With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, this quick riff on taco salad might just be the ticket for dinner. Having a small party? Then just double the recipe and you can feed up to eight. Let guests prepare their own, layering on just the right ingredients to suit their own preferences. This way it appeals to vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Don’t eat red meat? Substitute ground turkey. Follow a vegetarian lifestyle? Swap out the meat for refried beans. Not into hot and spicy? Omit the jalapeños, and use a mild taco seasoning and salsa. Can’t tolerate raw onion? Cook it with the ground meat to eliminate some of the pungency.
Another fun twist is using beer instead of water when you add the seasoning to the ground meat. As you can see, this salad is very adaptable. I like to start with a layer of lettuce, followed by the meat mixture and cheese, then the peppers, tomatoes, onion, and olives. To finish, add a bit more meat and cheese, and a final topping of jalapeños and sour cream, if using,
To up the party ambiance, plate it all on some fun and festive picnic ware!
Adaptable Taco Salad Bowl
- 4 tostada bowls
- 1 1⁄4 lbs. ground beef or turkey (or refried beans if going vegetarian)
- 3 Tbsp. homemade or packaged taco seasoning
- 3⁄4 cup water, or beer
- 1⁄2 cup salsa (your favorite brand)
- 1 head iceberg or Bibb lettuce, torn into 2-3″ pieces
- 8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1⁄2 each large red and yellow bell pepper, cut into 1⁄4 dice
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1⁄2 red onion, cut into 1⁄4 dice
- 1⁄2 cup black and/or green pitted olives, sliced thin
- 1⁄2 cup pickled jalapeños, 1⁄4 slices, then chopped
- Sour cream for garnish, optional
- Prep all ingredients.
- In a large nonstick skillet, brown the ground meat until there is no more pink, making sure to break up any large chunks.
- Add the taco seasoning and the water (or beer), and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the salsa to the meat mixture and heta through.
- While the meat is thickening, prepare the tostada bowls starting with a layer of torn lettuce.
- Next, top with some meat and cheese, then add any of the other ingredients you prefer. Finish with another layer of ground meat and cheese, and top with sour cream and jalapeños, if desired.