Taco salad is the best kind of salad! With seasoned ground beef, cheese, and avocado, it’s a satisfying meal that’s packed with flavor and sure to fill you up!
This is the time of year when we want to eat better and have salads for lunch and dinner, but it doesn’t always work out when you have your salad and you’re hungry again an hour later. Not all salads are created equal, but taco salad is hearty enough that you’ll feel full until your next meal!
Classic Taco Salad Recipe
I also have a Dorito taco salad recipe if you have a weakness for Doritos, but if you’re looking for a classic taco salad, this is it! You can add tortilla chips if you like, or you can keep things lower carb by omitting them. The great thing about taco salad is that it’s super customizable, just like tacos and Taco Casserole! You can skip the ground beef and add Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas instead, use ranch dressing, add cooked black beans—whatever!
Taco salad is also excellent for meal prep. I recommend using containers with different compartments if possible; if you don’t have these, simply store all of the components in the fridge in separate containers, then assemble your taco salad from those when you’re ready to eat.
For the Taco Salad:
- Ground beef – Ground turkey or a plant-based ground for a vegetarian taco salad can be substituted.
- Taco seasoning – Use a store-bought packet or make my homemade taco seasoning.
- Romaine lettuce – Iceberg is fine too!
- Cherry tomatoes – Or dice a large tomato.
- Cheddar cheese – Or substitute a Mexican cheese blend.
- Corn – If fresh corn is out-of-season, swap in canned or frozen instead.
For the Taco Salad Toppings (use any or all):
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chips
For the Dressing:
- Sour cream
- Fresh tomato salsa
- Lime juice
How to Make Taco Salad
1. Cook the Meat
Brown the beef in a skillet set over medium heat until no pink remains; drain off the fat, then add the taco seasoning and a half cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened.
2. Make the Dressing
Whisk the sour cream, salsa, and lime juice in a small bowl.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl and top with the meat, tomatoes, corn, avocado, and any other topping you’re using. Add half of the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Serve the salad with the remaining dressing.
How to Store and Reheat Taco Salad
If you’re not going to eat all of your taco salad right away, I recommend that instead of tossing it in a bowl, you assemble each serving individually because leftover taco salad will keep much better if the meat, dressing, and the rest of the salad are all stored separately. Then, when you’re ready to eat, you can microwave the meat on its own without warming up your lettuce, veggies, and dressing!
Is taco salad unhealthy?
It has more calories and fat than a bowl of plain greens, but it’s not particularly unhealthy either. If you want to make this recipe low-cal, you can use a lime vinaigrette instead of the creamy dressing and omit the avocado. To make it keto-friendly, make sure you use a taco seasoning that doesn’t have sugar, omit the corn, and use double the avocado.
What else goes with taco salad?
You can serve taco salad with a simple black bean soup for a soup-and-salad meal or pair it with Homemade Cornbread! It’s a meal-worthy salad, though, so there’s really no need to pair it with something else.
Is taco salad healthier than tacos?
Yes, typically a taco salad is healthier than tacos because it’s heavier on the veggies. It all depends on the optional toppings you add and how you usually make your tacos!
More Tex-Mex Favorites
- Taco Soup Recipe
- Easy White Chicken Enchiladas
- Cheesy Taco Sticks
- Corn, Avocado & Cilantro Salad
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Taco Salad
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning or my homemade taco seasoning prepared as directed
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese please use thicker cut Sargento if using shredded from the bag
- 2 ears of corn sliced off the cob
- 1 avocado diced
- Toppings – green onions, cilantro, jalapeno’s, sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup fresh tomato salsa
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Brown beef over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Add taco seasoning and ½ cup water. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Place lettuce in a large bowl. Top with meat, tomatoes, corn, avocados and additional toppings as desired.
- Just before serving, add half of the dressing to the salad and use tongs to toss until well coated. Taste and add more dressing, if desired.