Ground beef taco salad is the quintessential example of Tex-Mex cuisine, and there are probably as many recipes for this tasty main dish as there are people who make it.
Our version uses sliced avocado in the salad itself, and mashed avocado in the dressing. Its buttery flavor and creamy texture add a delicious contrast to the spices in the meat and the cool, crisp texture of the greens. The finishing touch is to serve this salad with a few tortilla chips to add just the right amount of crunch to pull everything together.
The ingredient list on this recipe may look a bit lengthy, but don’t let that deter you, it’s actually very quick and easy to prepare. Aside from the spices and salad components, here’s a list of ingredients we recommend.
- Ground beef, turkey, or chicken: Any type of ground meat will work for this dish. Ground beef is traditional, but we like ground chicken for its lighter, tender texture too.
- Low-sodium canned black beans: We always rinse and drain canned beans really well. This helps to remove a little more of the sodium and gets rid of the starchy liquid that you definitely don’t need for this salad.
- Plain yogurt: Yogurt in the dressing adds plenty of tangy flavor, and if you use the low-fat variety, the dressing will be lighter than it would be using sour cream or mayo.
- Fresh limes: Lime juice is an important flavor in this Tex-Mex dish, so you definitely want to use fresh-squeezed. You can even grate a little lime zest into the dressing for extra zing.
- Fresh cilantro: Cilantro is another key flavor in this salad but if you don’t care for it, add some fresh parsley to the dressing instead.
How to Make Ground Beef Taco Salad
This is an overview of how this dish is made. You’ll find detailed measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version of the recipe below.
- Make the avocado dressing: Place the avocado, olive oil, yogurt, lime juice, milk, and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the cilantro. Cover and set aside.
- Cook the meat: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain excess fat from the pan, reduce the heat, and add chopped onion and minced garlic. Continue cooking until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes more. Stir in the tomato sauce and black beans and season with ground cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Cook for a minute or two for the flavors to blend and adjust the seasoning as needed. Reduce the heat and continue cooking for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- Assemble the salad: Divide the lettuce between 4 plates, top each with sliced onion and avocado, then arrange the cucumber and tomatoes around the edges of the plates. Spoon a portion of the meat mixture into the center of each salad and top with grated cheddar. Arrange tortilla chips around the edges of each plate and drizzle with a small amount of dressing. Serve with lime wedges and extra dressing on the side.
More Delicious Main Dish Salads:
- Mexican Chicken Caesar Salad
- Warm Steak and Potato Salad
- Shrimp Cocktail Salad
- Greek Spinach and Quinoa Salad
Ground Beef Taco Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 3/4 lb ground beef, or turkey, chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 can low-sodium, 15-ounce black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne, optional
For the dressing:
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, mashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 medium lime
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 small clove garlic, very finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
For the salad:
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
- 2 thin slices sweet onion, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or more to taste
- Tortilla chips, see notes
- 4 lime wedges
- Start by making the dressing. Place the avocado, olive oil, yogurt, lime juice, milk and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro. Cover and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- Drain any excess fat from the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes more.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and black beans, then add the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Allow to cook for a minute or two, season to taste with salt and pepper, add a pinch of cayenne and adjust the chili powder if desired.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- To assemble the salad, divide the lettuce between 4 plates, top each with sliced onion and arrange the cucumber and tomatoes around the edges of the plates.
- Scoop the avocado halves from the skin, cut them into slices and add a portion to each plate.
- Spoon about 3/4 cup of the meat mixture into the center of each salad and top with grated cheddar.
- Arrange some tortilla chips around the edges of each plate and drizzle with a small amount of dressing. Serve with lime wedges and extra dressing on the side.
How to Make Your Own Tortilla Chips
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut four 6-inch corn tortillas into 6 wedges each.
- Brush both sides of each wedge with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle the tops with a bit of sea salt.
- Bake until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.