Layering The Salad And Adding The Toppings And Dressing
Once your ingredients are prepped, youll just have to layer them in your container. As discussed above, I recommend layering the most wet, dense ingredients first, and then working your way up to the lettuce.
Right before serving is a great time to make your crispy tortilla chips. Simply cut your corn tortillas into strips . You can either cook these on the stove top in a frying pan over medium heat . Or, you can do this in the air fryer, which is what I did here.
Add some cooking spray and a pinch of salt, and air fry at 400 for 5 minutes.
Next, add the dressing on top, and sprinkle the chips on top. Garnish with some extra cilantro, if desired.
How To Make Taco Salad
Taco salad is a staple around here! It takes about 20 minutes start to finish and is a welcome variation of ground beef tacos!
Take Out Fake Out
If youd like to make a crispy baked tortilla bowl , theyre easy to bake at home!
Tips For Making Homemade Taco Salad
There are so many ways to make this salad your own and to mix-and-match the ingredients based on what you have on hand and enjoy:
- Use another color of bell pepper .
- Add an onion to the ground beef while its browning.
- Add salsa to the beef and bean mixture.
- Use black beans rather than refried.
- Top with avocado, guacamole, sour cream dollops, black olives, green onions, cilantro.
- I used white corn tortilla chips but you can also use Doritos, or experiment with Fritos or another favorite kind of corn-based chip.
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Taco Salad In A Jar Packing Tips
- For best results, make sure your ingredients are “dry” before you put them in the jar.
- I used quart-sized mason jars. A smaller size would work for a side salad.
- Placing a paper towel at the top of the jar will absorb excess moisture.
- You may want to avoid ingredients with strong odors, such as onions. Add these on serving day, if desired.
- Use salsa without added sugar and substitute a different protein for the beans to keep this recipe South Beach Diet Phase 1 compliant.
- The salads should stay fresh for 4-5 days.
When you are ready, dump it out and arrange it on a plate. I think it’s very cool that the lettuce greens come out first and the toppings, well they end up on top. Stir and enjoy!
If you need more inspiration, check out the beautiful salads over at the Lunch Box Bunch.
What Ingredients Go Into Taco Salad
- Olive oil for sautéing
- Lean ground beef I like to use 85% lean Angus beef.
- Roasted salsa I prefer the lightly charred depth of fire roasted salsa here but just about any bottled salsa will work .
- Chili powder and cumin these standard Mexican spices add lots of flavor.
- Salt and pepper what would food be without it?
- Cilantro the cilantro gives the filling the perfect fresh finish.
- Lettuce I think romaine is the best lettuce for taco salad but iceberg, green leaf or even spinach will work too.
- Tortilla chips, Mexican cheese, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream all these toppings together create the perfect blend of textures and flavors to compliment the beef.
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How Do You Make Taco Salad
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Crumble in beef in chunks. Let sear until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes then turn and break up beef and continue to cookie until cooked through.
- Drain fat from beef then stir in salsa, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat through, about 1 minute.*
- Layer lettuce among individual plates. Top with chips, beef mixture, cheese, tomatoes, avocado and sour cream. Serve immediately.
What Youll Need For This Recipe
The truth is, I developed this recipe while scouring my fridge and finding tons of half-opened and half-used ingredients, so you can really do the same thing. I suggest taking this recipe and using it as inspiration for your own creation.
Dont have cheddar, only mozzarella? Use that! Sub in ground turkey? Go for it! Want to add corn? Perfect! Maybe you dont have black beans, and you want to use refried beans instead? Great!
With that in mind, here are the ingredients I used for mine:
- 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- extra thin corn tortillas
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Homemade Ranch Taco Dressing
Before you get started on your salad, pre-make your dressing. It needs to sit in the fridge prior to serving so this can also be made a day ahead of time if you prefer.
I serve this dressing along side the salad as I have an affinity for soggy food and like things fresh, but you could most certainly double this recipe and use it in between layers for built in flavors.
- 1/2 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
Tip: I keep the Kraft Ranch Dry Seasoning can on hand and can make dressing any time I want that tastes homemade. It also is great for taco seasonings and soup. You can find it in the seasonings aisle and lasts for quite a few months.
