Taco Salad Bowls are so versatile, and great any time of the year. With homemade tortilla taco bowls, they are a crunchy, fresh delight! Add all of your favorite toppings, and dig in.
Easy Taco Salad in Homemade Tortilla Bowls!
If you’ve ever ordered a taco salad in a tortilla bowl, you are going to love this recipe – because that crunchy, restaurant-style bowl is actually really easy to make at home. From there, you just fill it up with shredded lettuce, taco-seasoned beef, and all of your favorite ingredients: diced tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream, the works!
For my version, I’m including all of the toppings my family loves the most, which is a long list! However, you can always add or omit things that don’t work for your crowd and your dietary needs. However you serve it, this family-pleasing meal is sure to bring smiles to your table.
Is Taco Salad Good for You?
That depends on how you make it, but taco salad definitely has the potential to be a super-healthy meal. This version is packed with fiber, protein, and tons of raw veggies. Yum. If you avoid processed ingredients and other unnecessary stuff, this meal is very good for your health!
So, let’s take a look at the ingredients you will need to make this recipe at home. Again, it is a long list because it includes almost every topping we love – but you don’t have to use them all! Just pick and choose the ones you like, and feel free to add some, as well.
For the Tortilla Bowls
- Tortillas: These should be large, to make a big enough bowl to hold the salad.
- Vegetable Oil: For pan-frying.
- Oven-Safe Bowls: For shaping and baking the tortillas.
For the Taco salad
- Ground Beef: You can also use ground turkey.
- Taco Seasoning: Grab a packet from the store, or make your own if you prefer. I like this homemade taco seasoning recipe.
- Corn Kernels: Canned, frozen, or fresh – it’s all good!
- Lettuce: I like Romaine, but iceberg or another crunchy salad green would be great.
- Black Beans: Canned black beans are fine – just rinse and drain. Or you could also use charro beans or refried beans.
- Diced Tomatoes: Or quartered cherry tomatoes, halved grape tomatoes, etc.
- Black Olives: Canned, sliced black olives are so salty and rich! We love them in taco salad, but you can definitely leave them out if they’re not your thing.
- Avocado: Slice up an avocado, or even better – dollop on some guacamole. Try this Authentic Guacamole Recipe if you want to make your own! It’s super quick and easy.
- Shredded Cheese: Mexican blend cheese, cheddar cheese, etc.
- Salsa: Use your favorite tomato salsa or I love this refreshing tomatillo avocado salsa.
- Onion: Diced red or white onion adds a little bite to the salad. Chopped green onions would also be great.
- Lime: Lime slices are nice for serving.
- Tortilla Bowls: Make as directed with store bought tortillas or homemade flour tortillas, or just use regular salad bowls.
- Cilantro Lime Dressing: This homemade Cilantro Lime Dressing is the cherry on the cake. Fresh, herbal, and oh-so-creamy.
Okay, let’s get into the process for making this. If you feel a little intimidated by the idea of making your own tortilla bowls, don’t be! It is so, so easy and such a fun treat. Here’s how you do it, step by step.
Make the Tortilla Bowls
- Prep the Oven and Skillet. First, set your oven to preheat to 350°F. While it heats, set a large skillet over medium heat, and add a spoonful of vegetable oil.
- Pan-Fry a Tortilla. Lay a tortilla in the heated oil, and let it fry until it starts to bubble. Then flip it and let it fry on the second side until it bubbles a bit more.
- Shape the Bowl. Using tongs or similar, pull the fried tortilla out of the pan, and lay it in an heat-proof, oven-safe bowl. Press the tortilla carefully into the bowl to shape it (be gentle, or the tortilla may tear). Alternatively, flip the bowl over and press the tortilla over the bottom of the bowl. Repeat with the other tortillas.
- Bake. Place the bowls with the tortillas on a cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. They should be crisp and crunchy when you tap on them. If not, let them bake a minute or two longer, and check again.
- Done! You now have restaurant-style tortilla bowls, ready to fill with salad.
Make the Taco Salad
- Brown and Season the Beef. In a skillet, brown the ground beef with the taco seasoning. You want to cook it until there is no more pink. At that point, drain as needed, and add the corn. Cook this all together until it’s browned slightly, and then take it off the heat. Set the meat aside.
- Arrange the Salad Ingredients, Including the Beef. Divide the salad ingredients among the tortilla bowls: lettuce, tomatoes, the taco meat with corn, olives, beans, etc. Top with creamy cilantro lime dressing.
