Taco Salad

This salad, even with all of my alterations, reminds me of my childhood. My grandmother knew it was one of my favorites and made it whenever I visited her.

Taco Salad Recipe

My grandmother’s recipe is always a hit. The only thing I don’t like about it is that any uneaten salad will wilt. I don’t like to toss uneaten food and my family of five cannot polish off this large salad in one evening, so unless I am feeding a large group, I don’t mix anything in with the vegetables. Instead I create a salad bar. I put a bowl of salad mixture, a bowl of cheese, a bowl of broken chips, a bowl of the meat and bean mixture, a bottle of dressing, and a jar of salsa on the island and let everybody make their own salad:

Taco Salad recipe and tips for keeping the salad from wilting and going to wasteAfter dinner I put lids on the bowls, pop everything in the refrigerator, and then I can use the leftovers as I please:Taco salad recipe and ideas for using the leftover salad ingredients I think I will add some corn to the bean and meat mixture and use it along with the cheese in enchiladas. I can freeze the enchiladas and then bake them once the temperature drops. The salad will be rolled over into tomorrow night’s Apple Walnut Salad.

Taco Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I sometimes use chicken, cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can kidney or black beans, drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (how to make your own taco seasoning)
  • 1 head of lettuce, torn
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped ( I prefer to use cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (I save the remnants from bags for this)
  • Kraft Classic Catalina Dressing
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • salsa
  • any other vegetables you like in your salad
  1. Brown the hamburger with the chopped onion; drain any fat.
  2. Add the beans and taco seasonings; stir until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the vegetables.
  4. In a large bowl toss lettuce, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
  5. Stir in the cheese, chips, and meat mixture.
  6. Stir in dressing and toss until the vegetables are lightly coated.
  7. Serve immediately.


My Swiss chard and lettuce plants continue to produce, though at a much slower rate. However, I think we are going to have enough greens to have salads for dinner through the weekend. They come together fast and require very little cooking to prepare, so the kitchen stays cool in the evening. I am working hard to come up with different flavors because I do not want my kids to feel like they are eating the same thing every single night. Do you have any unusual salad combinations that you enjoy?

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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. If I put out a salad bar like that, the men in my family would take the chips, meat, and cheese … and leave me with the salad! LOL It's a great idea to save the greens, though; I don't like to waste food, either.

  2. I never thought of using Catalina dressing. I use ranch dressing. I will have to try it with the Catalina–I bet it's good because I like it on my regular salads too. Have a wonderful day!

  3. We had the same recipe for taco salad, right down to the Catalina dressing! I remember when taco salad first came out; it was so unique and we all loved it!

    I haven't made one in years, but am going to put it on the next menu (although will skip the Catalina dressing–my family would hate it!). I love the salad bar idea as well.

  4. The Quintessential Magpie says:

    I like to use Ranch dressing, but I like your suggestion of Catalina. Sounds like something I would enjoy!


    Sheila :-)

  5. shopannies says:

    this is one of our favorite meals as well. We always have lots of leftovers after this meal as well because I always fix a lot.

  6. Just like we make it. Not always with Catalina, but we enjoy this salad because of the flavors and the heartiness. I have no problem sending this with my husband to work and know he is well fed.

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