Nacho Taco Salad & Kid-Friendly Veggie Sneak Attack Recipes

by heidi on August 30, 2011

I know I’m not alone. Kids can usually count their favorite dishes on fingers one, two, three, four and five (I know, five is a thumb, not technically a finger) with moms and dads coercing, conniving and conning their kids into eating a healthier version of their faves.

When Smudge was a toddler she looooved butternut squash, zucchini and even broccoli—or little trees as she called them. Cut to pre-school. Boom. It all went downhill. Any veggie put in front of her was taboo. Persona non grata. Hit the road jack and don’t come round here no more.

So when she came home from school and said she “just loves salads” I almost fell to the floor in shock. Who had stolen my child and how did this health cyborg take over her body?

FoodieCrush Magazine Nacho Taco Salad

The answer? Once again: school. Apparently, her 2nd grade friends have developed a far more sophisticated palette and the salad bar is a big hit with her tres-hip-gotta-be-like-them-friends. (I’m now packing salads IN HER LUNCH!)

So to satisfy her veggie craving for dinner, but not rocking the boat by proposing she dig into a big plate of brussels sprouts or spinach, we snuck in a layer of veggie goodness that even Magnum P.I. couldn’t sleuth out. We went straight to who knows best—my mother-in-law—and the secret ingredients in her taco meat recipe.

What’s her now-not-so-secret ingredients? V-8 juice and yellow corn meal. A serving of veggies in every glass—I hope there’s truth in advertising. But I do avoid V-8 Splash which is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

Veggie adorned Nacho Taco Salads, a dish she loves assembling for herself, and being kids at heart, we love it too. Plus it is a DARN CLOSE facsimile of yo quiero Taco Bell.

What’s that Smudge? You want salsa with that too? He he he. Tthank you, we have crossed another food bridge.

Nacho Taco Salad

Nacho Taco Salad


1 lb ground beef
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup V-8 Original vegetable juice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 can black or refried beans
16 oz. package of tortilla chips, I prefer white corn chips
Condiments: shredded cheese, sliced lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, jalepenos, peppers, avocado, onion, cilantro, Mexican crema, lime wedges


  1. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion together until beef is browned and onion is translucent. Add spices and simmer together for another 10 minutes. Add vegetable juice and cornmeal to beef mixture and simmer for 15 minutes or until juice has cooked down and the mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally. While meat is simmering, heat beans on low in a small saucepan. To serve, layer beans, nacho meat, cheese, lettuce and other condiments over tortilla chips as desired.

And now, presenting…more ways to hoodwink your kids with a nudge to the healthier side of the table.

FoodieCrush Magazine Family Fresh Cooking Hot Dog Skewer

photo > Family Fresh Cooking

Hot dogs, skewers and corn chips? What kind of childhood dream is this? Marla has cooked up another kiddie goodie with Family Fresh Cooking‘s Grilled Hot Dog Skewers with Creamy Avocado Dip. Stick with turkey, kosher or organic beef varieties of hot dogs for the healthiest versions.

FoodieCrush Magazine One Dish Dinner Penne Pizza Bake

photo > One Dish Dinners

The kids are craving pizza and there’s no time to mix up a batch of dough or make a run for the store, so One Dish DinnersPizza Penne Bake keeps mom somewhat stable of mind thanks to less Erin’s one-pot-penne-and-pepperoni-pizza dish. Ahh mama mia!

FoodieCrush Magazine Un Dejeuner de Soleil Chicken Nuggest

photo > Un Déjeuner de Soleil

The chorus of “thank you’s” serenade Edda for a much more interesting take on the frozen-mass-produced-nuggets that kids love as mothers speculate what exactly is that mystery meat. Un Déjuner de Soleil‘s Chicken Nuggets with Tandori Mustard still has the crunch kids love (thank you corn flakes) with a sauce parents won’t mind giving a dip themselves.

FoodieCrush Magazine Eat Travel Write Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

photo > Eat Live Travel Write

Far from the boxed version of “yellow death”, Eat Live Travel’s Write‘s Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower sneaks in whole wheat pasta, low fat sour cream and a dose of veggies so sublimely and secretly added that they’ll never know what they aren’t missing.

The countdown is on! Maria is receiving some great holiday cookie submissions from our foodie blogger friends and can’t wait to showcase them in our upcoming Winter Issue, and we’d love to see yours. Submit your holiday cookie by September 1 and share your sweetness with the world.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, please subscribe to foodiecrush and follow me on twitterFacebook and Pinterest


Posted in: entrees,recipes,salads and sides

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Bev Weidner August 30, 2011 at 6:29 am

a) INCREDIBLE that Smudge is now craving salads and salsa. Score for mama!

b) If there was a way for me to face-plant those nachos, I would.

c) Everything else you posted just made me start singing Broadway tunes, they look so good.


heidi August 31, 2011 at 12:03 am

Gonna make you a nacho mama!


Karly August 30, 2011 at 7:41 am

I now have a serious taco salad craving!

And did you know that V8 V-Fusion has a full glass of veggies AND fruit? And no HFCS? My kids love that stuff. It’s kinda pricey though.


heidi August 31, 2011 at 12:02 am

Yeah, its a little on the spendy side, so that’s why I stick with the good old basic V-8.


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. August 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

These look fabulous! Great post as always


heidi August 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

Thank you Alison! Means a lot coming from you :)


Cookin' Canuck August 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I love that Smudge is asking for salads – that will become a habit for a lifetime! Your photos are stunning, as usual, and that nacho taco salad would be a sure hit in our house.


heidi August 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

Ah yes, tonite she even had zucchini. The skies are parting and God is smiling!


Holly August 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Thanks again for another great post- I’m ready to try the cauliflower Mac & cheese on my girls- will let you know if we’re successful.


heidi August 31, 2011 at 12:00 am

Let me know if they like it and you can always post a pic on Facebook ;)


Katie August 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I love nachos! They can definitely be a main meal if you put the right ingredients on.


Life Currents September 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

I love Mexican food & could eat it every day. This in definitely “nacho” ordinary dinner. ha ha ha! ;)


Lulu Smith March 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi, I came across the nacho taco salad on Pinterest. I looked really good so I decided to check it out. I have printed out your recipe and can not wait to try it. I have a young picky eater as well so we will see how well he eats it.


heidi March 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hi Lulu, thanks for the comment. I bet he’ll love it. Veggie sneak attacks are the only way with kids.


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