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Easy Ground Beef Taco Salad

Every time I have to bring a dish to a party, friends ask for my taco salad. Even players on my son's football team ask for it. —Lori Buntrock, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn (about 8 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broken nacho-flavored tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup Catalina salad dressing


  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 4-6 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, toss lettuce with cheese. Top with beef mixture and chips; drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Taco Salad Tips

What sides go well with taco salad?

For a heartier meal, pair this taco salad recipe with a side of Mexican rice or spicy refried beans. You can also try topping your taco salad with black bean & corn salsa or zucchini pico de gallo salsa. Don’t forget to pass the tortilla chips!

Should taco salad be warm or cold?

Although the combination of warm, seasoned ground beef and crisp, cold lettuce can’t be beat, whether you eat this salad warm or cold is certainly a matter of personal preference.

Can taco salad be made in advance?

Yes, you can make taco salad in advance. Simply store the cooked beef, torn lettuce, shredded cheese and salad dressing in the fridge. When ready to assemble, toss the items together with the broken tortilla chips. If you like, gently heat the prepared taco meat in the microwave separately before adding to the salad.

Is taco salad good for you?

Taco salads are often mistakenly considered healthy by virtue of being called a salad. In reality, beef, cheese, dressing and tortilla chips do add extra calories and carbs. However, if you are following a healthier diet and still love to indulge in the occasional taco salad, take heart! You can easily swap out some of the more caloric ingredients with healthier options like avocado, black or pinto beans, tomatoes, low-fat cheese and a low-fat dressing. You can also replace the ground beef with lean ground turkey. Be sure to check out these healthy Mexican recipes, too.
Nutrition Facts
1-2/3 cups: 416 calories, 27g fat (12g saturated fat), 86mg cholesterol, 830mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 25g protein.

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  • snker0521
    Aug 5, 2020

    We really liked this. It was so easy to make. I did change the dressing to one I remembered from another taco salad so that I wouldn't have to buy a salad dressing we don't use. I just added some taco seasoning to some mayonnaise and thinned it with a little milk. All of this is to taste. I make my own taco seasoning to cut down on the salt and it works great in both the meat and the dressing.

  • Margaret
    Jul 21, 2020

    I add taco sauce to French dressing and sometimes chopped purple onion. That is the only difference from this recipe to mine.

  • Sheila
    Sep 6, 2019

    No comment left

  • bjpalmer
    Jan 4, 2019

    I have made this as written several times for my family and they love it! Today my two year old tried it and ate the whole serving in his bowl. What a great dinner- easy and quick!

  • Tracylee76
    Jan 25, 2018

    When I make my Taco Salad, I add tomatoes, olives, green chiles, and other taco "toppings". But I wanted to make it as written and it's amazing! Funny how sometimes recipes with just a few simple ingredients can be the best!! Didn't miss any of those extras! Perfect as is!!

  • swinny
    Feb 8, 2017

    Good. I used ground turkey instead and it was fine!!

  • mother of 3
    May 7, 2015

    Hubby didn't eat it enthusiastically & I couldn't find a healthful version of Doritos, so did without.

  • Orbs
    May 1, 2015

    I made this for dinner and substituted Morning Star Crumbles for the ground beef.I added small white beans and mandarin oranges. Thanks, Lori for the quick and easy recipe.

  • toolbarsco
    Apr 20, 2015

    Wow--this recipe is so easy and versatile. We added sliced olives, chopped green onion, fresh diced green peppers and fresh diced tomatoes. You can add whatever you have available. I liked the suggestion of adding black beans. When I was growing up we often used Catalina dressing, and I forgot how much I loved it! Thanks, Lori, for good memories and easy prep.

  • srkrueger5874
    Apr 18, 2015

    This was quick to make and very good.