This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesday. Try this simple taco salad with ground beef, crisp lettuce and colorful vegetables topped with cheese! Perfect any day of the week.

simple taco salad

*Please note* this post was originally published in 2017. I’ve since updated the text but the recipe remains the same.

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesday. It’s Cinco de Mayo!! Although I’m all the way up in Canada, and I am not even a little bit Mexican, I think this is such a fun holiday and really, a perfect excuse to enjoy delicious Mexican-inspired food (and drink) and have a little fun!

If you read my 10 Thoughts yesterday, you’ll know that I plan on concocting a queso dip tonight, but I think that might end up being a late night party food for us. I think this taco salad is a great dinner plan. It will go so well with that margarita I have in mind….

Let me give you some back-story on this taco salad.

taco salad

What is taco salad?

Basically it’s exactly what it sounds like. A deconstructed taco in a bowl of lettuce! 

A long, long time ago, I can still remember (anyone else singing along to American Pie?) my brother making this family favorite for us while my parents were away. It was delicious. BUT – he made SO much – and covered the whole thing in dressing. This salad is NOT good the next day if it’s been dressed up already. Think soggy lettuce…

Anyway, it turned into a “just one more bowl”, “come on we can’t waste it, just a little more” scenario and we all ate so much we thought we were going to be ill. Needless to say, I didn’t touch taco salad for a few years! Have you ever eaten so much of something you just don’t even want to think about it for a while? I’m sure we all have!


So, I’m happy to say that I’ve forgiven the taco salad (and my brother) and we’ve rekindled our relationship. The original salad uses crushed Doritos chips, which are DELICOUS, but if you’re trying to go a bit healthier and less processed, you can create your own seasoned tortilla strips. I’ll tell you how!

tortilla strips

How do you make a simple taco salad?

I use ground beef in this recipe, seasoned with cumin, cayenne and a mix of salsa and sour cream. Ground turkey or chicken would be equally delicious, or you can even go vegetarian and skip the meat altogether!

The salad itself is a blend of shredded romaine lettuce and an assortment of fresh veggies. Topping everything off is a homemade creamy Italian dressing. This dressing is SO good you guys. I put it on pretty much everything! Oh, and cheese. Do not forget the cheese!

I love to serve this salad in baked tortilla shells. Check out my tortilla pans – how cute are these!? I used jalapeno cheddar tortilla wraps for the bowls.

taco salad shells

There you have it. Taco salad. And you can have it any day of the week, in about 20 minutes. De nada! 

This time, I recommend NOT making WAY too much, and eating the soggy leftovers for days. This is an ‘enjoy it right now’ kind of meal. Speaking of which, I kind of want to go enjoy it right now…

taco salad

Some other easy salad ideas for you:

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Simple Taco Salad

  • Author: Katherine
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Tacos aren’t just for Tuesday. Try this taco salad with ground beef, crisp lettuce and colorful vegetables topped with cheese!



Seasoned Tortilla Strips

  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 2 tsp oil (grapeseed, canola or avocado)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Creamy Italian Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1 lb ground beef (sub ground turkey or chicken)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • cilantro, avocado for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cut the tortillas into 1/2″ strips and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil and toss to completely cover. Combine the seasonings and shake over the tortillas, tossing to thoroughly cover the strips. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and shake, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a salad dressing bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the meat until browned, breaking into smaller pieces as it cooks. Drain, return to pan and sprinkle the meat with the cumin and chili powder, cooking for an additional minute. Combine the salsa with the sour cream, then add to the meat, cooking for another minute or until the meat is covered in the mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large salad bowl, toss the chopped lettuce, diced tomato, bell pepper, carrot, celery and purple cabbage together. Add the cheese, browned meat and seasoned tortilla strips and toss together.
  5. Serve the salad on a plate or in a tortilla bowl, topping with the creamy Italian dressing*, avocado and cilantro.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered.


  1. To avoid soggy lettuce, do not add the dressing to the entire salad, but instead add it to the individual servings.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: mexican

Keywords: easy taco salad / simple taco salad // edible taco bowls

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Pin for later!

taco salad


Shop today’s recipe!

Simple Taco Salad Simple Taco Salad

About Katherine

Heeey! Thank you for stopping by! I like 30-minute dinners and giant peanut butter cups made with only 3 ingredients. I LOVE food! If you do too, you're in the right place.

You Might Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I didn’t realize you were in Canada too! Eaten something so much that I got sick of it? It has to be seaweed salad. I bought a couple of big tubs at Costco and boy oh boy I do not want to see seaweed salad for a looooong time. I guess too much of a good thing is not so good, lol. This taco salad, however, looks delicious! Love those little cups. This would be so good for lunch right now. Lots of flavours and so fresh – nice touch with the homemade dressing 😉 Have a wonderful week, Katherine!

    1. I didn’t know YOU were in Canada, Dawn! Haha Canucks unite 🙂 Uuugh I have seen the seaweed salad at Costco but I’ve never actually bought it. Your story scares me! I think eating too much of anything is just a bad idea!! Thanks for the kind words! Hope you have a great week too my friend! XO

    1. Thank you so much Krysten!! I love taco salad too. It’s such an easy dinner to whip together!! Cheers, friend!

    1. Thank you so much Agness!! I hope you get a chance to try it out – it’s definitely one of our faves!! 🙂