Carlsbad cravings chicken taco salad

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Straightforward Taco Salad in your desk in half-hour!

This Taco Salad recipe is everybody’s’ favourite floor beef (or turkey!) tacos in salad kind. It’s bursting with daring, satisfying Tex-Mex flavors and layers of recent, creamy, crunchy textures. It’s beloved by everybody for lunch, straightforward dinners, potlucks, or events and is assured to turn into a repeat favourite. This straightforward Taco Salad recipe is loaded with widespread, pantry pleasant taco substances so you may make it at a second’s discover: spicy floor beef, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, hearty black beans, creamy avocados, charred candy corn, pepper Jack cheese all doused in creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing. You’ll be able to customise the Taco Salad through the use of roughly of your favourite substances and/or make it more healthy through the use of turkey and baked tortilla chips (directions included). I’ve additionally included directions on bake your individual tortilla bowls! This Taco Salad recipe is ideal for make forward entertaining, meal prep, on the go lunches or straightforward dinners any evening of the week.

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taco salad recipe

Taco Salad has at all times been considered one of my (and America’s) favourite predominant dish salads. And I’m nonetheless obsessed. As a result of actually, does it get any higher than juicy beef, crunchy lettuce, recent greens, creamy dressing and crispy tortilla chips – in EVERY chew?! The fusion of fiesta flavors and textures is reassuring, hearty, flavorful, and recent all on the identical time.

Reading: Carlsbad cravings chicken taco salad

Extra causes to like this Taco Salad Recipe:

  • Fast and straightforward. Simply chop your veggies whilst you brown the meat and mix the dressing in your blender – that’s it!
  • Make forward. You’ll be able to assemble your Taco Salad apart from the chips and make your dressing forward of time and retailer within the fridge so it’s all prepared for lunch, dinner or potlucks with out the last-minute hustle.
  • Texture heaven. The juicy beef with the tortilla chips or Doritos – together with all the opposite veggies = advanced layers of textures which are hearty, satisfying and recent with loads of CRUNCH!
  • Versatile. You’ll be able to add roughly of your favourite veggies, swap the meat for turkey and/or use any of your favourite chips from tortilla chips, Doritos (tons of choices there alone), or tortilla strips – store-bought or home made.
  • Crowd pleaser. EVERYONE loves this Taco Salad recipe! It’s a favourite dish for potlucks, pool events, picnics and HOME!
  • Greatest Taco Salad Dressing. I’ve paired this straightforward taco salad recipe with intoxicating Cilantro Lime Dressing you will go loopy for! It’s easy, silky, mega flavorful and the right enlivening complement to the smoky earthy beef.


There are a gazillion taco salad recipes on the market, however what units this recipe aside is the 1) tantalizing beef seasoned with home made taco seasoning, 2) charred candy corn, and three) the BEST Cilantro Lime Dressing. Right here’s what you’ll want:


  • Romaine lettuce. Taco Salad begins with a crunchy lettuce base. I want Romaine as a result of it’s sturdy, cool and crunchy and holds up for an prolonged time period with out changing into soggy.
  • Different lettuce choices. You might also select iceberg lettuce or half iceberg lettuce and half Romaine lettuce. When utilizing lettuce, discard any flimsy outer leaves for the crunchiest lettuce.

The Meat choices

  • Floor beef. Floor beef is the basic, apparent alternative for taco salad as a result of its juicy texture and beefy taste is so satisfying. This floor beef is sensationally juicy, seasoned to perfection with chili powder, floor cumin, smoked paprika, oregano and salsa and actually takes this taco salad recipe excessive.
  • Floor turkey. I’ve a wonderful floor turkey recipe that makes use of beef bouillon powder or higher than bouillon to imitate that satisfying beefy taste.
  • Hen. Though I want floor meats within the recipe, you may additionally use my 10 Minute Mexican Hen which is so simple as sauteing some shredded rotisserie rooster with some seasonings. You might also use my Crockpot Mexican Hen, Cilantro Lime Hen, Chili Lime Hen or Chipotle Hen. Should you’re contemplating these choices, then chances are you’ll wish to try my Hen Taco Salad recipe first.


