Taco Salad Recipe
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Taco Salad Recipe

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My family has made this taco salad recipe for years, it may be over 50 years. We used to make our own “Catalina” type salad dressing with tomato soup. I love making my own salad dressings, but sometimes if I see Catalina on sale I’ll grab a few jars for the pantry.

This salad is so easy to make at the last minute, if you have the ingredients in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. I love making this recipe the most in the summertime when I have homegrown tomatoes, but today I had to purchase some.

This Taco Salad Recipe has a Mexican flair with ground beef, taco seasoning, shredded cheese, beans, chopped lettuce, tortilla chips, and olives. Add the Catalina dressing, and the sweetness comes through with each bite.

If you haven’t ever made this salad, I must tell you right now, when you take this salad to a neighborhood party, it will be a show-stopper. What I mean by that is the fact that it looks like you worked all day to make it, and you didn’t!

Here’s the deal, it’s a homemade salad, not a salad in a bag. Nope, nada. It looks and tastes like a 5-star salad at a fancy restaurant. I’ll be honest, I haven’t eaten at a 5-star restaurant, but I’m confident that’s true! Okay, now I have the giggles as to what I would wear to a 5-star restaurant. Enough of that. Life is good when we eat at home, right?

Taco Salad recipe

In case you missed this post, How To Cook Beans

Kitchen Items You May Need:

Taco Salad Recipe

Step One: Gather Ingredients

I love to gather all of the ingredients just before I start my recipe preparation.

Taco Salad Recipe

Step Two: Brown the Beef

Grab a frying pan and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion, then drain any grease.

Taco Salad Recipe

Step Three: Add Seasonings

Add the taco seasoning and cook a bit longer. Stir until mixed through.

Taco Salad Recipe

Step Four: Cook & Stir Til Done

Tonight, I took pictures of all the ingredients before I layered them in the salad bowl.

Taco Salad Recipe

Finished Product

Pour the Catalina/French Type Dressing over the salad JUST before serving, or serve it on the side. Add bite-size broken tortilla chips or Fritos. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, sliced avocado, and lime wedges. Enjoy.

Taco Salad Recipe

Taco Salad Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Taco Salad Recipe
Taco Salad Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  1. Grab a frying pan and brown the ground beef with chopped onion.

  2. Cook until completely done.

  3. You will need a large mixing bowl to make this salad.

  4. Start layering the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and beans in the large bowl.

  5. Scoop the cooked meat mixture over the salad layers.

  6. Sprinkle this mixture with shredded cheese.

  7. Pour the Catalina/French Type Dressing over the salad JUST before serving, or serve it on the side.

  8. Add bite-size broken tortilla chips. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, sliced avocado, and lime wedges. Enjoy.

How do I store the leftover salad?

After you add the salad dressing it does make the salad a bit soggy over time. I will still eat it, but you may want to serve the bottle of salad dressing on the side. Add it as needed. The salad will stay good for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Of course, fresh is best, but you know that.

Can I use Fritos instead of tortilla chips?

I actually like to serve both, so each person can choose their favorite chip in this salad.

Do I have to use Romaine lettuce?

No, any lettuce will work, it’s just easier for me to chop, and I love the bright green color.

What other vegetables can I add to this salad?

This is why I love a taco salad, you can add sliced radishes, chopped green onions, sliced bell peppers, zucchini bite-size pieces, or any of your favorite veggies.

What can I serve with this salad?

  • Refried beans
  • Spanish Rice
  • Dinner Rolls
  • French Bread
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Tortilla Soup
  • Sliced Mangos
  • Coooked Frozen Corn
  • Fresh Fruit
Read More of My Articles  How To Make Chunky Monkey Pancakes

What other salad dressing can I use?

When I don’t have Catalina, I use my homemade ranch dressing. You can even just drizzle olive oil over your salad.

What does Catalina salad dressing taste like?

It’s slightly sweeter than a typical French dressing, with some yummy tang to it!

Could I use rotisserie chicken with this salad?

