Restaurant Vs Homemade Taco Salad
Despite their perception as being healthy options, restaurant taco salads are deceptively unhealthy. Most restaurant versions:
- Are doused in heavy, high-calorie dressings
- Contain a scant number of wholesome vegetables
- Overdo it on the high-fat toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese or nacho cheese
- Are often served in a deep-fried taco shell .
Making your own salad at home means that you can control the taco salad ingredients and portions to make it as wholesome as you choose.
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:
Read Also: Is Who Made The Potatoe Salad On Netflix
How To Make Taco Salad
It really isnt hard. The most time consuming part is chopping up all the toppings!
Start by browning your taco meat. Drain the fat . Now its time for the seasoning: guess what guys, I love using regular ol McCormicks taco seasoning for my ground beef. Super basic. We do Taco Tuesdays that are open to the neighborhood during the summer, and I have friends ask me all the time what I put in the taco meat. Umm, the package you buy at the store?? It really is just good stuff, no shame in that. If you would like a quick homemade version, Ive included a recipe in the notes.
One thing I will say: not all taco seasonings are created equal. I prefer the McCormicks taco seasoning they sell at Costco. Its labeled Premium. The ingredient list is actually different than the same brand that comes in a little packet. The Premium blend uses yellow cornmeal as a thickener instead of cornstarch, and I think it lends a richer flavor.
Dont dry out your taco meat by cooking it too long after adding the water and seasoning you want to still see a little liquid at the bottom of the pan. You want drippy, juicy taco meat! Yum.
Recommended Reading: Tomato Mozzarella Basil Balsamic Salad
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
Can You Make Tortilla Bowls With Corn Tortillas
Yes and no. Yes, you can follow this exact process, with corn tortillas, to make crunchy corn tortilla bowls.
However, its hard to find extra-large corn tortillas so the bowls will not be as large.
Also, there will be small bubbles from frying, but you will not get the massive bubbles with corn tortillas, that you do with flour tortillas.
Don’t Miss: Gluten Free Dairy Free Sugar Free Salad Dressing
Dont Skimp On Your Knifework
If youre adding red onions, tomatoes, or avocado to your taco salad, you want to make sure that theyre evenly diced and sliced. Ditto for any other vegetable. Usually, cutting vegetables evenly is important because it helps them cook at the same rate. Even though these are going in raw, it makes for a better eating experience when the elements are of roughly similar size, so you dont get a bite thats all avocado or all tomato.
How To Make Your Nacho Taco Salad
*Pro Tip: If you are bringing this to a Super Bowl Party, set the dressing aside in a mason jar. Pour over top right before serving!
Also Check: Best Salad Toppings For Weight Loss
Taco Salad Dressing Recipe
Lets talk dressings, one of my required ingredients. You really can go wild when it comes to dressings for your taco salad, there are so many good options. Buttermilk Ranch and Thousand Island come to mind. But I love to make my own of course! Im including two dressing options that are both delicious, one is stupid simple, one is a little more involved but to DIE for.
Creamy Salsa Dressing: this is simple. Take the sour cream and the salsa that you were already planning to put on your taco salad, and mix them up beforehand. Add in a little taco seasoning and the juice from one lime to give it that acidic kick. I prefer to use Restaurant Style Salsa, either this homemade version or one from the store. Restaurant style just means that its blended rather than super chunky.
Creamy Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch: this is the dressing that I put on these Cafe Rio Burritos. Its made with mayonnaise, sour cream, serrano pepper, tomatillos, cilantro, and a dry packet of buttermilk Ranch. Its so incredibly tasty!! Definitely make this one if you have the time, it is well worth a quick process in the blender.
Liked This Recipe Try These Other Taco And Mexican Dinner Recipes Next
- Another go-to way to mix things up this tuesday taco night is to whip up some Taco Casserole. We packed this layered taco salad with all your favorite taco ingredients: beef, onions, cheese, salsa, and plenty of refried beans as well! Top off with some more cheese, lettuce, Fritos, and some sour cream for a delicious and filling casserole dish thats almost too easy to make.
- Taco Pasta is another cheesy and filling dinner dish that we love to make. This quick weeknight meal comes together quick and easy: cook up some taco meat, toss in some Rotel tomatoes, add your pasta and cheese and youre good to go. Its as easy as that: add in some black beans or corn to make this dish extra filling!
- If youre wanting to make tacos for a party, consider making some Walking Tacos instead. This classic fair food recipe sees you adding all your favorite taco ingredients to a bag of crushed up Doritos or Fritos. Tacos in a bag are so easy to make: set up a walking taco bar of ingredients and let people build their own!
Don’t Miss: Individual Packets Of Fat Free Salad Dressing
Easy Dorito Taco Salad Recipe
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure for more information. Published: Apr 26, 2022 by Dee
Easy Dorito Taco Salad recipe with Catalina Dressing and seasoned taco meat is a delicious salad and an easy meal your whole family will love. Perfect for a potluck dinner, family gatherings or a quick weeknight meal!
Kick up your usual taco salad recipe and serve this taco salad with Doritos and Catalina dressing instead! This delicious taco salad has been around for awhile, and its definitely a keeper!