  • Corn. You’ll undoubtedly wish to add corn as a result of its sweetness balances out the acidic tomatoes and punchy pink onions. You should use plain corn straight off of the cob or I want to char it within the skillet or on the grill for an amped up layer of smoky, juicy YUM like I do in my Corn Salsa and Avocado Corn Salsa recipes (directions included). If utilizing canned corn, take care to rinse and drain it effectively first. You’ll be able to nonetheless char canned corn in a skillet.
  • Tomatoes. I want cherry or grape tomatoes due to their agency but juicy texture. Cherry tomatoes are inherently sweeter than grape tomatoes, so goal for cherry in the event you can. You might also use two Roma tomatoes, however it would be best to seed them first in order that they don’t make your taco salad soggy.
  • Crimson onion. I just like the recent pop of pink onion however you may additionally use inexperienced onions. Should you’re not a fan of uncooked pink onions, you’ll be able to soak them in chilly water for 10 minutes.
  • Black Beans. You might also substitute pink kidney beans, pinto beans and many others. It doesn’t matter what bean you utilize, rinse and dry them first.
  • Avocados. You’ll be able to add sliced or chopped avocados for a satisfying creamy burst to enhance the crunchy textures. Should you’re anticipating leftovers, chances are you’ll wish to omit the avocados from the salad and use them as a topping in order that they don’t brown upon storage. Ensure you use ripe avocados however not overly ripe or they’ll flip to mush. To inform if an avocado is ripe, squeeze it gently. A ripe avocado ought to yield barely to strain however not really feel overly mushy. In case your avocados ripen earlier than you’re prepared to make use of them, they are often saved within the fridge which is able to dramatically decelerate the ripening course of.
  • Cheese. I really like the addition of pepper Jack Cheese to this Taco Salad. It provides tacky, creaminess with a touch of warmth. You might also use Mexican cheese mix or sharp cheddar.


  • Chips! No Taco Salad is full with out chips AKA the CRUNCH. The probabilities are countless with regards to which type of chip you select: tortilla chips, tortilla strips, Doritos, spicy Doritos, Nacho Doritos, Fritos, and many others. – simply don’t skip the CRUNCH – aka what makes taco salad, taco salad.
  • Shout out for Doritos. My chips of alternative for taco salad are Doritos. Doritos are addictive plain – so simply think about how magical they’re in salad! The crushed Doritos boast in intense taste and crunch which balances the tangy, zesty, creamy dressing and juicy, scorching taco meat.
  • Sunflower seeds. You may assume you’ve got sufficient crunch within the Taco Salad with the chips, however the sunflower seeds add a distinct textural element that you’ll LOVE! I exploit pepitas in my Southwest Salad and I can by no means return to salad with out seeds! Should you don’t wish to buy a complete package deal of sunflower seeds, you should buy a smaller amount on the bulk bins at Sprouts – simply ensure they’re roasted and salted for optimum taste.

taco salad recipe variations

Taco salad will be personalized to suite your tastes by including all of your favourite toppings. Listed here are some tasty additions to think about:

  • Olives: provide a tasty tanginess if olives are your factor.
  • Bell peppers: provide a satisfying candy crunch.
  • Pickled Jalapenos: are fabulous in the event you love SPICY, in any other case, you may wish to serve them as an non-compulsory topping.
  • Pickled pink onions: I’ve a complete publish devoted to pickled pink onions as a result of I really like them a lot! Even in the event you don’t assume you’re keen on pickled pink onions, I extremely recommend you strive them; they’re brilliant, tangy with a slight sweetness and refined crunch. You should buy jarred pickled pink onions on the grocery retailer positioned by the capers, pepperoncini, and many others. or they solely take quarter-hour to prep after which half-hour to relaxation with my fast recipe.
  • Mangos: I really like how their juicy sweetness affords a brilliant recent distinction towards the earthy flavors. In case you are intimidated by mangos, don’t be, simply try my Easy methods to Lower A Mango Publish that teaches all the pieces you can ever wish to find out about mangos.
  • Pico de gallo: you’ll be able to skip the tomatoes and add both home made or store-bought pico de gallo as an alternative.
  • Bacon. As a result of bacon makes all the pieces higher. I like to recommend thick-cut bacon so its splendidly meaty texture doesn’t get misplaced within the salad. It would be best to add the bacon to the Taco Salad recipe on the finish with the chips so it stays good and crispy.
  • Sizzling sauce: let people management the warmth of the Taco Salad by passing across the scorching sauce.


This crowning, intoxicating Cilantro Lime Dressing elevates the salad into epically scrumptious. It would be best to drink the dressing. No joke. I’ve already used it on my Shrimp Burrito Bowls and have been desperate to make a salad with it.

This Taco Salad Dressing is brilliant, creamy, tangy, zippy, sassy, zesty, and the right complement to the wealthy, sturdy beef. It marries all of the flavors and textures collectively and requires lower than 5 minutes to make in your blender and it may be made days forward of time.

