Layered Taco Salad

Layered Taco Salad

This is the first Friday night in over a month that I haven’t had plans and all I knew was I didn’t want to do a single thing this evening! Besides eat something that included some fresh produce. Bouncing around hotels and airports, pit stops and gas stations the past few weeks has finally caught up with me. I needed to eat a dinner tonight that had at least a slight hint of greenery.

One of my favorite things about cooking is just taking something so simple, like a taco salad, and instead of buying everything packaged, just doing it from scratch. Making my own dressing. Making my own taco seasoning. Buying a package of it is, of course, easy, but I just wanted to wind down from a hectic week, open the deck door that’s off the kitchen, and cook in silence.

Amen. Kumbaya. Namaste.

Layered Taco Salad (serves 6)
Adapted from Epicurious
Print this Recipe!

For the Dressing:


• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 cup olive oil


Simply whisk all ingredients together until emulsified. You can easily do this in a bowl, but I love my handy dressing container from Crate and Barrel. Which, clearly, I’ve had for years since it’s all cracked.


Set the dressing in the refrigerator to chill, while you finish the rest of the dish.

For the Beef:


• 1 medium onion
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1-2 chili peppers (seeds included), finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1.5 lb ground beef
• 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a heavy skillet, heat the oil. Cook onion, garlic, chiles, chili powder, and cumin over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened, for about 6 minutes.



Add the beef and cook, stirring often while making sure to break up any large pieces, about 5 minutes. Pour excess fat from the skillet into a small bowl.


Now, add the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper to the beef and allow to thicken, for about 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat and brace yourself for the final step 😉

For the Salad:


• 1 ripe avocado
• 1 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced (roughly 8 cups)
• 1 large tomato, chopped
• 1/4 lb coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups)
• 1 (15-oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 (6-oz) can pitted black olives, drained and sliced


Arrange lettuce in the bottom of a shallow glass dish then layer the beef mixture.


Continue to make layers with the tomatoes, cheese, beans, avocado, and olives. And don’t forget about the dressing, like I almost did. Go ahead and drizzle that baby over the salad, too. Serve with a side of tortilla chips for some added crunch and also to help aide with the dipping/scooping process.


This salad sang summertime. This actually reminded a bit of the taco dip I always request that Sues bring to every gathering we attend. I also requested she make it as my wedding cake because I just love it that much 😉 Sidenote: I just laughed out loud at this old post about the taco dip. Kind of hilarious how far this little blog has come since 2008!


I definitely went back for seconds. Which you’re obviously allowed to do because it’s a salad 😉



It just felt so right to finally get some veggies in my life. Even if they were covered with saucy beef.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! The weather in Boston seems to have finally gotten it’s act together. Just in time for Erin and Mike’s wedding!


14 Responses to "Layered Taco Salad"

  1. Erica says:

    Big homemade salads are the best! Especially when they contain ingredients like that super ripe looking avocado. Hope you have a blast at the wedding today

  2. Michelle says:

    After my first week at my new job (in your hometown BTW) and being stuck in some weird highway shutdown last night, I was so happy to have no plans but eat sushi, pack for NYC (I’m on the Bolt Bus as we speak) and RELAX! It sounds like you had a relaxing Friday!

  3. Sharlene says:

    Oh man does this look ever good! I was craving some tacos yesterday but had way too many leftovers in my fridge to justify a trip to the store and creating more leftovers. I can’t wait to try this out.

  4. Amy says:

    ha, that old post is funny. i love that salad dressing bottle thing! i want something like that. also, the salad in general looks great!!!

  5. I have many of these ingredients at home. Looks like a perfect, summery meal. Love the dressing container!

  6. Kristine says:

    I love taco salad, and yours looks delicious! Sometimes I take the easy way out and just top mine with a little salsa, but your dressing looks great- I’ll have to try it next time.

  7. Lizzy says:

    This recipe is perfect for me. Bought all the ingredients and cannot wait to make it this week : )

  8. I was just thinking about taco salad tonight. That looks so good.

  9. Bridget says:

    This looks Soooooo good! I need a taco salad night asap. I also think I want one of those dressing containers 🙂

  10. Susan says:

    I love a good taco salad but haven’t made one in ages! I know my husband would love it if I made this for him him.

  11. carole says:

    I can’t remember If I’ve ever commented on your blog. But I read it ALL the time. I’ll turn the laptop to my hubs and go “look margarita cupcakes!”. I love your blog. It inspires me to continue cooking and taking chances. You gals you should come to SoCal, we’ve got some yummy places for you to check out. Taco salad sounds great, simple, healthy, and tasty!

  12. Lexilooo says:

    I LOVE taco salads in the summer! This reminds me that I haven’t made one yet this year…hmmmm…

  13. Des says:

    yummy…that looks tasty! Also, loved the throw back pictures from the 2008 taco dip post. You and Sues look like babies:) adorable!!
    the blog keeps getting better with age. ps, please bring taco dip or said salad to my house next time you come over…orrrrrrrr I’m not letting you in;)

  14. Kimberly says:

    This looks delish!

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