Burger Bun Panzanella Big Cheeseburger Taco Salad

Yeh. We have all been there.

Big ‘do planned with all of the family, but then, Great Aunt Effie goes off on Great Aunt Ettie (it really doesn’t take too much, to tell the truth) over who, exactly, is gonna bring the Lime Jello Horseradish Salad and…

just like that, you are left with a lot of leftover burger buns and meat and, to top ot all off, no one brought the Lime Jello Horseradish Salad!

Don’t hate, that salad is darned tasty.

Anywho, what to do with the leftover buns and meat? Why, make a salad, of course!

Those buns will be perfect toasted and chopped to make a Panzanella Salad, and the ground beef is calling me to make it a Taco Panzanella Salad.

But then; we have meat. We have sesame buns. We have cheese. We have lettuce.

Yeh… this is just begging to be a Big Cheeseburger Panzanella Taco Salad!

Let’s start, SHALL WE?

•4 sesame seed burger rolls
•4 tbsp olive oil (plus more, if needed)
•Sea salt

Big Burger Sauce:
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup diced spicy sweet pickles
•1/4 cup creamy French dressing
•1 tsp sugar
•1/8 tsp pepper
•1 tsp dried onion flakes

•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 lb ground beef/pork mixture
•2 cups shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
•1 pkg taco seasoning
•3/4 cup water
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

•Chopped Romaine lettuce
•Toasted, cubed sesame seed burger rolls
•Sweet onion, thinly sliced
•Sliced avocado
•Black olives
•Peruvian Pearl peppers (optional)
•Shredded Cheddar cheese
•Sliced pickles
•Big Burger Sauce

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste

First things first, make your big burger sauce by adding all of the ingredients to a blender jar and pulsing until well blended.

Transfer to a container and chill until needed. If you can make it well ahead and let it rest in the fridge so the flavors can blend, it’ll be even better.

Note: I like to slip in veggies wherever I can, and nobody notices that shredded cabbage cooked in with the taco meat.

Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then had the ground beef and pork mixture (ground chicken or turkey work a treat, too) and the coleslaw mix.
Cook, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and nicely broken up into small bits. Drain well.

Return to the pan with the taco seasoning, Sherry Peppers Sauce, and water and cook, stirring, until most of the pan liquids have cooked off.

Keep warm while you toast the bread.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the sesame seed bun halves and cook for four minutes, until nicely browned. You may need to do this in stages, and replenish the olive oil.

Once the bread is nicely browned, remove from the pan and sprinkle the browned side with Kosher salt.

Repeat with any remaining sesame seed buns, then cut the browned and salted pieces into half-inch chunks.

Allright-y then!

Now, we can make the salad!

A note on the Peruvian Pearl Peppers: these are not at all hot, but add a nice crunch and a hint of “zip” to salads. My main market carries them in their olive bar (yay!), but you can also order them in a can from Amazon. I rinse and drain mine before using them.

To serve, add the chopped Romaine to a large salad bowl or plate (for single servings, I use shallow pasta bowls) and add the cubed sesame seed buns.

Top with the sliced onion, Peruvian Pearl Peppers, avocado, black olives, and shredded cheese.

Note: of course, feel free to swap out your salad toppings to suit your preferences.

Top with the taco meat and the Big Burger Sauce, then serve with pickle slices (I used Famous Dave’s) on the side.

Terrific salad!

With meat – as a friend will happily exclaim when this is set in front of her.

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