a taco salad in a large bowl with lettuce, corn, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ground beef, tortilla chips. Sour cream, salsa, cilantro, lime wedges and taco seasoning scattered around the salad, skillet of cooked ground beef behind the salad

(THE BEST) TACO SALAD

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Taco Tuesdays just got better with this Loaded Ground Beef Taco Salad! It’s fresh, filling and completely satisfying, you’ll have no problem eating it ANY day of the week!

Love Tacos? Then you’ll love absolutely everything about this healthy and refreshing loaded Taco Salad. It’s packed with ALLLLL the goods and is basically just a deliciously satisfying Taco but in Salad form! We’re talkin’ perfectly seasoned ground beef, chopped romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, beans, corns, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced red and green onions and a creamy simple ‘dressing’. It’s healthy, light and a salad you’re going to want to make on repeat all year long!

hand holding a taco salad in a large bowl with lettuce, corn, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ground beef. Sour cream, salsa, cilantro and lime in the background

Alright, y’all. It’s time for me to come clean. I’m a die hard taco lover. I love tacos in all forms. And I mean, ALL FORMS. I could eat them in any way, on any day! And this taco salad is no exception. It’s everything you know and love about dearly beloved tacos but on a bed of lettuce instead of, you know, the usual tortillas. And while I ain’t got a thing against tortillas, this taco salad just hits different.

There are so many delicious components to this taco salad that you might be under the impression that it’s hard to make. Well, you’re wrong. If you can chop vegetables and simply brown ground beef in a skillet, this ain’t no challenge for you. So, are you ready to change up your taco game?

INGREDIENTS FOR TACO SALAD

ingredients for taco salad - ground beef, sour cream, salsa, red onions, green onions, lime, beans. corn, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, taco seasoning
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Using only fresh and natural ingredients, this taco salad is healthy, refreshing and absolutely delicious. Let’s discuss the components in a little bit more detail down below:

  • Romaine Lettuce: Romaine is my favourite type of lettuce to use for a taco salad. I just love it’s crunch, freshness and how it pairs perfectly with all the other ingredients. Sure, you can use a different kind of lettuce such as leaf lettuce or iceberg, if you prefer. You can even use kale, arugula or cabbage, if you really want to get crazy with it.
  • Tomatoes: Adds juiciness and freshness to the salad. I love using halved cherry tomatoes as they provide a delicious burst of flavour to every bite. However, feel free to use diced tomatoes of any kind instead. Just remember, you may have to remove some or all of the seeds before adding them to the salad.
  • Red and Green Onions: Adds crunch, flavour and zing to the salad. I love the combination of both red and green onions for my taco salads and feel they each have a different flavour to offer. But, if you prefer one over the other or only have one on hand, then that’ll do just fine.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds sharpness and creaminess. Ties everything together, IMHO. But, if you’re vegan or don’t have any cheese on hand, dare to omit it. SIDE NOTE: Try using a different kind of cheese if you feel like getting crazy with it. Cotija and manchego are good substitutions.
  • Beans: Black beans are popular in Mexican cuisine and pair deliciously with all the other ingredients. I use canned beans for convenience here but if you have fresh on hand, feel free to use those instead.
  • Corn: Ties the whole thing together and compliments the rest of the salad. I use canned but frozen would also work (thaw a few minutes before tossing with the rest of the ingredients).
  • Sour Cream and Salsa: The base of our simple homemade creamy “dressing”. You can use Greek Yogurt instead of the sour cream, if you prefer.
  • Ground Beef: Makes this taco salad comforting, satisfying and super filling. You can use full fat or lean. It’s seasoned to perfection and the reason we can call this a classic taco salad. However, if you want to swap out the ground beef for any other kind of ground meat, feel free to do that. Ground chicken or turkey are always great options.
  • Taco Seasoning: Kinda sorta the star of the show IMHO. Not only because you’re badass and you made it from scratch your dang self (YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT). Buuuut also because it’s responsible for a lot of the flavour and umph in this salad. And trust me, it DELIVERS. If you musssssst, must, must, the store bought stuff can step in here. But, as I always say, and like this Homemade Fajitas Seasoning, nothing beats homemade (besides it’s cheaper/healthier/waaaay better than the store bought stuff anyway!!!)
  • Lime: For zing, zest and flavour. It’s added to the creamy “dressing” and we use both the juice and the zest for the ultimate flavour explosion.
a taco salad in a large bowl with lettuce, corn, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ground beef. Cilantro, lime, taco seasoning and bowl of sour cream and salsa around the salad

HOW TO MAKE TACO SALAD (KEY TIPS)

