1 lb. ground beef
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. Taco Seasoning
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4" strips
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. shredded Cheddar
1 c. Pico de Gallo
1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef, breaking up meat into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and add taco seasoning, 2 tablespoons water, and tomato paste. Cook through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a sauté pan, add about 1/2" of vegetable oil. Heat until hot but not smoking, then fry tortilla strips until golden brown. Transfer strips to a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt just after removing from hot oil.
Assemble salad: In four bowls, layer romaine, tomatoes, black beans, and warm taco meat. Top with cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream, then garnish with cilantro and crisp tortilla strips.