We love tacos, and I like to change up taco night now and then, especially in the summer. Even my picky eaters love this salad recipe because it has crunchy Doritos and tangy Catalina dressing in it!
Plus, this easy meal comes together quickly, and has plenty of garden fresh veggies for the veggie lovers! By the way, if you love Doritos, youll want to try my Dorito Casserole!
Is Taco Salad Unhealthy
My taco salad recipe contains 572 calories, 51 grams of carbs, and 29 grams of fat.
There are several ways to make this recipe healthier, however:
- Omit the tortilla chips and corn, and youll have a keto friendly meal.
- Use a leaner pack of ground beef to reduce the fat content, or swap the beef out for turkey.
- Replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt for more protein and less fat.
Recommended Reading: Arby’s Market Fresh Chicken Salad
Tips For The Best Taco Salad Recipe
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.
Ultra Classic Taco Salad Ingredients = Ultra Classic Taco Salad
Alright, youve whipped up the greatest taco salad dressing in the history of taco salad dressings . And now its time to start actually making the taco salad. You decide if youd rather make it with ground chicken or ground beef. Or, you could even leave the meat off and make it a vegetarian taco salad, if youd like to! In addition to that, youll just need:
Also Check: What Is A Chopped Salad
Want To Make It Healthier
- Use ground turkey in place of ground beef or even swap half pound of the beef for a can of drained and rinsed black beans.
- Make your own baked tortilla chips. To do so brush corn tortillas with olive oil, season with salt then cut into wedges, bake on greased cookie sheet about 10 15 minutes until lightly golden brown, turning once halfway.
- Use light sour cream or omit. Same with the cheese.
- Add more veggies to the salad. Bell pepper, corn, or radishes are great options.
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.
You May Like: Spode Christmas Tree Gold Salad Plate
Did You Make This Recipe
Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on
In support of this small business, ¡Hola! Jalapeño earns revenue in a few different ways. Several sponsored posts are published each month. I also earn an affiliate commission on the sales of products I link to there are a few of those links in this post. I only feature items I genuinely love and personally use on a regular basis. This commission is an arrangement between the retailer and ¡Hola! Jalapeño . This income allows me to run the site. Thank you for reading!
Can I Add A Dressing For Taco Salad
Yes! While you can skip the dressing, one of the most appealing parts of the homemade taco salad is the salad dressing. You can use something as basic as ranch or even a zesty Catalina or French dressing.
Ive included a super simple homemade taco salad dressing recipe you can try. Mix ranch dressing with a little taco sauce for a kicked up version of the popular salad topping.
Whatever dressing you choose, serve it on the side for make your own individual salads. If youre serving the salad family style, add the dressing to the salad right before serving, give it a good toss and your all set.
Also Check: Keto Salad Dressing To Buy
Be Patient When You Sear
You can, of course, add whatever meat you want to a taco salad. Leftover carnitas would be amazing, and so would grilled chicken. Even black beans would work as a vegetarian substitute. But if you’re going the ground beef route, remember that you’re hoping to get a lot of nicely crisp bits of beef in your salad, not just well done hamburger meat. That means that you want to let the meat sear, not just steam. The key here is patiencelet the beef brown in the pan without touching it for three or four minutes, and then break it up with your spatula.
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:
You will want to store the salad dressing separately and add thechips and avocados just before serving.
Don’t Miss: Wendy’s Strawberry Salad Nutrition
Easy Taco Salad Ingredients
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for taco salad recipes, what each one does, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
You can easily customize this healthy taco salad recipe to your liking. Feel free to throw in any other veggies you have on hand, or omit anything you dont like. Thats one of the great things about easy salad recipes you dont have to be that precise!
Ultimately, what goes in a taco salad is very much up to you, but no matter what combo you choose, the key to making taco salad healthy is using natural ingredients.
You really dont need any store bought dressings or chips in there. But, for those that do want a little crunch, you can try adding tortilla chips .
Homemade Baked Tortilla Bowls:
You May Like: Aldi Specially Selected Salad Dressing
Pure Heaven In A Salad
The crushed Doritos give the taco salad intense flavor and crunch, while the ranch dip provides a zesty cool balance to the hot taco meat.
Heaven. The Ultimate Dorito Taco Salad Recipe is pure heaven.
However, this may not be the healthiest salad on A Spicy Perspective, but I assure you, your family will think its one of the best.
Tips For The Best Taco Salad
Use Lean Ground Beef 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 dont skim it off, the fat will solidify on the meat when it cools and you dont 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.
Also Check: Where To Buy Salad Supreme Seasoning
Don’t Miss: Red Robin Salad Dressing Calories
Tmp Presentsthe Ultimate Taco Salad Recipe
Firmly in the realm of Tex-Mex cuisine , classic taco saladloaded with beans, taco meat , cheese, corn and yes, a little lettuce in the mix, toois a form of comfort food for a lot of us. Its kinda retrotaco salad as most of us know it seems to date back to the 1960s and its just really gosh-darn satisfying. Taco salad is not what wed call a health food, but hey, it has the word salad in it so it cant be all bad . And most of all, its so, so easy to make and just good to eat. Everything delicious in the world piled onto a bed of lettuce with the best taco salad dressing everhint, it starts with sour cream and salsawell, theres not a soul on earth who would turn down a dinner this yummy.