  • showing how to make creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing by adding tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, ranch seasoning, lime juice to a blender

The sleek, creamy base is spiked with tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime and smoked paprika to create a luscious dressing full of irresistible tangy, punchy taste that may’t be beat!

make taco salad

Taco Salad is splendidly straightforward to make – it actually does simply take 20 minutes!

  • Make Dressing. The very very first thing you’ll wish to do is make the Taco Salad Dressing so it has time to sit back. Merely add the entire substances to a blender and mix till clean.
  • Brown Beef. Subsequent, begin browning the meat in a skillet. I exploit a nonstick skillet that method I don’t want so as to add any further oil. Crumble the meat into chunks and prepare dinner and stir till cooked by means of.
  • Drain Grease. As soon as cooked, drain the meat of any extra grease.
  • Season Beef. Stir in seasonings and salsa.
  • Chop Veggies. Whereas the meat is cooking, I first like to start out charring my corn then chopping the remainder of my veggies.
  • Assemble. Layer lettuce with beef, cheese, veggies and prime with tortilla chips, sunflower seeds and dressing.


  • Leftover beef. Leftover taco meat is ideal for this taco salad recipe. You’ll be able to even double this recipe with the intention of freezing some to make use of later as a result of the meat freezes fantastically for fast prep forward dinners.
  • Add cayenne pepper to style. Relying on how spicy your salsa is and the way spicy you desire to your beef, chances are you’ll or might not wish to use cayenne pepper. I recommend making the meat with out the cayenne pepper then tasting to see if you need so as to add it. Consider, it’s okay if the meat is on the spicy facet as a result of it should mellow and be excellent as soon as mixed with the entire taco salad substances.
  • Time saving suggestions. Along with utilizing defrosted make forward beef, you should use pre-chopped Romaine lettuce, store-bought pico de gallo as an alternative of tomatoes and onion and pre-shredded cheese.
  • Prep the taco salad dressing first. The Cilantro Lime Dressing may be very finest chilled – nobody needs lukewarm dressing! So, plan on making the dressing earlier within the day and refrigerating it or pop it within the freezer for half-hour earlier than serving in the event you’re operating low on time.
  • Customise taco salad. The entire substances are only a guideline. You should use roughly of every ingredient, add different greens or omit some fully. The ingredient listing is as much as you to make it YOUR favourite Taco Salad!
  • Completely different dressings. Have enjoyable making an attempt totally different dressings reminiscent of Tomatillo Avocado Ranch, Baja Catalina Dressing or Creamy Salsa Avocado Dressing.

HOW DO I SERVE straightforward taco SALAD recipe?

Read more: Charlie’s cafe exceptionale potato salad recipe

There are 4 methods to serve this straightforward Taco Salad recipe:

  • Should you don’t count on or need leftovers: add the entire salad substances to a big bowl apart from tortilla chips and toss with desired quantity of dressing. Add tortilla chips when able to serve.
  • Should you count on leftovers: add the entire salad substances to a big bowl besides the avocados and tortilla strips. Let people gown their very own salad plates with avocados, tortilla chips and dressing. Should you want heat beef, then preserve the meat separate as effectively.
  • Create a taco salad bar: line up the entire substances in separate serving bowls and let company assemble their very own taco salad.
  • Serve in tortilla bowls. Taco Salad is usually served in tortilla bowls at eating places. These make a enjoyable presentation and are deceptively straightforward to make (and wholesome baked!), however I don’t recommend utilizing them as an alternative of chips however along with chips. You will need crunch in each chew and never need to tear your bowl aside as your consuming your salad.

Is taco salad served heat or chilly?

Both! I wish to serve my taco salad with heat beef or at the least room temperature. In order for you heat beef in your leftover taco salad, then ensure to to maintain it separate from the remainder of the salad substances so you’ll be able to reheat it for leftovers.


To make the healthier-than-the-fried-restaurant-tortilla-bowls in your taco salad, merely select your favourite tortillas and ensure they’re at room temperature so they’re good and pliable. Should you’re utilizing refrigerated tortillas, wrap them in a barely dampened dish towel and microwave for 20 seconds. Watch out to not overheat or they’ll go previous mushy to brittle. You should use both 8″ or 10″ tortillas, in addition to both wheat or white tortillas, however don’t strive corn as they’ll collapse.

Subsequent, spray the inside of your oven proof bowls with nonstick cooking spray then push your tortillas into the within of the bowls then place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 levels F for about quarter-hour then take away tortillas from bowls and broil each side till good and crispy.

The eradicating the tortillas and broiling each side is slightly trick different “taco/tortilla bowl” recipes don’t do, and I feel it makes all of the distinction for throughout crispy bowls. Take away your now crispy taco bowls from the oven and let cool then load up with the most effective Taco Salad!


