Taco Salad

This healthy Taco Salad recipe has seasoned ground beef, lettuce, beans, corn, and all of your favorite toppings served in a crispy tortilla bowl. This meal takes less than 30 minutes, is easy to prep in advance, and is fully customizable.

Taco salad served in a baked tortilla bowl, on a plate.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Quick & Easy – This taco salad bowl is ready in UNDER 30 minutes, and can be fully prepped in advance!
  • Customizable – Easy to customize toppings based on what you have in the fridge or to everyone’s unique preferences.
  • Healthy – This meal is high in protein, veggies, and flavor.

Taco Salad Ingredients:

  • Taco meat: Lean ground beef, or ground turkey seasoned with store-bought or homemade taco seasoning. We also like to add black beans and corn to the taco meat.
  • Lettuce: Romaine, iceberg or other green leafy lettuce.
  • Toppings: Use what you have and what you like including: tomatoes, olives, avocado, cheese, onion, and cilantro.
  • Dressing: Add a big scoop of salsa, sour cream and guacamole on top of your taco salad and that’s all the dressing you’ll need! You could also use ranch, or Italian dressing.
  • Flour tortillas or tortilla chips: I like to make my own baked taco salad shells with flour tortillas (see instructions below), but store bought bowls or tortilla chips also work. If you make taco salad often, these baking molds are fun to make perfect shaped shells from any size tortilla.

How to Make Taco Salad:

Prep Toppings: chop lettuce and tomatoes, shred cheese.

Cook Taco Meat: Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Remove grease and add taco seasoning. Stir in the black beans and corn.

Assemble: Place each tortilla bowl on a plate or in a shallow bowl; add a handful of romaine lettuce; add meat mixture; add veggies; sprinkle with cheese; add a dollop each of sour cream, salsa, guacamole and a sprinkle of cilantro.

A skillet of ground beef taco salad mixture next to a plate with toppings for taco salad.

Serve taco salad with horchata, or an ice cold lemonade! For dessert, try my sopaipillas or fresas con Crema (strawberries and cream)!

Homemade Baked Tortilla Bowls:

  1. Brush a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil on both sides of 8” flour tortillas. Place a 4’’ ramekin or similar size oven-safe bowl, face down, on a cookie sheet. Lay a tortilla over it. Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil on top of the tortilla and press down, scrunching the foil and tortilla around the ramekin until it’s shaped like a tortilla bowl (think basket-style coffee filter). Now flip the whole thing over so it’s open end up. Repeat for however many tortilla bowls you’re going to need (and an extra or two in case one breaks!).
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 5 minutes. Take cookie sheet out of oven, use tongs to carefully remove each ramekin and then return the tray to the oven to cook for 5 more minutes. 
  3. Remove from oven, carefully lift each shell out of the foil and place bottom up, foil down on the cookie sheet. Gently secure the rim of the tortilla inside the foil so it doesn’t burn. Return to oven to cook for 7-10 more minutes or until crisp and golden.
Four process photos for how to bake a tortilla bowl shell from a flour tortilla.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The taco meat and tortilla shells can be prepped a day or two in advance, stored separately. Reheat the meat mixture in the microwave or in a skillet.

To Freeze: Allow meat mixture to cool completely and store in freezer safe bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Recipe Variations:

  • Vegetarian: Replace meat with cooked, crumbled tofu or add additional beans or veggies.
  • Vegan: Substitute vegan cheese and crumbled tofu.
  • Keto/low-carb: Skip the shell and try out this keto / gluten-free Tortilla bowls recipe.
  • Make Walking Tacos: Scoop the taco meat into a bag of fritos chips, and add your favorite toppings.
  • Taco Salad Bar: If you are serving to a crowd or if everyone has different preferences, set up a build your own taco salad bar!

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Recipe

Topping options:

  • Add ground beef to a skillet over medium heat. Cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon into small pieces, until cooked through. Remove grease. Add taco seasoning and water and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in black beans and corn.

  • Assemble: Add baked tortilla shell (recipe follows) or tortilla chips to the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with a handful of lettuce, then taco meat and desired toppings. Add salsa, sour cream and guacamole (or avocado) on top.

Baked Tortilla Bowl:

  • Brush a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil on both sides of 8” flour tortillas. Place a 4’’ ramekin or similar size oven-safe bowl, face down, on a cookie sheet. Lay a tortilla over it. Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil on top of the tortilla and press down, scrunching the foil and tortilla around the ramekin until it’s shaped like a tortilla bowl (think basket-style coffee filter). 

  • Now flip the whole thing over so it’s open end up. Repeat for however many tortilla bowls you’re going to need (and an extra or two in case one breaks!).

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 5 minutes. Take cookie sheet out of oven, use tongs to carefully remove each ramekin and then return the tray to the oven to cook for 5 more minutes. 

  • Remove from oven, carefully lift each shell out of the foil and place bottom up, foil down on the cookie sheet. Gently secure the rim of the tortilla inside the foil so it doesn’t burn. Return to oven to cook for 7-10 more minutes or until crisp and golden.

Make Ahead Instructions: Everything can be prepped a day or two in advance. Reheat the meat mixture in the microwave or in a skillet, and serve hot. Freezing Instructions: Allow meat mixture to cool completely and store in freezer safe bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. Vegetarian: Sub crumbled tofu or add additional beans or veggies. Vegan: Substitute vegan cheese and crumbled tofu. Keto/low-carb: Skip the shell and try out this keto / gluten-free Tortilla bowls recipe.

Calories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 24gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 573mgPotassium: 755mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 9715IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 4mg

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This post was originally published on June 2020. Updated January 2022.