San Juan Taco Salad

This picnic salad is a specialty of San Juan River rafting trips. The precooked meat and shredded cheese are transported in plastic bags; the final assembly takes place on the river bank.


Makes 6 servings


1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 jar (8 ounces) mild or medium picante sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced pitted black olives, drained
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup French dressing
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bag (16 ounces) tortilla chips


  1. Crumble meat into large skillet; stir over medium-high heat until browned. Spoon off and discard pan drippings. Add 2 tablespoons of the picante sauce, the oregano and salt. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly; let cool. Combine meat mixture, beans, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cheese. Chop avocado; add to salad. Whisk sour cream, French dressing and 1/2 cup of the picante sauce in small bowl until well blended, reserving any remaining picante sauce for another use. Pour dressing over salad; sprinkle with cumin seeds. Toss gently to mix. Place 6 to 8 tortilla chips on each serving plate; top with salad. Serve with additional tortilla chips.

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