Variations To Please Family Members
Originally, when I was growing up, we only crushed about half of a bag of tortilla chips. We added them all to the salad. They were still crunchy when we ate the salad right away. When we ate the leftovers the next day, the chips were soggy. This bothered some of my family members. They did not like soggy chips. Thats when I started using the whole bag of chips and reserving half for each person to add as a topping if desired. You can never have too many tortilla chips, right? Everyone was happy!
The next variation is to leave the beans out. Sometimes we serve them on the side for people to add as they wish. Sometimes we forget about them entirely. The nice thing about this recipe is that it does lend itself well to customization.
You can also customize the cheese blend or tortilla chip flavor. Monterey Jack cheese is tasty, and if you ever see taco-flavored chips, you might want to try those.
What Can I Prepare Ahead Of Time
If you dont want to assemble the complete taco salad, butwant to prep some of it ahead of time, heres how:
- Chop Vegetables: You can chop your lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and grill your corn ahead of time. Store veggies in separate airtight containers in sealable bag so the moisture doesnt wilt the lettuce or layer tomatoes, red onions, corn then lettuce in a bowl. I do not recommend storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day.
- Make Dressing: You can make the Taco Salad Dressing and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours in advance.
- Make Beef: The beef mixture can be made 2-3 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container. I recommend reheating the beef slightly before tossing with the salad so its at room temperature.
Healthy Taco Salad Tips
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Turmeric And Ginger Dressing
The health benefits of ginger and turmeric are numerous, and they make a zesty salad dressing. Bean salads, vegetable bowls, and mixed greens go well with this dressing. For the recipe, follow the steps outlined below.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar,
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of honey
Toss all of the ingredients together until well combined, and sweeten with honey if desired. Keep the dressing refrigerated in a jar.
More Fun Family Dinner Ideas
Instant Pot Taco Soup I make this in my Instant Pot, but you dont have to use a pressure cooker. Instead, you can use the stove top or slow cooker if you prefer.
Oven Baked Buffalo Wings This is a great food for get-togethers with friends or sports parties. For a little extra flavor, you can offer some taco salad dressing made with Catalina and taco seasoning, in addition to the traditional ranch.
Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole Heres a dish from Miz Helens Country Cottage that both the kids and adults will love!
Appetizers for Dinner Sometimes its just fun to offer a wide variety of appetizers for dinner. These can be leftovers from a party or things you throw together simply to enjoy something different.
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Taco Salad Done Right
Maybe youre thinking, taco salad? Meh. Id rather have tacos.
I get it, tortillas are tough to beat. But Im telling you, when you use the right ingredients and commit to making your own dressing, you will have a change of heart. You will go from thinking of taco salad as a second class healthy substitute to real tacos, to thinking mid-salad-chomp, Dang. This is legit amazing. And suddenly salad is no longer substandard.
Here are my secrets to get yourself to the BEST taco salad situation:
- you must make a dressing, even if its an easy one
- avocados are required, either fresh or in guac form
- Taco meat must be beef. Sorry turkey, but no, you are not the best.
- Mix herbs in with your lettuce. Chop your lettuce into small easy-to-bite pieces.
- Dont skimp on the cheese! Cheese is everything!
- You must use Juanitas or Fritos. The end. Forever and ever amen.
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Vegan Taco Salad Dressing
Want to make a vegan taco salad dressing for your Easy Vegan Taco Salad? No problem! Here are two options to try:
- Use vegan yogurt and vegan mayo. Its becoming easy to find vegan options for these products in your local grocery.
- Or, try cashew cream or homemade vegan sour cream! Try ½ cup red salsa and ½ cup cashew cream or vegan sour cream.
How To Make Taco Salad Dressing
This dressing couldnt be easier to make. Especially because we always have these three bottles on hand: Thousand island dressing, Western or a zesty French dressing, and a mild taco sauce. If you like more heat, use a spicier taco sauce.
Just measure out each of these according to the recipe below and stir them together.
That is it!
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Taco Salad With Sour Cream Dressing
Craving Mexican but want something fresh and healthy? Try this taco salad with sour cream dressing.
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 telegraph cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
- 500g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Kernels from 4 cooked corn cobs
- 100g baby rocket leaves
- 230g pack plain corn chips
Don’t forget you can add these ingredients to your Woolworths shopping list.
- 1. Whisk the sour cream, lemon juice and garlic with enough warm water to form a smooth, loose dressing. Season and set aside.
- 2. Toss the remaining ingredients, except chips, in a serving bowl. When ready to serve, toss through chips and dressing.
Whats The Best Dressing For Taco Salad
You were going to put sour cream and salsa on your salad anyway, right? So heres the very best dressing you can make for taco salad: a mixture of sour cream, salsa, lime juice, and a dash of taco seasoning. It makes for a thick and creamy dressing thats best tossed with the salad just before serving.
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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 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.
How To Make Taco Salad Ahead Of Time
Taco Salad can be assembled, refrigerated, then simply tossed with the chips and dressing right before serving. Taco Salad is an excellent make ahead meal because it can all be served at the same temperature, unlike Burrito Bowls, in which some of the components taste far superior warmed.
The secret to making taco salad ahead of time is to layer theingredients so they dont get soggy. This requires a specific order, with the most wet on the bottom. To prep Taco Salad ahead of time, layer theingredients in the following order:
- Ground beef
You will want to store the salad dressing separately and add thechips and avocados just before serving.
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The Best Easy Taco Salad Recipe
When I was growing up, my dear mom always tried to get me to eat tossed salads. Im still not a big fan, but there are a few tossed salads I will always eat. One is the berry mandarin tossed salad I wrote about, and the other is taco salad. Over the years, the recipe has been refined, and today Im offering the latest version to you. Read on to learn the secrets to making the best easy taco salad recipe.