3 taco salads with tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, beans, ground beef, corn, onions, lime wedges. Taco seasoning, lime wedges, a beer and a bowl of salsa and sour cream also in the frame
  • Use fresh ingredients. This taco salad thriiives on freshness. I know this can be said about many things but, the fresher the ingredients, the better. You’re gonna want that crunch and flavour in every bite and the only way to ensure that is to use as fresh ingredients as you can get your hands on!
  • To save time and “kill two birds with one stone,” chop all your veggies up at the same time the ground beef is browning in the skillet. Just don’t get carried away and forget how to multitask. I believe in you!
  • Cut the lettuce in equal bite sized pieces. There is nothing worse than eating a salad where the lettuce hasn’t been cut properly. Please, for the love of God, take your time and cut the lettuce into uniform (aka the SAME size) BITE SIZED pieces. Say no to uneven, extra long strands!
  • Cut the onions small (especially the red onions). The onions will overpower all of the other ingredients if you cut them too big. A nice fine dice (not a mince) is perfect for this taco salad.
  • You should have the same quantity of all the ingredients (except the lettuce and ground beef – of which you should have a bit more). This will ensure no one ingredient overtakes the taco salad. You’ll get a perfect bite every time once the salad is all mixed up.
  • Cool the ground beef slightly before adding it to the salad with the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure the salad remains fresh and doesn’t lose it’s crunch.
  • Mix the salad together before eating it! Yes, I know. It’s hard to eat pretty food. But don’t be like my boyfriend and ruin the ENTIRE experience by going around and picking at the different toppings. MIX IT ALLLL TOGETHER. Let those ingredients mingle. Trust me, your tastebuds will thank you.
a taco salad in a large bowl with lettuce, corn, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ground beef. Skillet of ground beef in the background with halved lime wedges, small bowl of salsa

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I DON’T HAVE ANY GROUND BEEF ON HAND. CAN I USE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD?

Sure! This taco salad would be just as great with ground chicken or turkey. You can even get a little crazier than that and try it with ground pork, lamb, sirloin or a mixture of any of the above. To keep it vegetarian, you can add more veggies (avocado, radishes and bell pepper are great options). Since there is no cooking involved if you go the vegetarian route (yay for that!), toss the chopped veggies in the taco seasoning before assembling the salad.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER TACO SALAD?

If you anticipate leftovers, I highly recommend storing the creamy dressing and cherry tomatoes separately from the salad itself. Each can be stored in airtight containers. You can top the salad like you would normally (with everything except for the dressing and tomatoes), seal the lid, then store in the fridge. Alternatively (and if you anticipate not eating said leftovers for a few days), you can choose to store all the toppings in separate containers from each other to maintain the maximum level of freshness. Then, assemble when ready to eat. SIDE NOTE: I personally don’t mind cold ground beef on my leftover taco salad but if you get weird about that kind of stuff, storing the ground beef separately is a good idea so that it can easily be reheated later.

HOW LONG DOES LEFTOVER TACO SALAD LAST?

If stored in an airtight container separate from the creamy dressing and juicy tomatoes, this salad will last up to 3 days in the fridge. PRO TIP: It’s okay to store the taco salad assembled with the toppings already on it. However, store the tomatoes separate then add them when you’re ready to eat. They’re juicy and release moisture which will deteriorate the quality and freshness of the salad over time if not stored separately.

CAN I MAKE THIS TACO SALAD AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes! This taco salad is great for meal prep. Simply chop and store the veggies in separate airtight containers. Brown the ground beef and store in it’s own airtight container. Make the dressing and store separately from the other ingredients. Then reheat the ground beef and assemble the toppings onto the lettuce when ready to eat.

three taco salads with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, beans, tortilla chips, ground beef, lime wedges, beer in the background, bowl of sour cream and salsa in the middle with a small ramekin of taco seasoning
big bowl of taco salad with ground beef, beans, cheese, corn, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, lime wedges, ramekin of taco seasoning in the background with a bowl of sour cream and salsa

TACO SALAD RECIPE

Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Everything you know and love about tacos but in salad form!

Ingredients

For the Taco Salad

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Avocado Oil (or any other oil)
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup Green Onions
  • 1/2 cup Red Onions
  • 12 oz Corn
  • 6 oz Tortilla Chips

For the Creamy 'Dressing'

  • 1/4 cup Salsa
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Taco Seasoning
  • Juice of half a Lime (more to taste)
  • Zest of a full Lime

For the Homemade Taco Seasoning*

  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • Pinch of Chili Flakes

Instructions

  1. In a small jar or bowl, add all the ingredients for the homemade taco seasoning. Shake or whisk it up until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, add the sour cream, salsa, lime juice and zest and 1 tsp of the taco seasoning. Stir until well combined. Put in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
    bowl of salsa, sour cream, lime juice and zest
    bowl of salsa and sour cream combined
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the ground beef. PRO TIP: Use this time to chop up all your veggies.
    skillet with raw ground beef
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Drain the excess fat.
    skillet with cooked ground beef
    wooden spatula holding up some cooked ground beef over a skillet
  5. Add the taco seasoning and stir for a few minutes on medium low heat, allowing the flavours to mingle. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly before adding it to the salad with the remaining ingredients.
    skillet with cooked ground beef and seasonings
  6. Evenly divide the romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, corn, beans, red onions and cheddar cheese into 3 seperate bowls/portions. Top with the ground beef, green onions, tortilla chips, a dollop of creamy dressing and an extra squeeze of lime, if desired. PRO TIP: Crush the tortilla chips with your hands and then add them to the salad! Stir it allllll together before eating so you can get the most out of every bite! ENJOY!
    a taco salad in a large bowl with lettuce, corn, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ground beef, tortilla chips. Sour cream, salsa, cilantro, lime wedges, sliced green onions and taco seasoning scattered around the salad

Notes

  • If you must, you can use store bought taco seasoning instead. But I highly encourage you to start making your own from scratch at home with this easy recipe!
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1246Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 1713mgCarbohydrates: 113gFiber: 20gSugar: 26gProtein: 74g

    Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe? I love seeing your creations!

    Mention or tag @hiphipgourmet or use the hashtag #hiphipgourmet

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