sounds appealing. However, the crockpot is every home cook’s friend during warm summer months since it doesn’t heat up the kitchen like the oven. In this fresh and modern recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free taco-style salads, the crockpot goes to work to create a delicious lime-flavored variation of carne asada. The resulting beef is fork tender and delectable, and tastes even better on the second day.
Limeade is used as the liquid in the crockpot, along with salt, chili powder, and garlic for added savory undertones. The combination of acid, salt, and sweet works its magic on a simple chuck roast and delivers easy and impactful flavor.
To assemble the salads, you’ll make quick and crave-worthy crispy corn tortilla strips on the stovetop and chop a rainbow assortment of veggies. It all comes together into a filling and crowd-pleasing dinner that is just light enough for a warm summer night but still satisfying to even the biggest appetites. It also happens to be allergen-friendly, avoiding two of the biggest allergy offenders – gluten and dairy. The leftover meat is a delicious filling for tacos or enchiladas, or use it as a topping for nachos. It’s also a great addition to huevos rancheros or served as an accompaniment to scrambled eggs.
Healthy Ways to Spice Up Homemade Salads
Homemade salads often seem like a way to pay dietary penance, stepping in when you need to make up for past indulgences. It doesn’t have to be this way! With just a few simple techniques you can jazz up homemade salads and create flavor combinations that will wow your taste buds. Here are three of my favorite ways to take your salads from boring to incredible in just a couple minutes:
- Fresh fruit. Load your salads up with summer’s ripest fruits – they’re juicy, sweet, and the perfect counterpoint to typical savory salad toppings. Try fresh berries, diced apples, peaches, mango, or halved grapes.
- Spiced, toasted nuts. Toss a handful of raw nuts in a nonstick pan and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and adheres to the nuts. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, and allow to cool and get crispy before adding them to your salad.
- Homemade croutons. Homemade croutons are a revelation if you’re used to boring, dry bagged croutons…and they’re super easy to make too. Cube stale bread (you can use gluten-free bread if you like) and toss the cubes in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of your favorite seasonings. Toast in a nonstick pan until browned and crispy. Enjoy!
GF/DF Crockpot Lime Carne Asada Salad (Serves 2 with leftover carne asada)
2 lb. grassfed beef chuck roast
4 cups limeade
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chili powder (or chili lime seasoning, if available)
Juice of two limes
1 head romaine lettuce
2 mini cucumbers, chopped
6 mini bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 corn tortillas
Olive oil pan spray
Dressing of choice (I used a mixture of ranch and salsa verde)
Lime wedges for serving (optional)
- To prepare the carne asada, place the chuck roast in a six- or eight-quart crockpot and cover with limeade. Add garlic, salt, and chili powder. Cook on low heat for 8 hours, or until meat shreds easily with two forks.
- Remove carne asada from crockpot, discard any fatty bits, shred the meat, and pour the fresh lime juice over the top.
- To prepare crispy tortilla strips, slice tortillas in half and then into thin strips (a pizza cutter works best for this). Heat a small nonstick pan over high heat and spray with olive oil spray.
- Add tortilla strips to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until crispy and browned. Off heat, sprinkle with salt and chili powder to taste.
- To assemble the salads, combine lettuce, cucumbers, and bell peppers in a large bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Divide dressed veggies between two plates and top with portions of carne asada. Divide the tortilla strips between the salads. Serve with more lime juice if desired.
- Vary the vegetables in the salad according to your own preferences.
- If limeade is unavailable, lemon-lime soda can be used instead.
- If dairy is not an issue, this salad tastes great with shredded cheese and sour cream or plain nonfat Greek yogurt as toppings!
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