***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.*** Already know what youd like to get from Amazon? Heres a handy way to get to the website, linked to an easy and fun camping cookbook. Just click on the link, then browse around and do your shopping.
Substitutions Tips And Variations
Just like the tacos that this Doritos Taco Salad recipe takes its inspiration from, there are myriad ways to customize and reconfigure this dish to meet your tastes.
- You can use romaine, iceberg, or any blend of crisp greens to add interest to the salad component.
- Any type of cheese can be added in shredded or cubed form.
- If the kidney beans arent your favorite legume, pinto or black beans would substitute nicely.
- And of course you can always jazz things up in the veggie department by adding some chopped peppers, red onion, green chilies or chopped cilantro.
- I like this salad with both Fritos and Doritos and usually switch it up based on my mood. I prefer Nacho Cheese Doritos, but feel free to use Cool Ranch Doritos if you prefer.
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Can I Prepare It In Advance
Because it can be made ahead of time, this Healthy Taco Salad is a great addition to your meal prep. Woohoo! The only thing you need to remember is to store it properly in the refrigerator.
Make sure the salad stores well by storing it in a mason jar.
Keep in mind the basic rules of layering! The salad dressing should go in the bottom of the jar, and the greens should go on top.
This keeps your greens fresh until youre ready to eat them.
And, yes, do pour it out into a large bowl or plate to enjoy when youre ready to get all the ingredients mixed up and coated in the dressing.
Dressing With Apple Cider Vinegar
This dressing is a hit! Thanks to the goodness of apple cider vinegar.
It can also be used to marinate foods. Take a look at this universal favorite apple vinegar salad recipe.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp mustard
salt and pepper
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. You can also combine all of the ingredients in a jar and thoroughly shake it. Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate in a jar.
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Notes About Doritos Taco Salad :
- Use your favorite taco salad ingredients.
- Substitute black beans or pinto beans for kidney beans.
- Do not toss this until right before serving. You do not want a soggy salad.
- This Catalina taco salad dressing will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. Just give it a good stir or shake before using. Feel free to make it ahead of time.
- Any flavor of Doritos can be used.
How To Make Beef Taco Salad
You can use pre-made taco seasoning in this Doritos taco salad if you like I just like to make my own with spices I have on-hand.
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Things To Keep In Mind While Preparing Taco Salad Dressing
Everything can be completed in advance.
Tomatoes will be the most difficult to work with. Overnight is fine, but if youre planning to eat it for the entire week, chop your tomatoes and put them in your veggie container the night before you plan to eat it.
Last but not least, toss in the chips, dressing, salsa, and sour cream. The ideal healthy meal to last you the entire week!
Chop your lettuce and mix in the green onions and cilantro, making sure they are completely dry. Place in a ziplock bag after wrapping in a paper towel.
Place all of your meat or beans in a single microwave-safe container. Then, in a separate container, combine all of your other vegetable toppings.
For lettuce forget about fancy microgreens or even a spring mix here. Theyll be trampled by the rest of the salad toppings. To withstand all of that, youll need tougher lettuce. Choose romaine lettuce, romaine hearts, leaf lettuce, or plain iceberg lettuce.
Why This Taco Salad Recipe Works
- Combination of flavors. The spicy taco meat is complimented by the cool, creamy cilantro lime dressing, and the crunch of the taco shell, or Fritos, or Doritos, if you choose.
- Easily Customizable. You can customize the ingredients and use what you have on hand, or leave out an ingredient if you prefer. It becomes your unique salad.
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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.
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The Topping Ingredients For Taco Salad
First things first, we need some lettuce. I prefer Romaine its the perfect blend of leafy green and CRUNCH. Green or red leaf is fine, or iceberg will do in a pinch. Chop your lettuce into nice easy bite size pieces we arent feeding dinosaurs. And for heavens sake, get yourself a salad spinner. One of the best kitchen purchases you will ever make! It simplifies the salad-making experience so much. Here is the exact salad spinner I have.
One of my best taco salad tips is to mix your herbs in with your greens. And by herbs in this case, I mean cilantro and green onions. I toss both of these ingredients in with my romaine, right in the salad spinner, and give it a whirl. It helps distribute them properly so that you get ultimate flavor in every bite of salad. Chopped cilantro tends to clump up and stay in little bits. This is a good way to spread the cilantro love. If you arent a cilantro lover, GET OUT OF HERE. Im just kidding. Kind of. Try to change your ways. I know, I know, its a gene and not your fault. Maybe )
Here is my ultimate ingredient list for the best taco salad:
- tomatoes, either cherry tomatoes or chopped roma, red vine, etc.
- sliced radishes
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Taco Salad Is Perfect For Casual Dinners
Jessica always serves this meal in a super casual way.
That is to say, she places all the ingredients in separate bowls on their kitchen peninsulas counter, for each person to assemble their own salad as they wish. As a result, everyone gets exactly what they like.
That means no black beans for our daughter Tessa. Extra cheese for Jessica and her daughters Kate and Meg. And an extra helping of Doritos for almost every person at the table. Because WHO can actually resist those chips?!
What Goes With Taco Salad
Taco salad is so full of protein and veggies, its a pretty complete meal all on its ownyet another thing to love about taco salad! But you can definitely round it out into a full Tex-Mex meal! Because our taco salad recipe is not served in a taco shell bowl, its definitely a good idea to serve some chips on the side for those whod like them and margaritas are always a good idea. Heres our dream menu for taco salad night:
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