Easy Taco Salad with Zesty Taco Dressing

Seasoned ground beef, hearty beans, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, & cheddar cheese all tossed in a zesty taco dressing & topped with crushed tortilla chips! This easy taco salad is a family favorite meal & perfect for those busy weeknights!

A close up photo of easy taco salad made with ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and zesty taco dressing

Everyone has their own version of taco salad – this is our family’s! It’s the taco salad I grew up on, the dish my mom swears won my dad over AND the number one requested salad from my husband to date! (Needless to say…it’s been around our family for A WHILE!) It’s loaded with goodies like ground beef, hearty beans, lots of veggies and cheese all tossed in a super simple taco dressing that’s soo flippin’ good! (Someone once told me that it reminded them of the famous “Doritos Taco Salad” minus the Catalina dressing…I personally think mine’s better!😉) Trust me, this easy taco salad is going to become a family favorite in no time!

Ingredients used to make taco salad with a zesty taco dressing

Ingredients For Easy Taco Salad

  • Ground beef: We usually prefer using 90/10 for most recipes using ground beef.
  • Lettuce: Use a sturdy lettuce option like green leaf or romaine for the best results. (We want the lettuce sturdy enough to hold up to the rest of your ingredients.)
  • Tomatoes: Any type of tomatoes work for this salad! (We love using cherry tomatoes or large tomatoes on the vine. They’re so flavorful this time of year!)
  • Kidney beans: We use dark red kidney beans for our taco salad. (I have no idea why, but they always taste so much better than light red kidney beans.) Black beans can be used as a substitute too!
  • Cheddar cheese: I highly suggest using block cheddar cheese and grating it yourself. (We love using sharp cheddar or extra sharp cheddar. It adds so much flavor!)
  • Tortilla chips: An essential ingredient for every taco salad!
  • Blue cheese dressing: Not all blue cheese dressings are the same! We’ve tried soo many different types of blue cheese dressings over the years and the BEST one is Bob’s Bleu Cheese or Bob’s Lite Bleu Cheese.
  • Taco seasoning: We usually use Lawry’s taco seasoning but feel free to use your favorite!
  • Water: Just a splash goes into your dressing to thin it out a bit!
A large clear mixing bowl filled with fresh lettuce, ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes and cheddar cheese sitting next to a small bowl of taco seasoning and cherry tomatoes on the vine
A small white bowl filled with zesty taco dressing made with blue cheese dressing, taco seasoning and water

How To Make Easy Taco Salad

  1. Cook your ground beef. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add your ground beef. Then season the beef with salt and a generous amount of black pepper and sauté it until it’s cooked all the way through (about 5-6 minutes). Transfer the beef to a bowl lined with a paper towel and let it cool completely.
  2. Prep the rest of your ingredients. While the beef is cooling, chop your lettuce and tomatoes, rinse your beans and grate the cheddar cheese.
  3. Make your dressing. Right before serving, whisk your blue cheese dressing, taco seasoning and water together then taste it and adjust accordingly. (Sometimes we’ll add a little more seasoning or water depending.)
  4. Mix & serve! Then add your lettuce, ground beef, beans, tomatoes and cheese to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it’s fully coated and sprinkle your crushed tortilla chips over the top. Serve immediately!

Ok I’m going to be honest…I know this dressing will seem a little funky to some people. (Trust me, I get it.) But don’t knock it until you try it! It’s the perfect combination of creamy, tangy and zesty AND you can’t even taste the blue cheese! If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, then you know I love my salads/salad dressings and I would not steer you wrong on this one!

A large clear mixing bowl filled with taco salad freshly tossed in dressing

Storage Suggestions

Taco salad leftovers don’t tend to keep well. BUT if you think you’re going to want leftovers, then I would suggest storing your ingredients in separate containers so you can toss it all together later. Or you can also combine the salad ingredients (minus the chips) in the same container and leave the dressing separate. Don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to eat!

A large white serving bowl filled with easy taco salad salad surrounded by a plate of tortilla chips and a small bowl of taco seasoning

FAQ’s

  • I don’t like ground beef. Can I replace it with something else? Yes! This taco salad is delicious with ground turkey or ground chicken too. If using one of these instead, I would suggest adding a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to them while they’re cooking. (These meats tend to be more bland than ground beef so they need a little umph in the flavor department. We usually add La Victoria Salsa Brava Hot Sauce to our ground turkey.)
  • I can’t find Bob’s Bleu Cheese Dressing! Is there a different brand you’d suggest? Any refrigerated chunky blue cheese dressing should work the same. (We’ve used Lifehouse Blue Cheese Dressing and it was pretty similar.) I wouldn’t suggest using a room temperature dressing though (like Kraft or Wish Bone). They’re a little too thin and don’t quite taste the same.

Why you’ll love this taco salad recipe!

  • So simple & easy! Tasty salads don’t have to be complicated! We’re using a few every day ingredients & turning them into a hearty entrée salad that’s packed with flavor!
  • Inexpensive! Chances are you already have most of these ingredients at home!
  • Customize it! Not a fan of kidney beans? Replace them with black beans! Love onions in your salad? Add a handful! It’s so easy to add more or less of the ingredients you love!

More salad recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Easy Taco Salad with Zesty Taco Dressing

Seasoned ground beef, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, beans & cheddar cheese all tossed in a zesty taco dressing & topped with crushed tortilla chips! This easy taco salad is a family favorite meal & perfect for those busy weeknights!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, salad recipes, taco salad, zesty taco dressing
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the zesty taco dressing:

  • 1 cup blue cheese dressing (thick & creamy types work the best)*
  • ¼ cup taco seasoning (use your favorite)**
  • 2 Tbsp water

For the taco salad:

  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped (romaine or green leaf)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 15oz. can dark red kidney beans (or black beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or sliced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Tortilla chips, crushed
  • Salt, to taste (for seasoning the beef)
  • Black pepper, to taste (for seasoning the beef)

Instructions

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add your ground beef. Then season the beef with salt and a generous amount of black pepper and sauté it until it's cooked all the way through (about 5-6 minutes). Transfer the beef to a bowl lined with a paper towel and let it cool completely.
  • While the beef is cooling, whisk your dressing ingredients together then taste it and adjust accordingly. (Sometimes we'll add a little more seasoning or water depending.)
  • Then add your lettuce, ground beef, beans, tomatoes and cheese to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it's fully coated and sprinkle your crushed tortilla chips over the top. Serve immediately!

Notes

The amounts listed for ingredients are suggested amounts. If you prefer more or less of an ingredient, please feel free to alter the recipe to your liking.
This recipe makes A LOT of dressing. If you’re making this salad for less people then I’d suggest making half the dressing.
*Our favorite brand of blue cheese dressing is Bob’s Bleu Cheese or Bob’s Lite Bleu Cheese.
**Our favorite taco seasoning is Lawry’s.

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