How I Made My Layered Taco Salad
So, as I mentioned before, there is no real science here, and any ingredient can be swapped out for another similar ingredient. You can add or take away anything youd like.
To make my version, I cooked my ground beef with the taco seasoning and water, just like the package directions say to. Once thats finished, remove it from the pan to cool. In the same pan, you an add the drained and rinsed black beans, along with the seasonings and cook this for ten minutes, and then remove that from the pan to cool as well.
This is the only true cooking required for this recipe. The rest is just combining ingredients and assembly.
Next, prepare the tomatoes, onions, avocado, and dressing. This part is easy, as its just combining different flavorings and ingredients to make really flavorful condiments and toppings for this dish.
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What Are The 7 Layers Of Dip
This dip has 7 layers, but more than 7 ingredients. Heres how we layer them:
Now what if someone in your family doesnt like one of the ingredients above? Try one of these variations:
- Leave out the cream cheese. It adds a smoothness and richness to the party dip, but it isnt necessary.
- Mix the taco seasoning with the beans, with the sour cream or just sprinkle it over one of those two layers. Ohand use less if youd like. 3 tablespoons adds a huge kick of flavor!
- Leave out the guacamole. And use freshly chopped veggies instead. Think finely diced red or poblano peppers and red onions.
- Use Cotija cheese instead of shredded Colby. Or use cheddar if youd like.
- Use green onions instead of olives.
Easy Homemade Taco Salad Recipe
Ive been eating taco salad as long as I can remember. Of course as a kid, in the 90s, my mom made the Dorito version and of course we loved that but now I prefer to make it with more natural chips.
Taco salad is one of the ultimate weeknight recipes. When theres not much time to make something taco salad is a great option, especially this version which uses ground beef , bottled salsa to add lots of flavor without the prep, and pre-shredded cheese.
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How To Mix Your Seven Layer Salad For Serving
The answer to that is, you dont. In some places, the whole bowl might be tossed before serving but thats scandalous in my neck of the woods.
We use a spoon with a very long handle and encourage people to dig deep, get a little of everything in one scoop and mix it on their plates.
Since the dressing is on the top, theyll get enough to mix with their veggies. It works, I promise!
And speaking of the dressing, its a mix of mayonnaise, sour cream and sugar but dont panicits not sweet. Its sort of amazing what that little bit of sugar does in there. Magic, I tell ya.
If youd like to be even more inspired, check out this list of other creative seven layer salads.
Layered Taco Salad In A Jar Plus Packing Tips
UPDATED · PUBLISHED Aug 13, 2013 BY · This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Assemble Layered Taco Salad in a Jar and enjoy tasty, no-mess, healthy salads all week. It all starts with an easy 2 ingredient salsa dressing. Follow the “rules” to make ANY SALAD in a mason jar!
I’m late to the party. But, now that I’m here, I’m lovin’ it! I’m talking about the mason jar craze. What a great make-ahead meal strategy. Just properly layer your favorite ingredients in jars, and you have fresh, no-prep salads throughout the week.
If you planned for extra 3 Ingredient Salsa Chicken in a Crock-Pot then you can layer that in too! It’s the perfect substitution for black beans to keep this recipe in carbs.
I’ve been chowing down on this taco salad in a jar for 3 days now. It’s so easy to just grab it out of the fridge and dump it out on a plate. It has some of my favorite ingredients and it’s low-cal too! And yes, it’s still fresh 4 days later!
It’s all in the packing. Yeah, just like a suitcase. If you do it right you are rewarded with a lovely, care-free travel experience.
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How To Make Layered Taco Salad
1. To make the guacamole layer, cut the avocado in half. Remove the avocado pit and scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a small bowl. Mash avocado with a fork to break it up.
2. Add the Greek yogurt, lime juice, salt, and hot sauce . Stir until ingredients are combined.
3. Cook seasoned taco meat in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat according to package directions.
Remember to let the seasoned ground beef cool before using it in the salad so it doesnt wilt the lettuce.
4. Assemble the taco salad in a glass trifle bowl in the following order:
- The cooked taco seasoned ground beef goes at the bottom.
