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Beef Taco Salad in Tortilla Bowls

This beef taco salad is a delicious and healthy meal that you can enjoy any time of day. The homemade tortilla bowls are the perfect vessel for this flavorful salad, and the combination of seasoned ground beef, black beans, and fresh vegetables makes for a satisfying meal.

If you’re looking for an easy and fun weeknight dinner idea, this beef taco salad is definitely worth trying!

A beef taco salad in a tortilla bowl.

Change up the toppings and condiments to suit your own taste. Some ideas include juicy tomatoes, creamy avocadoes, sour cream, guacamole, and Monterey Jack cheese. 

You don’t have to stick to ordinary salsa either. Try a zucchini salsa or corn salsa. You can even add a fruity condiment like pomegranate salsa or mango salsa. 

You can either make your own taco seasoning or keep it simple with a store-bought seasoning

If you don’t want to take the time to make your own tortilla bowls, then just toss the salad in a regular bowl and add some crunchy tortilla chips to the top. No matter how you customize it, these beef taco salads are sure to be a meal that you’ll love!

Here is Why This Recipe Works

  • Serve the salad in an edible bowl that adds texture and crunch to the dish.
  • The tortilla bowls get extra crispy when you bake them twice
  • This is a hearty and filling meal loaded with ground beef and plenty of toppings.

A taco salad with in a tortilla bowl and condiments in the background.

The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

For the Beef Taco Salad

  • Ground beef. We like to use lean ground beef for this recipe. 
  • Taco seasoning. Use homemade seasoning or purchase your favorite brand
  • Tomato paste. The tomato paste adds a deep, concentrated flavor of tomatoes. 
  • Lettuce. We used a combination of Romaine and iceberg lettuce. 
  • Black beans. Use canned beans or make your own Instant Pot black beans
  • Green onions. You could substitute with white onions. 
  • Cheddar cheese. Grated. 

For the Chipotle Vinaigrette 

  • Vinegar or lime juice
  • Chipotle powder
  • Olive oil

Suggested Toppings

  • Avocado, sliced
  • Black olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

If you plan to make the crunchy tortilla bowls, you will need some soft flour tortillas (homemade tortillas or sweet potato flatbread will also work). 

To get the tortillas in a bowl shape, you will need some oven-proof bowls or purchase tortilla bowl molds (affiliate link). You can also use the bowls as tostada bowls or a bowl for chip dip like our chile relleno dip.

A stack of homemade tortilla bowls.

How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with this recipe for beef taco salad. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Make the crisp tortilla bowls. We detailed the process in the printable recipe card below. 
  2. Make the vinaigrette dressing.
  3. Cook the ground beef. Add the seasoning mix and tomato paste, stir in the water and cook until the sauce thickens. 
  4. Divide the lettuce among the tortilla bowls.
  5. Spoon the taco meat over the lettuce, then add your desired toppings. 
  6. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Tips for Success

  • Before adding extra salt, taste the meat mixture for seasoning, especially if you’re using a store-bought taco season. Some seasoning blends already have plenty of salt.
  • Have fun with the condiments and toppings. You can use guacamole or pepper Jack cheese in place of avocados or Cheddar cheese.
  • Get creative with the vinaigrette or dressing. Instead of the chipotle vinaigrette, you can use a creamy Ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing
  • If you have ground beef with high-fat content, you should drain the fat after cooking the meat. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a taco salad healthier than a taco?

It depends on the ingredients and toppings that you use. If you want a healthier option, purchase lean ground beef and use less cheese and dressing on the salad. You can also use salsa instead of the oil-based vinaigrette. 

What goes well with taco salad?

Some great options to serve with this beef taco salad are chipotle black bean soup, chicken tortilla souppork chili beans, or our pork tamale pie. You can also make some Instant Pot pinto beans or Mayocoba beans to serve on the side.

Two taco salad bowls made with ground beef.

Helpful Tools

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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

This Chicken Tortilla Casserole is a family favorite. This one-dish meal is extra flavorful and made from scratch with a creamy sauce and corn tortillas. Just add a side salad and you are set.

