The ULTIMATE Taco Salad recipe! My recipe makes an easy dinner in under 30 minutes! Loaded with all of your favorite taco ingredients as well as a simple, three-ingredient dressing. This recipe is great for customizing with your favorite taco add-ins!
One of the greatest strains on my marriage is Zach’s complete and utter lack of respect for Taco Tuesday.
“They’re too much work”, he complained the first few Tuesdays of our marriage, revealing the heart of a man who clearly prefers his dinner assembled before it reaches the table.
So Taco Tuesday in our house is now more of a Taco-every-third-Tuesday thing, and even though we just celebrated 12 years together, sometimes I’m not even sure how we made it this far with priorities so clearly misaligned.
Fortunately, there is one saving grace that we can both agree on, and that’s Taco Salad.
Even though I don’t mind the chance to assemble my own tacos, I do have to admit that there’s something really nice about just throwing everything together in a bowl and chowing down, no additional assembly required.
What You Need
- Cooked ground beef. You may substitute ground turkey or ground chicken, I typically use ground chicken.
- Lettuce. Iceberg lettuce would work, but I prefer to use romaine.
- Tomato. I use halved cherry or grape tomatoes. Chopped up romas or any tomato from your garden would work, though.
- Onion. Red onion is recommended for best flavor but you can use your favorite variety.
- Avocado (or top with some guacamole!)
- Cilantro. I hate saying this, but if you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, yes, you can leave this out.
- Cheese. Sharp cheddar is great, but I’ve been dying to try with cotija cheese.
- Jalapenos. Fresh or pickled will be fine, add according to the spiciness of your peppers as well as your own heat tolerance.
- Taco seasoning. You may make your own or use store-bought. If using store-bought, keep in mind this recipe uses the seasoning for both flavoring the meat and for flavoring the dressing, so you’ll need two standard sized packets.
These are my staples for taco salad. Sometimes I will also mix in corns and or black beans, but I left them out of the base recipe because I don’t consider them to be quintessential taco ingredients.
If Zach had it his way, there would always be olives in it as well, but I’ll pass on the olives every. single. time (we have a very hostile border right down the center every time I make pizza or taco dip, no olives on my side!). It’s taking every ounce of restraint and every bit of my maturity to not put a grossed-out emoji right here right now.
An Easy 5-Second Dressing
My Taco Salad Dressing is made with just three ingredients:
- Salsa. Use your favorite variety, or even my favorite homemade salsa.
- Sour Cream. You can substitute plain Greek yogurt to make this a bit healthier.
- Taco Seasoning.
I use a 1:1 ratio of salsa to sour cream as well as a spoonful of taco seasoning. I recommend using a medium salsa and one that’s not terribly thick.
More Recipes to Try:
Let’s cook together! Don’t forget to watch the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
Taco Salad (Easy 30 Minute Dinner Option!)
- 1 lb ground beef (455g)
- ⅔ cup water (155ml)
- 1 packet (or 3 Tablespoons) taco seasoning* (35g)
- 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce (285g)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved (185g)
- 1 avocado diced
- ⅓ cup finely diced red onion (45g)
- 1 ½ cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese (170g)
- ⅓ cup cilantro chopped (13g)
- Jalapeno slices optional, use more or less depending on how hot you like things. I only used half of a sliced jalapeno for this recipe. You may use fresh or pickled.
- ½ cup sour cream (120g)
- ½ cup medium salsa (135g)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons taco seasoning
- broken corn chips optional**
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and add ground beef.
- Cook until browned and drain.
- Add water and taco seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
- Remove from heat and allow ground beef to cool for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of your taco salad.
- Combine chopped romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and jalapenos (if using) in a large bowl.
- Add (cooled) ground beef and toss ingredients together until well-combined. Meanwhile, prepare dressing.
- Combine sour cream, salsa, and 1 ½ Tablespoons taco seasoning in a bowl and whisk until well-combined.
- Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss until well-combined.
- Serve, topped with crushed corn chips if desired. If not serving immediately, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Recipe originally published July 20th 2018, updated to include more information and a video on July 29th 2020.