Kevin’s Taco Salad Recipe
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My fresh and zesty Taco Salad Recipe takes your favorite tacos and turns them inside out! I mix together seasoned ground beef and veggies and serve them with a creamy taco salad dressing made with my own seasoning blend — plus sour cream, lime, and a bright, vibrant salsa.
There are a few dishes that are always a hit, no matter the time or occasion, and taco salad is one of them! It’s perfect for family dinners, to bring to potlucks, or for easy weekend snacking. Read on to learn how to make taco salad in just 30 minutes!
For this dish, I focus on three separate parts: the meat, the salad, and the dressing. The beef is just the right balance of savory and spicy, while a crisp bed of greens and other veggies adds a fantastic crunch and texture. Finally, I top it all off with a zesty taco salad dressing that’s so good you’ll want to dig into it with a spoon.
Make extra beef to throw into a Mexican Breakfast Burrito the following morning! I also recommend trying this taco salad recipe with savory, saucy Instant Pot Mexican Chicken that almost prepares itself.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Taco Beef – My secret recipe for great taco meat:
- Ground Beef – I use a pack of 80/20 ground beef when I make this recipe.
- Taco Seasoning – Use your favorite grocery store blend, or try my Homemade Taco Seasoning!
- Black Beans – Be sure to drain and rinse so that there isn’t too much liquid in the meat. Kidney or pinto beans could be used instead.
- Roasted Tomato Salsa – My charred, spicy tomato salsa is how I make this dish extra flavorful.
- Salad – The perfect base for the perfectly seasoned meat:
- Romaine Lettuce – Crisp, juicy, and full of flavor.
- Red Onion – Mild and sweet. Swap out with white onions or shallots per your preferences.
- Cherry Tomatoes & Green Pepper – For pops of flavor, moisture, and acidity throughout. The sweet tomato and bitter pepper compliment each other perfectly.
- Jalapeño – The added heat this pepper brings is unmatched. Banana peppers are less mild and make a good substitute.
- Avocado – Creamy and fatty.
- Shredded Cheese – I use sharp cheddar, but a Mexican blend or Monterey Jack would also be perfect.
- Cilantro – Bright and refreshing, with a lemony and peppery flavor.
- Taco Salad Dressing – Deceptively delicious, this dressing is a simple mix of taco seasoning, tomato salsa, lime juice, and Mexican Crema or sour cream.
HOW TO MAKE MY TACO SALAD RECIPE
- Mix the Taco Salad Dressing. Scoop the sour cream or Mexican Crema into a bowl with the seasoning, salsa, and lime juice. Whisk it all together, then set aside to use as a topping as the final step.
- Cook the Beef. Brown the ground beef over medium high, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Sprinkle the rest of the seasoning and salsa into the pan with the meat and continue frying. After a few minutes, the beef will thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool while preparing the rest of the recipe
- Make the Salad. Break up the romaine lettuce into a bowl. Pour in the meat, red onion, corn, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and jalapeño. Scoop out the avocado and drop it in as well, then sprinkle the cilantro all over. Keep each ingredient separate for a stunning presentation and easy scooping: check out the video for an example.
- Serve with Dressing and Tortillas. Arrange the tortilla chips around the side of the bowl, top with the dressing, and you’re done!
What goes good with taco salad?
So many things! This taco salad recipe is completely customizable. For example, you could use thick and juicy flank steak as your protein, or some shredded Mexican chicken.
As for sides, you can’t go wrong with Mexican red rice or queso dip for those extra chips.
Is taco salad unhealthy?
My taco salad recipe contains 572 calories, 51 grams of carbs, and 29 grams of fat.
There are several ways to make this recipe healthier, however:
- Omit the tortilla chips and corn, and you’ll have a keto friendly meal.
- Use a leaner pack of ground beef to reduce the fat content, or swap the beef out for turkey.
- Replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt for more protein and less fat.
Should you eat taco salad hot or cold?
It’s entirely up to you. The salad’s contents and the dressing are prepared cold, and the meat is piled on fresh and hot, but you could always opt to refrigerate your bowl before serving if you’d like the whole thing chilled.
If you do go the cold route, then wait until serving to add the tortilla chips. Otherwise, they’ll get stale and soggy in the fridge.
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Kevin’s Taco Salad Recipe + Video
- 1 lb lean ground beef or ground pork, chicken, or turkey
- 2 tbsp Taco seasoning
- 15 oz black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup roasted tomato salsa
- 2 heads romaine chopped, rinsed
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 cup corn kernels canned (drained) or frozen (thawed)
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes rinsed and halved
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (See Note 2)
- 1 jalapeño seeded and sliced into thin rings
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves chopped
- 2 cups tortilla chips
Taco Salad Dressing
- 1 cup Mexican Crema or sour cream
- 1/2 cup roasted tomato salsa
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tsp Taco seasoning
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the ground beef to a skillet over medium high heat and cook, breaking the meat up into small pieces and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add the taco seasoning, black beans and salsa and continue cooking until mixture thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
- Place lettuce in a large bowl. Top with meat, onion, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, cheese, jalapeño rings, avocado and cilantro.
- Top each serving bowl with tortilla chips and drizzle dressing over all.
- I use 80/20 ground beef and drain off excess oil.
- Feel free to use 1 cup each cheddar and Monterey Jack.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Since we were roasting veggies for the salsa, we roasted some corn on the cob on the grill too. Just brush shucked corn with olive oil and give it a bit of salt and pepper, then grill directly over medium flames/heat on the grill until corn is nicely golden, and charred in some spots. Put your cob in a large bowl and remove the kernels with a sharp knife. Really was a delicious salad. Thanks Kevin!
I love grilled, charred corn right off the cob. Excellent Susan. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
At what point do you add the black beans? I noticed that’s missing in the instructions. I added them once the beef was browned but wasn’t sure if it should’ve been sooner.
Such a great salad – thanks for the recipe!
They get added after browning the meat (instructions have been updated to reflect). It’s shown in the video, too. So glad you enjoyed this one Amy!
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Do you have a browser extension blocker or something. You’re the first I ever heard of this. I’ll email it to you.
I tried this one Yummy!
Thanks so much for letting me know and following along Genevieve!
Is this a keto friendly recipe??
If you omit the corn and tortilla chips then it will be. Let me know if you give it a try!
Now I have a serious craving for taco salad, Kevin. Looks like you’ve perfected it!