Taco Salad will final roughly 3 days within the fridge. The avocados needs to be faraway from the salad in the event that they’ve been tossed or else they’ll discolor and turn into mushy. The chips needs to be saved in an hermetic container and added to the salad when able to serve leftovers.

What do you serve with taco salad?

Taco Salad is virtually a meal-in-itself with protein, veggies and carbs – the one factor left so as to add is fruit! I like to serve it with juicy watermelon, Pina Colada Fruit Salad, Excellent Fruit Salad or Summer time Fruit Salad. It’s additionally fabulous with a giant slice of candy cornbread (I’m OBSESSED with this recipe) or grilled corn on the cob.

Easy methods to Make Taco Salad Forward of Time

Taco Salad will be assembled, refrigerated, then merely tossed with the chips and dressing proper earlier than serving. Taco Salad is a superb make forward meal as a result of it could actually all be served on the identical temperature, not like Burrito Bowls, by which a number of the parts style far superior warmed.

The key to creating taco salad forward of time is to layer the substances in order that they don’t get soggy. This requires a selected order, with essentially the most moist on the underside. To prep Taco Salad forward of time, layer the substances within the following order:

  • Floor beef
  • Beans and corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese

Read more: How long is chicken salad good in the fridge

It would be best to retailer the salad dressing individually and add the chips and avocados simply earlier than serving.


It would be best to observe the identical methodology above to meal prep taco salad.

  • Layer the substances within the desired variety of containers within the following order:
  • 1) Floor beef, 2) beans and corn, 3) tomatoes, 4) lettuce, 5) cheese
  • Divide dressing into smaller hermetic containers or plastic luggage.
  • Toss the salad with dressing, chips and avocados proper earlier than serving.


Should you don’t wish to assemble the whole taco salad, however wish to prep a few of it forward of time, right here’s how:

  • Chop Greens: You’ll be able to chop your lettuce, tomatoes, pink onions, and grill your corn forward of time. Retailer veggies in separate hermetic containers in sealable bag so the moisture doesn’t wilt the lettuce or layer tomatoes, pink onions, corn then lettuce (in that order) in a bowl. I don’t suggest storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day.
  • Make Dressing: You may make the Taco Salad Dressing and retailer it in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 48 hours prematurely.
  • Make Beef: The meat combination will be made 2-3 days forward of time and refrigerated in an hermetic container. I like to recommend reheating the meat barely earlier than tossing with the salad so it’s at room temperature.

wholesome taco salad

This basic Taco Salad will be personalized with totally different choices to make it Wholesome Taco Salad reminiscent of:

  • Use Greek yogurt as an alternative of bitter cream within the dressing.
  • Use mild cheese and fewer of it.
  • Use lean floor beef which is 29% decrease in saturated fats.
  • Use half a pound of beef (and half the seasonings) and exchange the opposite half with further beans or veggies.
  • Use floor turkey as an alternative of beef (my recipe is beneath).
  • Use home made baked tortilla chips or strips as an alternative of store-bought chips so you’ll be able to management the oil and salt (recipe beneath).

Low Carb Taco Salad

The chips present the taco crunch however thy additionally present the carbs. To make low carb taco salad, you’ll wish to swap the chips for one thing else crunchy like further sunflower seeds.


You’ll be able to simply swap the meat for turkey to make Turkey Taco Salad. Should you do that, I recommend following the beneath recipe I exploit in my Turkey Tacos as an alternative of the recipe used for the meat. To make Turkey Taco Salad you’ll need:

  • 1-pound lean floor turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon floor cumin
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup Selfmade Salsa or your favourite retailer purchased
  • salt to style
  1. Warmth olive oil in a big skillet over medium-high.
  2. Add floor turkey and the entire seasonings and prepare dinner till nearly cooked by means of, however nonetheless barely pink then add salsa and water simmer an extra 5 minutes or till cooked by means of and decreased.
  3. Style and add salt or further cayenne or scorching sauce to style.
  • showing how to make ground turkey tacos by making ground turkey in a skillet with taco seasonings
  • showing how to make turkey tacos by making ground turkey in a skillet with taco seasonings


Baking your individual tortilla chips or strips is tremendous easy and the identical methodology I exploit in my Hen Tortilla Soup. You have to:

  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Gentle spray a big baking sheet/jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
  2. Calmly brush tortillas with olive oil.
  3. Lower tortillas into wedges (I stack them collectively and use my pizza cutter.)
  4. Prepare wedges in a single layer and calmly season with freshly cracked salt.
  5. Bake at 425 levels F for 12-16 minutes or till mild golden brown.

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