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Easy Taco Salad Recipe

A healthy Taco Salad, loaded with juicy ground beef, served over a bed of crisp lettuce and all of the best taco salad toppings.

We love tacos, from our famous Fish Tacos to our Carne Asada Street Tacos and even Taco Soup – Tacos are a fun menu item to make and tastes just as good as going out for tacos (except fresher and healthier).

Taco salad served in a bowl with toppings

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Taco Salad Recipe

A taco salad is basically a deconstructed taco so it is a low-carb option compared to traditional tacos. They are so satisfying and super easy to make. Try this with our homemade Pico De Gallo and you will be known for your taco salad.

salad ingredients with lettuce, ground beef, taco seasoning, pico, cheese, avocado

How to Make Taco Salad

If you have made Ground Beef Tacos in the past, you already know how to make the salad. The process is very similar and even easier.

  1. Cook Beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown your beef, breaking it up with a spatula until no pink remains. Drain off excess fat, add taco seasoning and water, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Assemble: Chop lettuce and divide into serving bowls. Top with ground beef.
  3. Serve: Add remaining desired toppings and serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top.
Step by step how to make taco salad recipe

More Taco Salad Toppings

We love the classic toppings of Mexican cheese, avocado, Pico, tortilla strips (or chips), sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges. You can change up Taco Tuesday’s with these fun taco bar options:

Taco Salad toppings over a bed of iceberg lettuce

How to Serve Taco Salad

  • Taco Bar – you can arrange all of the ingredients in separate bowls and let your guests build their own custom taco salads. We love this option when there are gluten-free or keto dinner guests. P.S. You can get gluten-free taco seasoning.
  • Layered Salad – if you want to serve this as one large salad for a party, you can assemble it in a 9×13 glass casserole as a layered taco salad (similar to a 7-layer dip) starting with the lettuce then beef, and sprinkle remaining toppings evenly over the top.
  • Taco Salad Bowls – serve this as a side salad or as a main course. Divide lettuce between bowls, add ground beef, and desired toppings.

Tips for the Best Taco Salad

Use Lean Ground Beef (90/10) – Ground beef with a higher fat content will release more fat. Tilt the pan for the fat to pool at the corn of the pan then spoon off the excess fat. If you don’t skim it off, the fat will solidify on the meat when it cools and you don’t want that.

Assemble just before serving – Mixed taco salad does not keep well as the salt in the pico and taco seasoning will wilt the lettuce over time. If you want to make this in advance, see the meal prep option below.

Ground beef taco salad served in a bowl with lime wedges

Common Questions

Is this a low carb or keto taco salad?

This is naturally a low-carb meal option. To make it healthier and lower-calorie, select lean ground beef. To make this a keto taco salad, skip the tortilla strips.

Can I substitute the meat?

Yes, just about any ground meat will work. Try ground turkey for a turkey taco salad. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken also works great.

Does this need Taco Salad Dressing?

You don’t need a dressing for taco salad because the sour cream and pico de gallo serve as a ‘dressing.’ If you prefer a dressing, try our Avocado Ranch or our Jalapeño Ranch with a little heat to it.

Meal Prep (Make-Ahead) Option

Meal planning with taco salad is genius – all of the ingredients keep well and taste just as good when made ahead in a meal prep container and you can combine all of the ingredients just before serving. Pack a lime wedge to squeeze over the top before serving.

  • Pack your lettuce into sandwich-sized plastic bags for max freshness and place it into a meal prep container.
  • Arrange toppings in strips: taco meat, cheese, and avocado (squeeze fresh lime juice over avocados to slow down the browning process).
  • Pico and sour cream keep best stored in small lidded containers or zip bags.
  • Pack tortilla strips separate since those will soften.
Meal prepped taco salad in to-go container

Taco Salad is a quick and easy meal. You can use this basic recipe over and over changing up the toppings to make dinner exciting.

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A taco salad is basically a deconstructed taco. It's a low-carb option compared to traditional tacos and taco salads are perfect for make-ahead meal prep.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $12-$16
Keyword: taco salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Course: Main Course
Calories: 264 kcal
Servings: 6 people as a side salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 Tbsp taco seasoning mix or 1 packet
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 iceberg lettuce medium head, chopped
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup pico de gallo or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend or to taste
  • 1/2 cup tortilla strips or chips
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown your beef. When there is no pink left on the meat, spoon out all of the excess fat then add 4 Tbsp or 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until it’s lightly warm or room temperature.
  2. Chop lettuce and place into serving bowls (serves 6 as a side salad or 4 as a main course). Divide ground beef between the bowls over the lettuce.

  3. Add remaining toppings as desired: avocado, pico de gallo, cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over salad before serving. The sour cream and pico serve as the dressing for this salad.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Taco Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 264 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 550mg24%
Potassium 614mg18%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 1009IU20%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 120mg12%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Georgia M Koremenos
    June 5, 2021

    All your recipes are just perfect; but I ant seem to print the secrets for a better cook. Thanks for all your recipes, I’m Greek and even my family likes the, and my fuzzy daughter and granddaughter. Stay with it.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 5, 2021

      Hi Georgia, the 5 secrets come into your email inbox when you sign up using one of the forms on our blog (there is one at the top of the site on the homepage). You should be able to print from your email. I’m so glad you love the recipes!

      Reply

  • Cindy
    June 2, 2021

    I really enjoy your food blogs. Good recipes and so easy to follow.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 2, 2021

      You’re so nice! Thank you!

      Reply

  • Ramesh B Rengarajan
    May 15, 2021

    Love this recipe!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 16, 2021

      Glad you loved it!

      Reply

  • sheila
    May 6, 2021

    Could i leave out the avocado , and sub cucumber for it

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 6, 2021

      Hi Sheila, we love it with Avocado, but I bet that could work.

      Reply

  • Connie
    May 6, 2021

    This is almost exactly how I make our Taco Salads, which is a favorite in our household. I am sure others will come to enjoy it as much as we do. Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 6, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Sara Welch
    May 4, 2021

    Looking forward to trying something new for Taco Tuesday tonight; looks too good to pass up, indeed!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      I hope this becomes your new favorite!

      Reply

  • Donna
    May 4, 2021

    I never thought of taking taco salad like this. Love love love this idea and have used it on several days. Thanks for the idea.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      You’re welcome, I hope this becomes your new favorite recipe!

      Reply

  • Beth
    May 4, 2021

    Yummy! I love a good taco salad, so I’ll definitely have to try this one as soon as possible! So excited!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      Hi Beth, please do! We would love to hear your feedback too after you try it.

      Reply

  • katerina @ diethood.com
    May 4, 2021

    I love how easy and delicious this Taco Salad is!! I will definitely be making this tomorrow for lunch! YUM!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      I hope you love this recipe! We love Taco Salad around here!

      Reply

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