No taco salad in the world?…Recipe for low carb gluten free taco salad bowl…

Low Carb (2 grams) Gluten Free Cheese Taco Bowl.  See recipe below.

Every meal I make, I wonder if we’ll be able to enjoy a similar meal when we are abroad.  Will they have the low carb, gluten free, starch free, wheat free, grain free, sugar free items we use on a daily basis?

Last night’s dinner was a perfect example.  We had taco salad that met all of the above criteria.  On yet another hot day, taco salad has a particularly delightful appeal;  warmed seasoned grass fed ground beef, crispy shredded organic romaine lettuce, plump, ripe diced tomatoes, sliced salty stuffed green olives and chopped Vidalia onions.  

For my salad, it was topped it with homemade salsa and sour cream I usually add avocado slices, but none for Tom. Mainly, he likes the meat, onions and lots of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. The added touch of the “bowl” housing all of these goodies, usually made with corn or wheat tortillas (deep fried) is often a very special part of the pleasure. The crunchy, slightly greasy shell allows the diner to scoop and dip the tasty contents while looking forward to the soggy shell at the bottom of the bowl. Alas, a gluten-free, grain free, corn-free, low carb taco salad bowl does not exist in this world as we know it.

Don’t think for a minute that I haven’t looked for one!  If I were to say I have looked online for such an item for as many as eight hours is no exaggeration. The alternative is to go for a pre-made gluten free, corn free, high carb tortilla which throws our low carb, no processed food commitment into a tailspin for a few days.  

Not that I am an expert on gluten-free foods, but I have engaged in some research on the pitfalls of processed gluten free foods to discover that literally all of them are high in carbs and/or sugar. That doesn’t work for either of us. 

After all, we are on a serious mission to be healthy, slim and fit for our upcoming lifestyle. The Internet has a variety of low carb, gluten free recipes, many of which we’ve tried and enjoyed. But, the taco shell bowls left us sorely disappointed.

While chopping the veggies for the salad, I had an idea about the bowls!  Mulling around my head was the little Parmesan cheese bowls I have made on occasion, to be stuffed with some delectable morsels.  They were quite a hit. Also, I contemplated the recipe for the pizza crust I had posted here (please scroll the archives on the right for the June 8, 2012 post for the recipe and photo). 

Melding those two ideas together, I came up with this gluten free, low carb (2 grams), sugar free, wheat free, grain free, starch free taco shell bowl which took seven minutes to prepare.  

Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free Taco Salad Bowl

1 cup shredded hard cheese (I used 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar, plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. You may use only one type cheese if you’d prefer)
1 large non-stick skillet

1 large piece parchment paper (larger than the inside bottom of the pan) 1 large bowl (smaller than the resulting circle of cheese)

Place the large piece of parchment paper inside the pan, pressing flat to the bottom and against the inside edges. Don’t allow excess paper to be outside of the top edge of the pan or it may burn. Keep the paper inside the pan.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese into a circle atop the center of the parchment paper, taking care to create a large circle. (If there are lots of holes, fill them in with a little more Parmesan cheese).

Turn on the heat to medium high, watching while the cheese melts.

When melted, set a timer for 3 minutes. When timer goes off, remove the pan from the burner. Set the timer for 1 more minute to cool.

Gently lift the parchment paper with cheese round out of the pan, carefully flipping over the paper, centering the cheese round on the bottom of the overturned bowl.

Carefully, peel the parchment paper off of the cheese, while the cheese stays on the bowl. This occurs easily without sticking.

Gently press the cheese down to form a “bowl” with the cheese round. Let it cool for one hour. Remove from the bowl, placing it on a large plate for serving later. (The oil from the cheese will prevent the cheese from sticking to the bowl).

The cheese taco bowl may be made and left out a few hours prior to serving. Once filled, eat immediately or refrigerate for a short time.

Oh well.  Here I am finishing this post, reporting that Tom didn’t like the bowl!   He liked the similar recipe for pizza crust, but not the bowl.  Picky! I ate all of mine, loved it and then found myself eyeballing the uneaten bowl on his plate. Shall I eat it, being a piglet or toss it? Tom noticed me looking at his plate, observing my empty plate and said “Go ahead, and eat it, Sweetie.” 

Healthy, slim and fit echoed in my mind along with all the new well-fitting clothes for our upcoming adventure. With a lifetime of weight struggles, a single such overeating event could start me on a path I would later regret.  
I stuffed Tom’s taco bowl down the garbage disposal, listening sadly as it pulverized away.  Back to the LCGF taco bowl drawing board.  Guess we won’t be eating taco salad in Africa!

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