Taco salad is one of my all time favorite meals. This Mexican American layered salad is a shout out to the years I spent living in Texas, when I fell in love with Tex Mex cuisine.
This recipe features layers of lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, taco meat, pinto beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, tortilla chips, green onions, and cheese. What a combination - served all in one big trifle bowl.
Table of Contents
Tex Mex Recipe
I know you usually expect traditional Irish recipes in this little corner of the internet. But I couldn't help myself sharing this salad. It's a favorite in my house, and I just love assembling this tasty bowl of salad goodness.
I first tasted taco salad at the hospital canteen where I worked in Dallas. It became my favorite lunch, especially when I was pregnant with triplets. I longed for breakfast burritos and taco salad during those days.
So this recipe is a shout out to the eight years I spent living and working in Texas.
It features several layers of complimentary Mexican flavors, which come together perfectly.
Ingredients for Layered Taco Salad
Here's a list of the ingredients I use for this salad. You'll find the exact quantities in the recipe card below, together with the nutritional information.
This isn't exactly a skinny salad, but every now and then you have to splurge.
- romaine lettuce torn - you can use shredded lettuce, but romaine lettuce is sturdier and does not collapse as easily at the bottom of the bowl, giving a lovely green layer to this trifle salad. A head of iceberg lettuce, washed, and chopped will also work.
- black beans - canned beans are easiest. If using dry black beans they need to be soaked, rinsed, cooked and cooled before using them.
- diced tomatoes - any tomotoes are fine, but I like to use Roma tomatoes since they do not add too much juice to the salad.
- prepared taco meat - cook ground beef in a pan over medium heat, together with taco seasoning mix according to the package directions and cool completely before using in this salad. Ground turkey with packet taco seasoning also works out fine if you're looking for a lighter version. If you like a kick to your taco meat mixture add some extra chili powder, or red pepper flakes. A dash of Tabasco is great for those who like things hot.
- guacamole - use your favorite guacamole, either store bought or homemade. The avocado in the guacamole adds lovely flavors to this dish.
- pinto beans - a can of rinsed and drained beans is the easiest. They're pre-cooked and ready to go. I prefer a can of pinto beans to cold refried beans.
- shredded cheese - I use a Mexican fiesta blend shredded cheese. You can use any cheese you like including cheddar cheese, but the Mexican varieties give a more authentic taste to your salad.
- salsa - a jar of store bought salsa is great. Choose hot or mild depending on your palate, and tolerance for spicy foods.
- corn chips - these are lightly crushed, you don't want a layer of crumbs. Feel free to use any nacho chips you like.
- sour cream - this is one of the top layers, and looks like fresh cream on top of a regular trifle.
- green onions - these are thinly sliced and used as a decorative topping for this salad. Feel free to add any flourish you like on top of this salad. Diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, or black olives are also great additions.
You can add other layers as you like. You may like a layer of chopped fresh cucumber, or bell pepper.
If you have a favorite taco dip you can add a layer to this salad.
I don't add any salt to the taco meat mixture, since I find there's plenty in the packet seasoning.
This recipe is for a layered taco salad. A taditional taco salad is served in a signature flour tortilla shell. This presentation is slightly different, but this salad boasts all the same great flavors.
Directions for Trifle Bowl Taco Salad
Making this salad is super easy. If you've every wondered about hos you layer a taco salad, this tutorial is for you.
It's simply a case of layering the salad ingredients in a large trifle bowl. You can create your own order for these ingredients, mixing and matching the different colors along the way.
Creating Layers in a Trifle Bowl
Here's the order I like to use for this salad.
First layer is chopped lettuce.
Next add the rinsed and drained black beans.
Diced tomatoes come next, topped with the cooled and cooked taco meat.
If you need to pre-assemble this salad, this is the point where you need to stop, and make an adjustment.
Guacamole comes next, and then the pinto beans.
However, if you wish to partially assemble the salad a few hours before serving, don't add the guacamole. Put the pinto beans on top of the meat layer.
Hold the guacamole because it will change color if refrigerated. I also don't like the taste of guacamole, if too much lime juice is added to stop this discoloration.
If you don't add the guac, just cover the salad with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. I only recommend keeping it in the fridge for a few hours.
Making Taco Salad in Advance
This salad is definitely best when eaten fresh.
Another reason for stopping pre-preparation at this point, is that the layer of crushed corn chips can get soggy if added to the salad and stored in the fridge.
When you're ready to serve your salad, add a layer of guacamole, salsa and half the cheese over the pinto beans.
Top these layers with the chips.
Serving Taco Salad
Now you're ready for the finishing touches.
A layer of sour cream is used to smother the corn chips.
The finishing touches I like are a sprinkling of the remaining cheese, plus some green onions.
You can create an outer circle of chopped spring onions, or you can sprinkle them all over the top.
And that's how easy this recipe is.
Recipe Card for Layered Taco Salad
Here's a short video showing you how to assemble this delicious salad.
Here's the recipe card, if you;'d like to add this dish to your kitchen recipe files.
Layered Taco Salad
- 3 cups romaine lettuce torn
- 15 ounces black beans 1 can rinsed anddrained
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 3 cups prepared taco meat
- 1½ cups guacamole
- 15 ounces pinto beans 1 can rinsed anddrained
- 1½ cups cheese fiesta blend - divided
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup Fritos corn chips lightly crushed
- 1½ cups sour cream
- ½ cup green onions thinly sliced
- Shred the lettuce and layer it in the bottom of a tall trifle bowl.
- Add layers of the following ingredients, black beans, diced tomatoes, prepared taco meat, prepared guacamole, and pinto beans. If the salad needs to be refrigerated before serving, then do not add the guacamole, salsa, and sour cream until ready to serve. Cover and refregirate.
- When ready to serve the salad, add a layer of guacamole, salsa, then top it with half of the shredded cheese. Next is a layer of lightly crushed corn chips.
- Top the corn chips with a layer of sour cream. Decorate the top of your salad with the remaining shredded fiesta cheese, and green onions. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
I hope you enjoy this taste of Mexico this summer.
More Salad Recipes from my Kitchen Files
Here are some more salad recipes from my kitchen files.
Happy salad days.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
- Easy Cauliflower Leek Irish Soup Recipe
- Guinness Floats - A Decadent Taste of Ireland
- Buttered Baby Carrots
- Easy And Delicious Cranberry Brie Bites Recipe
- Sewing Spool Christmas Tree Ornament Craft
- Our Irish Heritage - A Kid's Guide to the Irish Diaspora and Irish National Anthem
- Tissue Paper Christmas Tree Cone Craft
- Cardboard Tube Paper Plate Christmas Wreath
- Celebrate the Holidays with a Taste of Ireland
- Himself and Herself China Mugs From Belleek Pottery
- Homemade Vegan Vegetable Stock Cubes
- Easy Bat Donut Holes Recipe For Kids