I love rotisserie chicken and it’s delicious when used in this salad.

My Favorite Chips

Now, I need to show you a picture of my favorite chips. I know, we all have our favorite, but this bag of tortilla chips is our family’s favorite. Who doesn’t love Fritos as another choice? The tortilla chips shown are light and crisp and the perfect chip anywhere.

I live in Utah, and someone told me about these tortilla chips and I went bonkers over them. I love salsa on anything, and these chips are good with or without some salsa. Let me know if they are available where you live. If not, tell me your favorite brand. I’m sure Frito’s are sold everywhere, and they’re a critical pantry item for me to enjoy with so many meals.

Taco Salad Recipe

When you’re trying to eat healthy foods, salads are a great choice. I realize that the ground beef listed as an ingredient may not be viewed as a “healthy” addition. The good thing about this salad is that there are so many delicious add ons that leaving out the ground beef doesn’t detract from the overall flavor that much.

For me, a couple of scoops of the ground beef and onion mixture provides just enough meaty flavor that I enjoy. If beef isn’t for you, remember that beans are a great source of protein, so you can eat this salad and feel good that you’re not only getting a great veggie combination, but also the protein you need from each meal.

This is a super summertime salad since it is a cool-temp meal on those hot days when we want to steer clear of hot, or even warm, meal choices. The Catalina dressing also adds not only a tangy flavor, but also helps keep you “cool” since it comes right out of your fridge. Give this salad a try any time of the year, you’ll be serving it often.

Final Word

Let me know if you make this taco salad recipe or one similar to it. Tell me what you put in yours, I love to hear from you. It’s all about teaching our kids and grandkids how to cook from scratch. May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. 5 stars

    I am definitely making this soon. Jane and I love tacos, so why not taco salad? I think I’d use pinto beans instead of kidney beans though. Oh, when I make tacos, after the meat is cooked and drained I start with a flour tortilla. I spread warmed up refried beans on it, then fold it around a white corn taco shell and fill that with the meat, onions, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and, in my case, chopped black olives. From now on I’ll add some avocadoes too.

  2. Linda, Linda, Linda,
    Beans, olives and French Dressing in a Taco Salad???? OMG!!!! Not here in Texas!!!
    LOL!!!! Luv ya anyway!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Linda I just mix everything in the bowl and add cheese on top. A friend taught me to make it when we were missionaries to the deaf. Everything was just thrown together and served that way.
    Can you imagine making taco salad for 3-400+ people. I gathered the children and had them help with the chopping and slicing. We would put sour cream out for those who wanted it and they had their choice of salad dressing as a topping. I like to add Bacon to mine along with the hamburger and I skip the taco chips on mine.

    1. Hi Jackie, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend!! I cannot imagine making a taco salad for 3-400+people!! Oh my gosh, what a blessing for them! I can’t imagine all the chopping!! Bacon is so good on everything, LOL! I love it! Linda

  4. 5 stars
    I have made taco salad for many years too. When I was pregnant with my son it was my go to craving. Love the stuff. Last night I decided to try something different – I made the salad hot instead of cold – substituted ramen noodles for tee lettuce . My family absolutely loved it and it will be served again soon since they were already asking me to repeat it for dinner tonight. So good!

  5. 5 stars
    I am so glad to see you put the cilantro on the side. I am very allergic to it, it closes my
    throat up and my head pounds. I was at a meeting one time and there was a beautiful taco salad.
    I took a nice size portion and sat down and ate. Before I knew it my head started pounding and I could barely
    breathe. I had to find out if it had cilantro in it and sure enough it did. I had to leave and get home as soon as I could
    to take my medicine ( I now carry it with me). I hadn’t even thought of that being in a taco salad. But I do love taco
    salad and yours sound good.

    1. Hi June, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend!! Oh my gosh, how scary about the cilantro!!!!! I’m glad you carry stuff with you now to counteract an episode. WOW! I will never look at cilantro the same again, I wonder how many people are allergic to it!! Thank you for the heads up! Linda

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