Taco Salad

$17.26 recipe / $2.87 serving
by Jess - Budget Bytes
4 from 1 vote
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Listen, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next gal, but Taco Salads are really where it’s at. I have always said that salad is the ultimate “fast food”, and I’m sticking to it. Think about it, they’re quick, easy, and almost always require very little cooking. When you want a little extra somethin’ special, this taco salad with lean ground beef is it. You can make taco salad at home for a fraction of the price and have enough salad to meal prep all week long.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.

What Is Taco Salad?

Taco salad is everything you love about crispy beef tacos but in salad form! I’ve made sure it’s jam-packed with lettuce and extra veggies to keep you full all day long.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this taco salad:

  • Sour Cream: Forms the creamy and tangy base of the dressing.
  • Lime: The juice and zest of two limes adds acidity and bright citrus flavor to the dressing.
  • Garlic: Adds a balancing earthiness to the dressing.
  • Seasonings: Salt, chili powder, and sugar balance out the flavor of the dressing.
  • Olive Oil: Helps to emulsify the dressing.
  • Ground Beef: The classic choice for a taco salad. You could easily swap for ground chicken or turkey if you prefer. I used a lean ground beef, so I didn’t have to strain off any fat from cooking, saving me a little time. Vegetarian? No problem! This salad is crazy flavorful with or without the meat.
  • Taco Seasoning: Adds that classic Mexican flavor.
  • Vegetables: Red onion, tomato, corn, avocado, and jalapeño add freshness, crunch, and a touch of spice.
  • Black Beans: Add creaminess and extra protein.
  • Tortilla Chips: Add saltiness and crunch.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds creamy, cheesy flavor.
  • Iceberg Lettuce: The perfect neutral crunchy base lettuce to let the veggies shine.

What Else Can I Add?

I love that this is a great recipe to clean out those leftovers from the fridge. Here are some ideas:

Recipe Tip!

This salad is a crowd-pleaser! If I’m entertaining and have guests or family members who don’t eat certain ingredients, I keep everything separate so everyone can build their own perfect taco salad! I like mine without the ground beef and always use extra beans… yum! I love that everyone can enjoy this salad together with a wide range of toppings and feel full and content.

three-quarters view of taco salad in a white bowl.
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Taco Salad

4 from 1 vote
This taco salad recipe is super customizable without compromising on its hearty and satisfying flavors. It's the ultimate meal prep salad!
overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing and corn chips in a white bowl.
Servings 6 salads (about 2 cups each)
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 4 oz. sour cream ($0.49)
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested ($1.00)
  • 1 clove minced garlic ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil ($0.80)

Ground Beef Mixture

Additional Toppings

  • 1/2 red onion, julienned ($0.37)
  • 2 roma tomatoes ($0.60)
  • 1 cup corn kernels ($1.66)
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed ($0.89)
  • 1 avocado, diced ($0.99)
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed ($1.44)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (about 1/2 of an 8-oz. block) ($1.25)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rings ($0.30)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces ($1.79)

Instructions 

  • Gather and prep all topping ingredients: julienne red onion, chop tomato, defrost frozen corn, drain and rinse black beans, dice avocado, crush tortilla chips, shred cheddar cheese, and slice jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.
  • Chop iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  • Combine sour cream, juice and zest from limes, minced garlic, salt, chili powder, sugar, and oil in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add lean ground beef and taco seasoning packet to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning. Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown.*
  • Top chopped lettuce with shredded cheese, prepped veggies and cooked ground beef. Toss all ingredients (except for crumbled tortilla chips) together.
  • Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.**

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Notes

*I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.
**If you are meal prepping, keep the wet ingredients (like the beef and salad dressing) separate so your veggies and lettuce do not wilt and the tortilla chips do not get soggy. Just dress and toss when you’re ready for lunch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1saladCalories: 804kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 28gFat: 55gSodium: 1228mgFiber: 13g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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overhead view of a serving of taco salad on a white plate.

how to make Taco Salad – step by step photos

overhead view of chopped veggies on a cutting board.

Gather all topping ingredients. Julienne 1/2 red onion, chop 2 roma tomatoes, defrost 1 cup frozen corn, drain and rinse 1 can black beans, dice 1 avocado, crush 3 cups of tortilla chips, shred 1 cup cheddar cheese, slice 1 jalapeno. Set aside or mix together in a large serving bowl.

chopped lettuce in a white bowl.

Chop 1 head of iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

dressing ingredients in a white bowl.

Combine 4 oz sour cream, juice and zest from 2 limes, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 4 Tbsp oil in a small mixing bowl.

creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk to combine.

raw ground beef and spices in a frying pan.

Add 1 pound lean ground beef and 1 packet of taco seasoning to skillet. Break apart the ground beef with a spatula and mix in the taco seasoning.

cooked seasoned ground beef in a frying pan.

Cook until all of the ground beef has turned brown. I used a lean ground beef, so I added my seasoning and beef at the same time. I didn’t have any fat to strain off at the end, which saved me a little prep time.

overhead view of taco salad with ingredients separated in a white bowl.

Top chopped lettuce with prepped veggies and cooked ground beef.

tossing taco salad in a white bowl.

Toss all ingredients together.

drizzling dressing over taco salad in a white bowl.

Drizzle a generous helping of dressing over the top with crumbled tortilla chips! Serve and enjoy.

overhead view of taco salad with creamy white dressing in a white bowl.

This hearty taco salad is sure to satisfy!

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Comments

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  1. Simple but yummy and we used up some veggies! Just the inspiration I needed! ❤️Thank you!

    I gave 4/5 because we didn’t prefer the dressing, though when it was mixed in it was better.

    Next time I might just mix some sour cream and chipotle sauce for a sauce.