Taco Salad

4 Reviews / 4.8 Average
This taco salad platter recipe will be a hit with little ones! It's so fun to build your own taco with the ingredients on the plate, especially since everyone can add what they like. So switch up Taco Tuesday next time with this salad variation.
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Recipe - Taco Salad from 100 Days of Real Food

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After recently watching my 4 and 6-year-old daughters gobble down some “Cobb Salad” I decided to apply that very same idea to this “Taco Salad.” Who doesn’t like to see all the choices laid out beautifully so you can pick and choose what you want (like a taco salad platter)? And what mommy doesn’t like to see a few pieces of lettuce accidentally slip into the mix on her kids’ plates? :) Now I’d be lying if I told you that my younger (and pickier) daughter didn’t put up a little fuss about eating some of the green stuff in this dish. But I helped her roll some of the meat, cheese, and sour cream that she looooves inside a few bigger pieces of lettuce, and it helped things tremendously. She knew she had to take a big bite right into the lettuce if she wanted the goodies on the inside. I, on the other hand, just thought this was such a refreshing and fun twist to the traditional taco dinner. So this meal was a big hit in my book.




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  1. I would prefer to drain the fat from the beef after it cooks and before I add the spices. Would you recommend adding water at this point as well?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. You would likely need to add a little water or if you are using a canned bean, you could use some liquid from the can.

  2. I am trying to make the chicken taco salad from the latest costco post but it keeps coming to this one. The ingredients are not the same so i am wondering if it is supposed to be a different recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Super easy and yummy. My husband requested a salad dressing next time, but I thought it tasted great and it is a lot healthier without the dressing. I upped the amount of beef and will use the leftovers for tacos in a few night. It would also make great nachos.

  4. I’m wondering if you can give me some tips for stuffing a pinata with some healthy options as well as any ideas you might have for serving lunch. I was going to do a make your own taco bar and have veggies and fruit as snacks. It’s for a 6 year girl’s birthday.

    Thank you.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Nicole. I think the taco bar is a great idea. Kids love building their own taco creations. Lisa has a recipe for taco seasoning so you don’t have to turn to the packaged kind: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/11/23/misleading-products/ and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/08/15/recipe-taco-salad/. As for pinata treats, you can mix fun non-food items such as pencils, erasers, stickers, bouncy balls etc. with a few Unreal (brand) candies or individually wrapped homemade treats. There is not much in the candy world that is not full of artificial colors and flavors. Have a great party! :) ~Amy

  5. 5 stars
    This is a super yummy and easy recipe. I have just tossed my old homemade recipe and will use this on now! Thank you for always giving great tips and wonderful recipes. Thanks again!

  6. Tried this recipe last night and it was so good! We used the leftover meat and cheese to make cheeseburger quesadillas on whole wheat tortillas today for lunch.

  7. For those who were wondering how to do convert the meat to vegetarian hamburger-style crumbles, I have been using Amy’s veggie hamburger patties, microwaving them a little and cutting them up. Amy’s uses no GMOs unlike other brands. I use this in my veggie chili as well and it’s wonderful.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Ashley. It’s up to you really. If you don’t use canned, you will obviously need to soak your beans first. Jill

  8. I LOVED the kidney beans added to the meat! Tastes awesome, adds fiber, AND you can cut a lb. of hamburger in half and use the other half for another meal (since it’s getting so expensive lately…).

    Also, instead of sour cream, I mixed about a 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt with a tablespoon of salsa and some Mrs. Dash. Oh man that was good!

    All served next to whole grain Tostito Scoops instead of tortillas. Yummy dinner!

  9. Isn’t ground beef as processed as it gets? I know it says local grass fed ect. But ground beef (aka pink slime) is the food industry’s science at it’s pinnacle.

    Great alternative is grinding your own meat; which is surprisingly simple. Healthier and tastes much better.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Steve. My understanding is that pink slime is mechanically separated and disinfected beef product that is also called lean finely textured beef. It is a processed beef product as opposed to local, grass fed ground beef which is just the beef finely chopped by a meat grinder. I don’t believe then that ground beef is processed like the pink slime you refer to. I hope that helps to clarify it. Jill

  10. Ugh, I don’t usually comment but this one hits near to my heart. We love tacos here but we started mixing our own seasoning when I started reading labels and watching our sodium – those teeny packets will absolutely blow up your daily sodium intake in an absurd way. The recipe we use is:

    1tbs chili powder
    2tbs garlic powder
    2 tsp onion powder
    1tsp paprika
    1tsp cumin
    2tbs tabasco (we like it spicy!)