- Follow with half the lettuce.
- Then add the pinto beans, corn, salsa, tortilla chips, and remaining Romaine lettuce.
- Finally, add the guacamole, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, and diced red onion to the top of the salad.
5. Keep chilled until served.
Can I Prep This In Advance
Absolutely! You can prep many of the ingredients in advance and create a buffet-style salad bar as well. Ingredients you can prep ahead of time include the beef, salsa, taco seasoning, diced red onion, and beans.
Those items can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days in separate containers. The rest can be pulled straight out of the fridge and prepped in under 10 minutes.
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Whats In A Seven Layer Salad
That is the most glorious part because really you can make it with any vegetables you have on hand. I find this version to be the most authentic and sticks to:
-bacon, and dressing
I saw a version that had cauliflower rice in it a while back. Ha! I dare you to serve that to a southern man and see how they like it.
Aint no cauliflower rice in this version .
You can add different ingredients to your own seven layer salad version if you would like to, but be careful how much you stray.
How To Layer A Salad In A Mason Jar
I’ve used the specific ingredients for a taco salad to discuss the layering process and tips for assembling just about any salad:
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How To Make A Taco Salad
Now that you have your ingredients prepped, the rest comes easy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making A Layered Taco Salad
- Can you make taco salad ahead? Yes! In fact, this also makes an awesome meal prep. Thats exactly why I serve the dressing on the side and Id probably add the chips just before serving to preserve the crispy texture.
- How long does this taco salad? Around 4 days covered in the refrigerator.
- Can I use different ingredients? Totally, switch them out as youd like. Just be aware that things with a lot of liquid wont last as long and my not layer well.
- How do you serve a layered salad? I like to serve it in the big, clear bowl with straight sides like a trifle bowl. And when you actual serve it, be sure to dig the utensils deep, all the way to the bottom to get some of all the delicious flavors!
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Why This Recipe Works
This easy layered taco salad is inspired by a classic taco salad recipe my mom made all the time when I was growing up.
It was one of those retro, faux-Mexican dishes that we kids loved.
She used cooked ground beef, taco seasoning, tubs of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, green onions, and black olives.
It wasnt healthy, but it was delicious.
Assembling 7 Layer Taco Salad
Mix ranch dressing and taco seasoning together.
Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.
Layer each item into a large trifle bowl beginning with the lettuce and ending with the green onions.
When you reach the cheese layer, place in the center of the bowl and sprinkle with olives and green onions.
Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
Serve with dressing, guacamole, and sour cream.
Use Tongs to serve!
- Mix ranch dressing and taco seasoning together.
- Set aside for flavors to mingle.
- Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.
To Make Salad:
- Layer each item into a large trifle bowl beginning with the lettuce and ending with the green onions.
- When you reach the cheese layer, place in the center of the bowl and sprinkle with olives and green onions.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
- Serve along side taco dressing.
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Simple Pleasures For Every Day
I decided to create another layered cake pan salad! Since my other layered salad in a cake pan has been shared and pinned thousands of times, it was time to share something similar, yet new. How about a layered taco salad in a cake pan? Everyone loves taco salad!
The idea behind this salad shares the same basic concept as my classic layered salad, but this time I added a Mexican twist. I developed a thick, ranch sour cream mayonnaise so it would hold up the same way as other layered salads, and not get soggy. Make sure you drain the beans, corn, and olives very well so they dont add unwanted moisture to your salad.
Serving a layered salad in a cake pan, as opposed to a trifle pan, makes it portable, easy to serve, and unique. Everyone will want a copy of this recipe, so be prepared to share it!
Just layer, chill, and cut into cake-like pieces! Voila!
Note: I always use the lowest sodium products I can find when Im creating a recipe. This way I can add salt to taste just before serving. This goes for the ranch mayonnaise dressing recipe at the end of this post. If you used low sodium ingredients throughout the rest of the recipe, the ranch mayo should be fine. If youre concerned about salt content, make the homemade version of the powdered ranch mix. Its much lower in salt than Hidden Valley.
serves 8 to 12
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 small can green chilies, undrained
1 head iceberg lettuce, outer leaves removed
1 packet taco seasoning mix
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced