This easy taco salad is super flavorful with colorful veggies, our go-to beef taco meat, and is topped with an easy cilantro lime dressing. Enjoy, taco lovers!
Calling All Taco Lovers!
Taco lovers, you’ve come to the right place! Whether it’s this easy taco salad or these crockpot chicken taco bowls or these loaded nachos, taco night will never be boring at your house.
Let’s Talk Taco Salad
This easy taco salad is (you guessed it!) truly easy! It comes together with colorful, fresh ingredients and our go-to beef taco meat. Toss it with this delicious cilantro lime dressing, and you’re off and enjoying this no-fuss taco salad.
When it comes to taco salad, you’ll want 4 crucial components:
- Taco meat
- Bed of lettuce
- Fixings & toppings
- Salad dressing
How to Build a Taco Salad
Let’s build the perfect taco salad! The following components come together in under 20 minutes for a deliciously colorful meal.
Taco Salad Meat
First things first, you can’t have a taco salad recipe with the taco meat! So? We’re using our fan-favorite beef taco meat recipe. And 4 ingredients is all you need for this seriously delicious ground beef taco meat:
- ground beef: ground beef is the star of the show. Make sure to buy either 80 or 85% lean beef (so 15-20% fat). Ground sirloin and chuck work best.
- taco seasoning: while we recommend using our homemade taco seasoning (see below), you’re more than welcome to use store-bought.
- tomato paste: tomato paste helps thicken your ground beef tacos and also adds a delicious flavor.
- water: water is needed because it allows you to let your beef taco meat simmer and become more flavorful
And if you’re not a beef person, feel free to swap in ground chicken, turkey or a vegetarian ground 1:1!
diy taco seasoning
Ditch the store-bought taco seasoning for this super flavorful clean ingredient taco seasoning. Made with the following ingredients that you likely have in your spice cupboard already:
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Coarse sea salt
- Red pepper flakes
- Ground black pepper
- Ground oregano
- Smoked paprika
Get the full homemade taco seasoning HERE.
Other Meat Ideas
- Shredded Chicken: use up your leftover chicken breast or thighs by shredding It!
- Carnitas: Our IP carnitas recipe is to die for and would be so delicious in this recipe!
- Lentils: Hoping to keep things vegan? Try our easy lentil taco meat!
- Sweet Potato: roasted sweet potatoes makes for another great vegetarian “meat” idea. It’s easy, too!
Bed of Lettuce
We opted for classic chopped romaine hearts for this taco salad, but feel free to sub in any green of your choice that you have on hand, like:
- Red leaf lettuce
- Bib lettuce
- Butter lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce
Fixings & Toppings
A taco salad isn’t complete without all the fixings! We kept things classic with romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes, black olives, red onion, avocado and sweet corn. Get crazy and make this taco salad your own with any of the fixing ideas below:
More Taco Salad Fixings
- Slaw: slaw is a fun way to jazz up a taco salad! Our pineapple coleslaw would be delicious.
- Corn Salad: try our black bean and corn salad.
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Fajita Veggies: there is nothing better than peppers and onions. Try our grilled version.
- Guacamole: so many guac options! You can stay classic or go mango!
Easy Cilantro Lime Dressing
No need to be intimidated by this homemade dressing! Simply place all the following ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the top, and give it a nice shake shake shake. Pour over your taco salad and ENJOY. You’ll need:
- finely minced fresh cilantro
- apple cider vinegar
- fresh lime juice
- avocado oil
- ground cumin
Want to opt for another salad dressing? Any of these homemade salad dressings would also pair nicely:
- Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Healthy Homemade Ranch
- Bright Lemon Vinaigrette
- Creamy Green Goddess Dressing
How to Store Taco Salad
We suggest storing this taco salad separate from the dressing if you are not serving it right away. Nobody likes a soggy salad!
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Toss with the salad dressing right before serving.
Taco Salad Recipe
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro finely minced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1- lb. ground beef
- 3-4 tablespoons taco seasoning depending on flavor preference
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 cups tortilla chips
- 6-8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- ¼ large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup sweet corn
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 tablespoons sliced black olives
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 large avocado diced
- Chopped cilantro
- Greek yogurt
- Sliced Jalapeño
- Begin by placing all the ingredients for the dressing into a mason jar. Cover the jar and shake until ingredients are combined. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium/high heat. When the olive oil is fragrant, add the ground beef into the pan.
- Break the ground beef up with a spatula until it is broken up into small pieces. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to brown.
- When the beef begins to brown*, add taco seasoning, tomato paste, and water to the pan and mix until all of the ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat to low and let the simmer for 5-7 minutes in order to thicken the sauce.
- Remove meat from heat. Set aside.
- Divide tortilla chips into 4 large salad bowls. Then, divide the romaine lettuce, red onion, corn, cherry tomatoes, black olives, shredded cheese, and cooked taco meat into each bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients, and toss until everything is coated.
- Top with avocado and other optional toppings. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Taco seasoning: this taco salad recipe calls for our homemade taco seasoning, which we keep on hand at all times. If you don’t want to make our homemade beef taco seasoning, option to use a taco seasoning packet purchased from a grocery store.
- *Option to dump the meat grease before adding the taco seasoning. We prefer to keep the grease because it adds great flavor to the taco salad.