Taco Salad Recipe

This Taco Salad recipe is delicious and nutritious and makes the perfect dish for those who love Mexican-inspired meals as much as I do.

Easy taco salad recipe

This flavorful recipe is a combination of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crunchy tortilla chips, seasoned ground beef, and a variety of toppings like cheese, avocado, and sour cream.

Taco salad is a popular dish that features a variety of ingredients typically found in Mexican cuisine.

The base of the salad usually consists of chopped lettuce, although some variations may use other greens like spinach or kale.

Next, seasoned ground beef or turkey is added, along with beans such as black or pinto beans.

Other common ingredients include chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, diced avocado, and sliced black olives.

Taco salad is often served with a dressing made from sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.

Tortilla chips or strips are also a common addition, adding a crunchy texture to the salad. Some variations may also include corn, peppers, onions, or cilantro.

Taco salad can be customized to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences.

For example, it can be made vegetarian by omitting the meat or using a meat substitute, or it can be made gluten-free by using corn tortilla chips instead of flour.

It can also be made lighter and healthier by using a low-fat dressing and adding more vegetables.

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Ingredients for Taco Salad

  • Lettuce (romaine or iceberg)
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Taco seasoning mix
  • Black beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Black olives
  • Tortilla chips or strips
  • Optional: corn, peppers, onions, cilantro, lime wedges.
Taco salad recipe with ground beef

What to serve with Taco Salad

Taco salad can be a satisfying and filling meal on its own, but there are a few different options for side dishes that could complement it well. Here are some ideas:

Chips and Guacamole: A classic pairing with Mexican-inspired dishes, tortilla chips and guacamole make a great side dish for taco salad.

Spanish Rice: A flavorful rice dish with tomatoes, onions, and spices can be a nice complement to the spiciness of the taco salad.

Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn on the cob is a simple and delicious side that can be a refreshing addition to a summer taco salad meal.

Refried Beans: Refried beans are a traditional side dish in Mexican cuisine and can be a great addition to a taco salad meal.

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What to add to Taco Salad to make it better

Taco salad is a delicious and versatile dish that can be customized in many ways to make it even better. Here are some ideas to add to taco salad to enhance its flavors:

Grilled or Roasted Vegetables: Adding grilled or roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, zucchini, or corn can add a nice smoky flavor and texture to the salad.

Lime Juice: A squeeze of fresh lime juice over the salad can add a bright citrus flavor and help to cut through the richness of the meat and cheese.

Cilantro: Adding chopped fresh cilantro can add a bright and herbaceous flavor to the salad.

Hot Sauce: If you like a little extra heat, adding a drizzle of hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes can give your taco salad an extra kick.

Pico de Gallo: Adding a scoop of fresh pico de gallo, a fresh tomato-based salsa, can add a fresh and zesty flavor to the salad.

Grilled Shrimp: Adding grilled or sautéed shrimp can add a delicious seafood flavor and a nice contrast in texture to the salad.

Crispy Fried Onions: Topping the salad with crispy fried onions can add a nice crunch and a savory flavor to the salad.

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Occasions to serve Taco Salad

Taco salad is a versatile and crowd-pleasing dish that can be served on many occasions. Here are some occasions where taco salad could be a great option:

Potlucks: Taco salad is a perfect dish to bring to potlucks or picnics as it can easily be transported and can serve a large crowd.

Game Day: If you’re hosting a game day party or gathering, taco salad can be a great option as it’s a filling and satisfying dish that can be easily served buffet-style.

Family Gatherings: Taco salad is a great option for family gatherings as it’s a dish that everyone can enjoy and can be customized to suit different tastes.

Summer BBQs: Taco salad is a refreshing and flavorful dish that can be served alongside grilled meats and other BBQ favorites.

Lunches: Taco salad can be a great option for work lunches or meal prep as it’s easy to assemble and can be made ahead of time.

No matter the occasion, taco salad is a delicious and versatile dish that’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

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How to store Taco Salad

Taco salad can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, but it is best when consumed within 24 hours of preparation. Here are some tips for storing taco salad:

Store the salad in an airtight container: Transfer the taco salad to an airtight container with a lid to keep it fresh. Make sure to press down the lid to remove as much air as possible to help prevent wilting.

Keep the dressing separate: If you have added dressing to the salad, store it separately in a small container and mix it in just before serving. This will help to prevent the salad from getting soggy.

Do not add chips until serving: If you have added tortilla chips or strips to the salad, store them separately and add them just before serving to prevent them from getting soggy.

Keep refrigerated: Store the taco salad in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C).

Serve chilled: Taco salad is best served chilled, so make sure to chill it in the refrigerator before serving.

By following these tips, your taco salad can stay fresh and delicious for a few days in the refrigerator.

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Taco Salad FAQs

Can I make taco salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare taco salad in advance. However, it’s best to store the components separately to maintain freshness. Keep the lettuce, meat, beans, and toppings in separate containers and assemble the salad just before serving to prevent sogginess.

Can I make taco salad vegetarian or vegan?

Absolutely! Taco salad can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the meat and adding plant-based proteins like black beans, tofu, or tempeh. For vegan taco salad, omit any dairy-based toppings like cheese or sour cream and use vegan alternatives or add extra vegetables for creaminess.

Can I substitute ground beef with other meats?

Yes, ground beef can be substituted with ground turkey, chicken, or even diced grilled chicken or steak. For a seafood twist, you can also experiment with other proteins like shrimp or fish.

How do I add crunch to taco salad without tortilla chips?

If you want to add crunch to your taco salad without tortilla chips, try using crushed corn tortillas, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, crispy tortilla strips, or even crushed whole-grain crackers as alternatives.

Can I use store-bought dressing for taco salad?

Yes, you can use store-bought dressings for convenience. Options like ranch, chipotle, or salsa-based dressings work well with taco salad. However, making your own dressing allows you to control the ingredients and flavors to suit your preferences.

How can I make taco salad spicy?

To make taco salad spicy, you can add ingredients like jalapeños, chipotle peppers, or hot sauce to the meat, dressing, or as toppings. Adjust the amount to your desired level of spiciness.

Taco Salad Recipe


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 head lettuce chopped
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup shredded cheese cheddar or Mexican blend
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup tortilla chips crushed
  • Optional: chopped cilantro lime wedges


  • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until browned, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the taco seasoning mix to the skillet with the beef, along with a 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the beef is coated in the seasoning.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, black beans, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, diced avocado, and sliced black olives.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and salsa to make the dressing.
  • Add the beef to the bowl with the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
  • Top the salad with the crushed tortilla chips and optional chopped cilantro.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with lime wedges if desired.

There you have it, a classic taco salad recipe that’s easy to make and customizable to your liking, whether spicy or mild, loaded with veggies or simple and classic.

Don’t forget to serve it with your favorite toppings and sides for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy your delicious taco salad!

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