All of the flavors you love about a beef taco in a hearty bowl of soup, this Instant Pot taco soup is a must-try. This is comfort food at its best and makes a great weeknight dinner. Serve it with some chips and a crispy wedge salad.

For more taco night ideas, try out taco baked potatoes, blackened shrimp tacos, or Tex Mex fish tacos. Serve the tacos with a side of chipotle coleslaw, Mexican street corn, or a corn casserole.

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A beef taco salad in a tortilla bowl.

Beef Taco Salad in Tortilla Bowls

Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

The versatile beef taco salad is served in homemade tortilla bowls. It is full of flavorful seasoned beef, lettuce, black beans, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and avocado with a spicy chipotle vinaigrette.

Ingredients

For the Tortilla Bowls:

  • 6 oven-proof bowls or molds
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 extra-large burrito size flour tortillas

For the Chipotle Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the Taco Meat:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade )
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

For the Salad

  • 6-8 romaine lettuce leaves, torn or chopped
  • 1/2 head of Iceberg lettuce, torn or chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 green onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 jar store-bought salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F

For the Tortilla Bowls:

  1. You can use a tortilla bowl mold or any oven-proof bowl to make the crispy shells.
  2. Spray the inside of the bowls or molds with non-stick spray and set them on a baking tray. Brush some olive oil on the tortillas and press them into the bowls or molds.
  3. Bake the tortillas for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges start to get golden brown.
  4. For extra-crispy shells, remove them from the molds, turn them upside down and return them to the oven. Bake the tortilla bowls upside down for 5 to 8 minutes until the bottoms get golden brown.

For the Chipotle Vinaigrette Dressing:

  1. In a small dish, add the vinegar, chipotle powder, and salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add it slowly to help the mixture emulsify. Set aside for later.

For the Beef Taco Meat:

  1. In a medium-size skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, breaking it up with a fork, and cook, stirring often, until no longer pink and the liquid evaporates. Drain off any accumulated grease, if any.
  2. Add the taco seasoning mix, and tomato paste. Stir until the meat is coated with the seasoning. Pour in the water and cook until the liquid reduces and thickens.
  3. Taste the meat mixture and add salt if needed.

To Assemble the Salads:

  1. Mix both types of lettuce together and divide it among the tortilla bowls.
  2. Spoon some of the taco meat on top of the salads then divide the rest of the condiments among each bowl.
  3. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette dressing over the top of each salad and serve with the salsa and sour cream.

Notes

  • If you brush the tortilla shells with a bit of oil before you bake them, they will brown a little better and get slightly crispier.
  • For the crispiest tortilla bowls, bake them in the molds or bowls first, then turn them upside down and bake them without the molds. The second baking step will give them an extra crispy texture all over.
  • If you use taco seasoning that has salt added to the seasoning, taste the meat mixture before adding additional salt.
  • Have fun with the condiments and toppings. You can use guacamole instead of avocados or pepper Jack cheese instead of Cheddar cheese. Other options: diced white onions, pico de Gallo, cojita cheese, or creamy Ranch dressing.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 510Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 550mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 14gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This recipe was first published on April 22, 2015. We updated the post with new photos. We left one of the old photos below.

Taco salads in tortilla shell bowls.

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Lynda speakman

Monday 7th of December 2015

I love cooking taco salad for me and my girlfriend

Pat

Monday 7th of December 2015

Thank you for visiting our site...I hope you like this recipe :)

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

Friday 24th of April 2015

We love taco night but I don't have nifty bowls like this!!

Pat

Friday 24th of April 2015

Thanks, Maureen...these bowls are easy to make.

John@Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015

I love taco salad! Such a terrific combo of flavors. I've used those kits for making tortilla bowls you can buy in supermarkets, but like your method better. Good stuff -- thanks.

Pat

Thursday 23rd of April 2015

Thanks for your comments, John....these 'bowls' are really easy to make. They are crispy, crunchy and no need to add chips.

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