- Enjoy! Serve your taco salad bowls with lime wedges, for squeezing.
Tips and Tricks
There are lots of different twists you could put on this recipe, some of which we’ve already talked about in the ingredients section – but I’d like to add a few more here, along with a couple of helpful tips. Read on, and enjoy!
- Fresh Veggie Options: For additional or substitute veggies, here are just a few ideas: shredded carrots, celery, jicama, cucumber, bell peppers, or raw, washed broccoli florets.
- Cooked Veggie Options: Feel free to toss in sauteed mushrooms, onions, summer squash or zucchini, blanched green beans, blanched English peas… you name it!
- Dressing Ideas: You can also use any dressing you prefer. Good options include ranch, vinaigrette, or salsa mixed with some sour cream. Yum!
- Meat Substitutions: You can change up the meat you want to use. Go for pre-cooked seasoned chicken or beef fajita meat, cooked shredded chicken, your favorite sausage, or ground pork. All great options.
- Vegetarian: You can make this meatless – beans are a great source of protein! Black beans, pinto beans, or even pork and beans are great in this recipe.
- Taco Bowl Help: When making the taco bowl, you can either use a bowl and carefully press in the tortilla after you heat it in the oil, or you can lay it over the back of the bowl, pressing it down carefully so that it creates a bowl shape. Either way, make sure you watch the bowls carefully at first. Each oven is different, so it may cook (or burn!) faster than the time given here. It may also take longer for them to crisp up.
Side Dish Ideas
- Plantains: Whether you make Maduros (fried sweet plantains) or Tostones (crispy, savory plantains), you will crave a side of plantains forever after! They are just so tasty, and great with anything.
- Arroz con Gandules: Arroz con Gandules is a popular Puerto Rican dish of seasoned rice and tender pigeon peas. It’s a great way to bulk up any menu, and kids will be sure to love it.
- Something Bread-y: Want to make everyone in your house happy? Just bake up some crescent rolls – or even better, a loaf of this cheesy Jalapeno Cheddar Bread. Serve it hot out of the oven, or toast it and spread it with butter.
How to Store Leftover Taco Salad
Leftovers should be refrigerated. Ordinarily, a big garden salad is not something that stores well for more than a day or so. The lettuce will likely start wilting at that point, and some of the dressed veggies will soften.
If you want to save it longer than that, I recommend keeping all of the ingredients separate, and storing them in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days.
For the Tortilla Bowls
- 4 large Flour Tortillas
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 oven-safe bowls
For the Taco Salad
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
- 1 cup corn (canned, frozen, or fresh)
- 6 cups shredded lettuce (approximately 2 - 3 Romaine heads)
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 avocado, sliced, or 1 cup guacamole
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1 cup salsa
- ¼ white or red onion, diced
- 1 lime, sliced (optional)
- 4 tortilla bowls
- Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Preheat a large skillet, and add a tablespoon of oil. Heat a tortilla in the oil until it starts to bubble. Flip the tortilla over, and cook it on the second side until that side bubbles as well.
- Remove the tortilla and place it in a bowl, pressing down gently (make sure not to rip the tortilla) to create a bowl shape. You can also flip the bowl over, and press the tortilla over the bottom of the bowl to make a bowl shape.
- Place the bowls with the tortillas on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Tap the tortillas to make sure they are nice and crisp before removing. If the bottoms are not crisp enough, bake an additional minute or two and check again.
For taco salad, the sky is the limit. You can add shredded carrots, celery, jicama, or any other vegetables you want.
You can also use any dressing you prefer. Good options include ranch, vinaigrette, or salsa mixed with some sour cream.
You can change up the meat you want to use. Pre-seasoned chicken or beef fajita meat, shredded chicken, sausage, and ground pork are all great options.
You can make this meatless - beans are a great source of protein! Black beans, pinto beans, or even pork and beans are great in this recipe.
When making the taco bowl, you can either use a bowl and carefully press in the tortilla after you heat it in the oil, or you can lay it over the back of the bowl, pressing it down carefully so that it creates a bowl shape.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1313Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1927mgCarbohydrates: 166gFiber: 16gSugar: 5gProtein: 49g
More Fun Salad Recipes
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- Creamy Grape Salad
- Best Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Loaded Pea Salad
- Ambrosia Salad
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint
- Creamy Waldorf Salad
- Air Fryer Chicken Fajita Salad
- Easy Greek Salad
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