Easy Taco Salad Recipe

taco salad bar is an easy, interactive and fun way to throw a party!  I like to think of a taco salad as an "expanded" taco...with less mess

Colorful Taco SaladDIY Taco Salad


Set-Up The Taco Bar for a Crowd

  • To set-up a taco salad bar, see tossed salad bar for hints.   Serve taco meat, beans and rice from the buffet table using an electric skillet or chafing dish

  • To make ahead, prepare meats, beans and rice up to three days in advance. Cover well and keep refrigerated.

  • Shred or prepare cheeses one day in advance.  Cover well and keep refrigerated.

  • To save time and energy, use shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cheese from your supermarket's salad bar.

  • In 1-2 serving bowls, here is the suggested order to layer the taco salad: chips, lettuce, onions, beans, if using, meat, cheese, tomatoes, olives.

  • Serve salsa and sour cream on the side  OR put taco fixings in individual bowls and allow each guest to prepare their own salad

  • Also provide crispy taco shells and/or flour or corn tortillas

Making a LOT of Taco Salad?

Taco Meat Recipe for 50
Serves 50

13 pounds ground beef
1 pound onion, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 quarts water

Brown beef in large pot, in batches if necessary. Drain off fat.   Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Combine seasonings in a bowl.  Add to beef mixture and blend well.    Stir water into meat mixture and simmer 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

The Fixins

4 pounds Iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 pounds cheddar cheese, shredded
3 pounds tomatoes, diced
1 large red or white onion, finely diced or sliced into thin rounds
3-4 pounds canned kidney, black or chili beans, well drained
1 1/2 pounds chopped or sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 - 1 gallon favorite salsa (about 4-8 16. oz jars)
32 ounce carton of sour cream
2-3 large-size packaged tortilla chips

Make It Different
To keep things interesting and sophisticated, serve a variety of meats, veggies, cheeses and sauces or salsas, such as:

Sliced ribeye or sirloin steak
Pulled pork
Minced ground chicken or turkey
Diced cooked bacon
Diced, sautéed Canadian bacon
Cooked chorizo
Italian or pork sausage
Fried or pan-seared shrimp
Roasted salmon, flaked into chunks

Blue cheese
White American

Mixed baby greens
Baby spinach
Arugula or watercress
Grape tomatoes
Caramelized onion
Roasted zucchini, mushrooms

Guacamole and Salsa for a Crowd
Homemade Salsa
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Corn Guacamole
Chipotle and adobo sauce
Tomatillo salsa
Melted cheese sauce
Crème fraiche
Remoulade sauce - link
Mayo and roasted garlic


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