  11. how would you adapt this for vegetarians? I’m assuming the frozen soy crumbles probably aren’t the healthiest.. and I’m almost afraid to look..

  12. Are the beans rinsed and drained then mixed with beef or do u add the beans with the liquid? Sounds good, thanks for the recipe!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Shay. If you use canned beans, then you will need to rinse and drain them. Dry beans will need to be soaked and then rinsed. Hope that helps. Jill

  13. I use dried beans for all of my recipes. It is not hard, it just takes planning. I will make a bag of beans on Sunday and use them in every recipe for the entire week. They are so good. White beans, kidney beans, pinto beans.. you really need to try them.
    We eat very little dairy.

  14. I’m really confused here. A lot of your ingredients in this recipe are processed. I don’t really care about eating processed foods, but how are canned beans, tortillas, sour cream and cheese not processed? Am I missing something (I just stumbled across this on Pinterest)? This is where I don’t get the scare of eating processed foods – some foods need to be processed before we get them which isn’t a bad thing! Still, good for you for at least trying.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      We actually try to avoid all HIGHLY processed food because even cooking is technically a form of processing – or changing – your food. Just to draw the line somewhere we’ve determined that packaged food with less than 5 ingredients is not highly processed…and all those ingredients have to be “whole” of course.

  15. Lisa,
    I recently started following your blog-I have made a lot of your recipes already and this one was a hit with the whole family (including our 2 year old)! I just wanted to tell you thank you for your real food blog, we are working on buying organic all the time and eating more real food. I have been doing a lot of research on processed foods and I am really appalled that I have been feeding that stuff to my family. Oh,and we are from the Monroe, NC area (military, living in FL now) so it was cool to see you live up there. Thanks again and keep the yummy recipes coming!

  16. this is going to show my complete ignorance, but what sort of beans are your putting in this to cook with the meat? canned or homemade, I know dried would take way too long? thanks for clearing up my confusion! this sounds yummy! :-)

  17. Love you website and recipes! I wish you could format your recipes with a “printer friendly” option. Every time I try to print something, it prints all the comments, etc too.

  18. My husband does not eat red meat so I was going to sub beef for ground chicken. Should I still cook the beans and chicken together or should I cook chicken first and add beans once fully cooked?

  19. Great presentation…Our taco salad is never that pretty, but we love tacos in any form at our house. This will be a stunning presentation to use for a lunch with girlfriends.

  20. This is a fun, attractive and nutricious meal. However, in our home we have replaced sour cream almost entirely with Greek style low or non-fat plain yogurt. I prefer it. But especially when used as a topper or mixed in recipes, one can hardly tell the difference after a while. In additio to tacos and burritos, we use dollops of it on bean soups, tomato soup, and we also make dips and tzatziki with it. My husband has a small dish of it with berries or other fruit as dessert several nights a week. We also make hearty multi-grain and oatmeal panakes and instead of syrup we top them with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and just a very light drizzle of agave.

  21. We actually had this a few nights ago, but I used local, organic, grass fed ground bison. It was the first time eating bison and it was delicious. The best way that I can describe it is that is tastes like beefier beef, lol. It was also incredibly lean.

  22. I will definitely try this. We eat your cobb salad. Last time I made it my 3 year old son said, “This is my favorite meal. I love it!”. Thanks for all the ideas.

  23. We eat a lot of tacos around here. One day after a taco request for dinner, I looked in the frig to see if I could pull it off without going to the store. I had grass-fed beef, organic fresh salsa and organic tortillas. I browned the meat and then poured the salsa over the meat and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. The meat turned out so yummy that no one cared about the other ingredients! It’s funny how the recipes you make up in a pinch can become the family’s favorite.

  24. What an excellent idea! I love how this changes up good old tacos and emphasizes vegetables more than the usual taco recipe does. Thanks for more great inspiration, Lisa!

  25. Tacos are on our menu for tonight. I think I will give this version a try. My husband is so resistant to this whole food diet thing, so made this will help him to realise that whole food can be good! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. To Michelle: I find there’s a lot less resistance when I don’t tell them what I’m doing. It’s all in the presentation. If we tell them we’re taking something away or putting them on a diet, they will feel deprived. Instead of trying to convince them about what I’m doing and getting them on board, I just make it and put it on the table. They usually just gobble everything up because it DOES taste better.

      1. That’s what I am going to do..not tell my husband!! I do all the cooking, so it’s up to me anyway.

    2. When we first started this lifestyle I got a little resistance from my significant other. So I asked him, “Would you take a teaspoon of miracle grow, round up, or other bug killers for breakfast and chase it with two tablespoons of sugar?” LOL I was amazed at how quickly he jumped on the bandwagon at that point!!