This easy Tex-Mex taco salad is filled with crisp lettuce, flavorful Ground Beef, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and so much more. You don’t want to miss this!
This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.
What is a Taco Salad?
Taco salad is a deconstructed taco, served in salad form. Most taco salads include ingredients such as Ground Beef, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. Taco salads are a hallmark of Tex-Mex cuisine, as classic Mexican tacos do not usually include ingredients such as lettuce. The ingredients in taco salad are easily customizable to each person’s preference, making it a great option for all.
Taco Salad Video
How to Make Taco Salad?
Taco salad is crazy easy to make. The hardest part (and it’s not even hard!) is the prep. Before assembling the salad, chop or shred the ingredients you’ll be using to make the process go quickly and as smooth as possible.
- Cook the Beef: In a medium sized skillet, cook the Ground Beef over medium-high heat until it reaches 160°F, as measured by a meat thermometer. Just before it’s done, add in the taco seasoning. Cover with a lid and set aside.
- Place the lettuce on the bottom: To begin assembling the salad, place the lettuce on the bottom of a bowl.
- Assemble the salad: Assemble the rest of the taco salad ingredients by adding Beef, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. Top with salsa, sour cream, and a cilantro garnish. Serve and enjoy!
Hot tip: Our homemade taco seasoning has all the important taco spices: salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and more! Give it a try – you’ll love it!
Variations Of Taco Salad
Change up the basic taco salad by adding a variety of other flavors and textures to your bowl. Every bite is guaranteed to be delicious.
- Add a crunch: Add tortilla strips or any of your favorite chips and break them into small pieces. Use the pieces to top the salad.
- Mix in more veggies: For a healthier taco salad, add in more veggies like red onion, bell pepper, green onions, pickled onions, black olives, and corn.
- Make it spicy: Spice-lovers will love the addition of fresh jalapeno slices on top of the salad or diced jalapenos throughout. We love topping with our pickled jalapenos. Or, add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce on top for an extra kick.
- Get more protein: For more protein, toss in pinto beans or cooked black beans.
- Swap out the cheese: Feel free to use sharp cheddar cheese instead of the Mexican cheese blend. Or, use whatever cheese you have in the fridge.
- Stir in more sauces: Pico de gallo and guacamole are great sauce-y additions.
- Add a tang: For a tart, acidic tang, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
- Offer additional taco salad dressing: If you like a different kind of flavor to the taco salad, serve it with a side of ranch dressing, Catalina dressing, or our creamy tomatillo dressing.
Tips from the Kitchen
It’s hard to go awry with such an easy recipe as this, but to ensure the best taste, follow these tips.
- Crumble the Beef: As the Beef is cooking, break any large pieces apart with a spatula. This will ensure the Beef cooks evenly and the salad has same-sized pieces of juicy Beef.
- Cook the Beef well: Cook the Ground Beef to a savory 160ºF, as measured by a meat thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
- Assemble right before serving: This taco salad is best when served fresh, so assemble it right before serving. Beef tastes best when served warm.
- Prep the ingredients in advance: Instead of prepping the whole salad in advance, prep just the ingredients instead. This makes the salad a perfect weekly meal prep entree.
- Use a good taco seasoning: We love our homemade taco seasoning, but if you prefer to use a generic packet of taco seasoning, make sure it’s a good one. The seasoning is responsible for a large part of the flavor in this salad.
- Substitute any of the veggies: Feel free to use any version of the veggies. Instead of only romaine lettuce, use iceberg lettuce too. Instead of grape tomatoes, use roma or cherry tomatoes.
Ways to Serve
Taco salad is a great option for hosting — so make it a ”taco bar” night! Set out all the ingredients in separate bowls and allow your guests to assemble their own taco salad. Serve the tacos in a bowl over a large homemade tortilla or over a plate of air fryer tortilla chips.
Storing & Reheating
Taco salad is a great weekday meal prep idea as it has meat and veggies all in one dish! It’s best to store the ingredients separately in airtight containers for up to five days so the salad does not turn to mush. Reheat the Beef right before assembling if you like it warm — but cold tastes great, too!
Is taco salad healthy?
Taco salad is as healthy as the ingredients that are put into it. The healthier the ingredients, the healthier the salad.
What is the difference between taco salad and nacho salad?
The two salads are very similar, but taco salad usually uses plain tortilla chips, whereas nacho salad adds nachos with melted cheese on top.
Similar Beefy Recipes
- Amazing Shish Kabobs – Flavorful grilled Beef and veggies on skewers
- 30 Minute Steak Stir Fry – Full of Beef protein, veggies, and flavorful stir fry sauce
- Old Fashioned Goulash – Tender noodles tossed with Ground Beef, veggies, and a savory tomato sauce
- Ground Beef Quesadillas – Easy, 30-minute Beef quesadillas everyone will love
- 1 lb ground Beef 85% lean
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 10 oz Romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1 large avocado chopped
- 1/2 cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup Mexican cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup salsa any of your favorite
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- Using a medium size pan, cook the ground Beef until it reaches 160°F, as measured by a meat thermometer. Towards the end of the cooking time, add in taco seasoning. Cover with a lid and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, place lettuce on the bottom of a bowl.
- Add beef, tomatoes, avocado, green onions and cheese. Top the salad with salsa, sour cream, and a cilantro garnish. Serve & enjoy while beef is still warm.