Taco Salad

12 Nov

taco salad

Have I mentioned that it’s spring here in Buenos Aires? I’ve always preferred warmer weather, but it’s been a little weird seeing November on the calendar while going through a heatwave – temperatures were up to the mid-90s recently! (That’s Fahrenheit, of course; I still haven’t made the adjustment over to Celsius.) Given the weather, I’ve been eating a lot of salads, but in true Argentine fashion, I just can’t help topping them with meat (like my Thai steak salad) – it’s cheap and good quality here and adds extra protein to the meal. I think this recipe for taco salad could be easily adapted to be vegetarian, however, by omitting the ground beef and adding more beans (a mixture of black and pinto beans would be my suggestion). With or without the beef, this is a salad worth making. With a base of lettuce and cabbage (dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette), it’s definitely a healthier alternative to the nachos and tacos it resembles, but it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out, especially when you pile on the toppings.

Taco Salad (adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings


  • 1 lb ground beef*
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cabbage, finely chopped
  • tomatoes, diced
  • avocados, diced
  • black olives, sliced
  • fresh jalapenos, sliced
  • green onions, sliced
  • fresh cilantro
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • sour cream

*Lean is better here, ideally 90/10 or 95/5.


  1. In a large pan over high heat, cook 1 lb ground beef until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess fat, if needed.
  2. Add 2 cups cooked black beans, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 2 cups water, and juice of 1/2 lime, stir together, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and let simmer until the water has mostly cooked off, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste until emulsified. Taste, and adjust components, if needed, then set aside. Alternatively, use your favorite salad dressing.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces and 1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped with about half of the dressing. Toss together, and add more dressing as needed – you want these to be a bit overdressed since you will be adding more ingredients to the salad.
  5. Distribute the lettuce mixture into individual servings, and top with the warm beef and beans, then top as desired with tomatoes, diced, avocados, diced, black olives, sliced, fresh jalapenos, sliced, green onions, sliced, fresh cilantro, cheddar cheese, grated, sour cream, and extra lime juice.

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