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.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
- Assemble: Chop lettuce and divide into serving bowls. Top with ground beef.
- Serve: Add remaining desired toppings and serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top.
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:
- Black beans, rinsed and drained
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Black olives, drained
- Red onion, diced
- Chives or green onion, chopped
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
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.
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.
Yes, just about any ground meat will work. Try ground turkey for a turkey taco salad. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken also works great.
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.
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
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.