November 23, 2017

Taco Salad – Great Meal for Large Groups


Whenever I can’t decide what to order at restaurants, I always choose a taco salad.

I know, out of all the choices, why would I order something that I prepare all the time at home (and enjoy even better)? I finally insisted that my family remind me of this and not let me order taco salads any more, since the majority of the time I am disappointed.

With that being said, I have tasted every rendition of these yummy salads and have recreated them in even more ways.

So, there is no “right” way to make taco salad, and that’s the beauty of it. I tend to go with those items I have stockpiled or already have on hand, which means it’s different every time. I am going to list a few different ways that our family enjoys it, but I am not going to put exact amounts. Will that really bother some of you? Once you make it, you’ll understand why. Taste and preference plays a HUGE part in your creation. Most want a lot of taco meat, where as I want to stretch it. Some may only want a small amount of onions, others omit them.

I have made taco salad for groups of thirty with rave reviews. It’s a meal that everyone enjoys, yet it’s not your typical “gathering” type of food, so it adds some variety to group settings.

Set up a Mexican theme night and have some fun. This is just a few of the variations I have created.

chopping for taco salad

Taco Salad Variations

#1 (Mix every thing together version)

  • Taco meat (prepared by directions of taco seasoning package)
  • Iceberg  shreds so well, so if I am serving a group of 20, I’ll use some, but I prefer romaine for nutritional value
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • finely diced onion
  • diced black olives
  • diced Roma tomatoes
  • jar of salsa or taco sauce (optional or have as a side)
  • bottle of Catalina (French) dressing
  • Crumbled Doritos

Shred the lettuce.  Add the grated cheese, onions, black olives, tomatoes. Toss all ingredients with the Catalina and some salsa if desired. Lastly, mix in the ground beef and crumbled Doritos right before serving.

This does not keep well since the dressing is mixed in, but you shouldn’t have a problem. This always is gobbled up quickly.

#2 (Layer version)

  • Taco meat or spicy chicken strips
  • Cheddar and Jack Cheese mix
  • lettuce
  • black beans
  • green onions
  • tortilla chips
  • guacamole
  • Chunky salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Ranch
  • Tortilla Chips

Serving it like this allows you to offer it buffet style giving your eaters their choice of perfecting the salad.

I start by layering the plate with tortilla chips, then putting on the lettuce, then the meat and their choices of the extras. End the buffet line with the guacamole, sour cream, salsa and ranch, so they have their choice of “sauces”. (Although if you fix it like my boys, all four of those toppings go on the salad, which means they come back for a bit more lettuce at the end to soak up the goodies.)

Oh yes, I just love Taco Salad. It’s 8 in the morning and I think I should go make some. Who said salad can’t be for breakfast? 🙂


  1. Man, Doritos mixed in a salad? My husband would love that! Will have to try sometime.


  2. I love to make taco salad. I put mushrooms and shredded carrots in mine. I use Catalina dressing. Some in my family prefer Newman’s Southwest dressing but it has been discontinued except at McDonalds. 🙁


  3. Is it wrong that it’s only 6:22 AM and I want Taco Salad for breakfast!


  4. You reminded me of one of my favortie meals. Yummy!


  5. It’s been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I make it with ground beef, kidney beans, lettuce, tomatoes, doritos and thousand island dressing. It sounds odd, but it’s SO yummy!!

    My go-to meal at a restaurant is usually a chicken Caesar salad. It’s kind of hard to mess up : )


  6. Looks really delicious and healthy!


  7. I like mine with avocado, cilantro and fresh jalapenos, too.


  8. Sandy Pardine says:

    You need to have a print icon! I printed up the Taco Salad recipe, and got 12 pages! Not user friendly, not very “green”


    Jen Reply:

    Sorry that happened to you. I do have a print friendly feature on recipes, but for some reason on this post it must not have been working. Odd that 12 pages would have printed. Ugh! Sorry it wasn’t a simple copy and paste for you.



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