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    Published April 19, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This tasty Taco Salad Recipe is loaded with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and cheese in a tortilla bowl and served with chipotle ranch dressing. This has become a family favorite in our house and is easy to make.

    If you love big, hearty, refreshing salads, especially in the summer months, please see how to make my Tomato Onion Salad or Niçoise Salad.

    taco salad in a tortilla bowl


     

    Taco Salad

    Taco salad is considered a Texas-Mexican, or Tex-Mex, dish that originated in Texas and has been around since the 1950s. It’s said to have been created by Elmir Doolin, the founder of Fritos. He owned a restaurant in Disney called Casa de Fritos and featured the Ta-Cup.

    It has since transformed into the large flour taco bowl we know today, with an assortment of ingredients, including lettuce, tomatoes, meat, sour cream, cheese, and more. Depending on who is making it, this salad has many variations, which can absolutely be tailored to your liking.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    taco salad ingredients
    • Tortillas – I used extra-large flour tortillas to make the tortilla bowl with. In addition, I used corn tortilla shells that I cut and fried to go on top. You can replace what I did with the corn tortilla shells with plain corn tortilla chips or Fritos.
    • Lettuce – Romaine lettuce was used in this recipe. However, you can also use greens like green leaf lettuce, butter leaf, iceberg, spring mix, or a combination.
    • Meat – I used 80/20 ground beef. You can use and lean to fat ration beef in this dish. In addition, you can also use any cooked protein, such as chicken or pork.
    • Seasoning – I used my homemade taco seasoning to season the beef with.
    • Dressing – You can use your favorite dressing for this salad, but Chipotle ranch works best.
    • Onion – I used a combination of red onions and green onions. You can use either or both.
    • Corn — As long as it’s cooked, corn can be fresh, frozen, and thawed, or canned and drained.
    • Beans – Cooked black or pinto beans are my favorite to use.
    • Cheese – Traditionally, a sharp cheddar is used, but any cheese such as white cheddar, Colby, Monterrey jack, jack, or a Mexican blend works well.
    • Tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes, but you can use any fresh tomato.
    • Avocado – A hint of good fat from ripe avocados goes a long way in this dish.
    • Sour Cream – This is optional and can essentially replace the dressing. I like to use both.
    • Oil – Any neutral-flavored oil can fry the tortillas and the beef.

    How to Make Taco Salad

    Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

    oil in a pan

    Next, add a flour tortilla and cook for 30 to 45 seconds per side or until dark brown spots form.

    frying a tortilla shell

    Immediately transfer it to a small to medium-sized oven-safe bowl and press down in the center using a drinking glass to mold it into a bowl-like shape. Repeat the process with 3 more flour tortillas. Ensure the flour tortillas are in the bowls and on a sheet tray, and bake in the oven on a middle rack at 350° for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Set aside to cool.

    adding a fried tortilla shell to a bowl

    Cut the corn tortillas into thick strips.

    cutting corn tortillas

    Add about ½ cup of avocado oil to a medium or large-sized non-stick skillet over low to medium heat.

    oil in a non-stick skillet

    Fry the corn tortilla strips in batches for 30 to 45 seconds or until crisp.

    frying corn tortilla strips

    Let them drain on paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.

    draining fried corn tortilla strips

    Add the ground beef to a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and immediately flatten it out. After 30 seconds of frying, sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning and mix it in.

    cooking beef in a pan with seasoning

    Break the ground beef into bite-size pieces and cook until browned and cooked throughout. Set it to the side.

    seasoned cooked ground beef

    Prepare the lettuce and vegetables.

    preparing vegetables

    Fill the cooled flour tortilla bowl with lettuce and desired vegetable toppings and cheese.

    adding cheese to a taco bowl

    Add on your desired dressing and serve.

    taco bowl cut in half on a plate

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: Keep the dressing and the salad accompaniments separate, but you can prepare this up to 2 days ahead for freshness.

    How To Store: If you can keep the dressing separate, cover and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of beef to a non-stick skillet over low heat and heat until hot.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • All the vegetables I used are subjective and can be swapped or discarded.
    • It’s better to mold the flour tortillas right out of the pan as they are easier to mold when hot.
    • The flour tortillas will be fine in the bowl while you fry and mold the others.
    • A good way to ensure the beef does not dry out is to stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water before cooking.
    • Cool, strain, and store the leftover frying oil for 6 weeks.

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Taco Salad Recipe

    5 from 3 votes
    This Taco Salad Recipe is loaded with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in a tortilla bowl with chipotle ranch dressing.
    Servings: 4

    Ingredients 

    • ½ cup + 4 tablespoons avocado oil
    • 4 extra large flour tortillas
    • 8 corn tortillas
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
    • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 2 thinly sliced green onions
    • 1 peeled, small diced small red onion
    • 1 peeled, cored, medium diced avocado
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    • 15- ounce can drained black beans
    • 15- ounce can drained corn
    • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
    • ½ cup sour cream
    • Chipotle ranch dressing

    Instructions

    • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
    • Next, add in a flour tortilla and cook for 30 to 45 seconds per side or until dark brown spots form.
    • Immediately transfer it to a small to medium-sized oven-safe bowl and press down in the center using a drinking glass to mold it into a bowl-like shape. Repeat the process with 3 more flour tortillas. Ensure the flour tortillas are in the bowls and on a sheet tray, and bake in the oven on a middle rack at 350° for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Set aside to cool.
    • Cut the corn tortillas into thick strips.
    • Add about ½ cup of avocado oil to a medium or large-sized non-stick skillet over low to medium heat.
    • Fry the corn tortilla strips in batches for 30 to 45 seconds or just until crisp.
    • Let them drain on paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.
    • Add the ground beef to a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and immediately flatten it out. After 30 seconds of frying, sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning and mix it in.
    • Break up the ground beef into bite-size pieces and cook until they are browned and cooked throughout. Set it to the side.
    • Prepare the lettuce and vegetables.
    • Fill the cooled flour tortilla bowl with lettuce, ground beef, and desired vegetable toppings and cheese.
    • Add on your desired dressing and serve.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: Keep the dressing and the salad accompaniments separate, but you can prepare this up to 2 days ahead for freshness.
    How To Store: If you can keep the dressing separate, cover and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of beef to a non-stick skillet over low heat and heat until hot.
    All the vegetables I used are subjective and can be swapped or discarded.
    It’s better to mold the flour tortillas right out of the pan as they are easier to mold when hot.
    The flour tortillas will be fine in the bowl while you fry and mold the others.
    A good way to ensure the beef does not dry out is to stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water before cooking.
    Cool, strain, and store the leftover frying oil for 6 weeks.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 970kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 42gFat: 53gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1295mgPotassium: 1160mgFiber: 14gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1621IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 510mgIron: 7mg
    Course: Salad
    Cuisine: Tex-Mex