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Make Ahead Taco Salad

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This Make Ahead Taco Salad recipe first appeared on Organized Island 8 years ago. This Make-Ahead Taco Salad recipe is perfect for a summer dinner or a lunch. It also makes a great lunch on the go.

With busy schedules, this also makes a perfect make-and-take meal.

Easy taco salad recipe

Hello Friends! I have to say that I am grateful that I have been able to share this space with you for so many years. Time has flown by and thankfully, my photography has improved over the years. 

Why this Taco Salad Recipe?

This delicious Taco Salad recipe is very simple to make and it is full of flavor. I serve it with tortilla chips but you can serve it in a taco shell too! 

taco salad ingredients

Taco Salad Ingredients

Ground Beef – The ground beef makes the best taco salad, however, you can also use cooked chicken for this recipe.. 

Lettuce – Iceberg lettuce or Romaine works best with this recipe.

Avocado – This is the perfect addition to this salad, but you can skip it if you like.

Cheese –  I suggest using cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack.

Dressing – I use Catalina salad dressing for this recipe and it tastes great!


One of the things I love is that this is one of those Make-Ahead Taco Salad recipe which makes it perfect for spring and summer outings. 


make ahead taco salad recipe


This recipe serves 6-8.

This taco salad can also be made using black beans instead of pinto beans, it just depends on your family’s tastes.

You can also add a little extra salsa for an added kick if you like.

how to make taco salad


Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips and enjoy!  


Easy taco salad recipe

Make-Ahead Taco Salad

Easy taco salad recipe

Make Ahead Taco Salad

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This Make-Ahead Taco Salad recipe is perfect for a summer dinner or a lunch. It also makes a great lunch on the go.


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 pkg Taco seasoning (any brand)
  • 1 head of lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 small can kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 bottle Catalina salad dressing (any brand)
  • 1 bag Corn or tortilla chips


    1. Cook ground beef in a frying pan over low-medium heat until brown

    .  2. Add taco seasoning mix packet, but do not add any liquid.  

    3. While beef is cooking, combine shredded lettuce, onion, beans, avocado, tomato, and cheese in a bowl.  

    4. Add ground beef to the mixture.  If you are going to serve this Taco Salad the next day or later today, cover the bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

    5. When you are ready to serve, add salad dressing (I use about 1/2 of a bottle, but you can add more if you like). You can also use a light Catalina dressing and it is really good. The sweetness of the dressing is a nice offset to the mild spices in the meat seasoning.

Taco Salad Dressing

This taco salad with Catalina dressing recipe is a great salad to take to barbeques and picnics. It is crisp and refreshing and a wonderful way to use vegetables from the farmers’ market. I know that Catalina dressing may sound strange, but it tastes delicious with this salad.

Other Dressings For Taco Salad

Other tasty dressings that would work with this salad are:

  • Cilantro Lime
  • Avocado Crema
  • Creamy Tomatillo

Making it A Packable Salad

make ahead taco salad

This taco salad is great to make ahead of time. You can serve the taco salad cold or you can warm up the taco meat when you are ready to eat – it is your choice.

I love this salad for lunch or dinner and because it is packable you want to store the chips and dressing separately for an easy lunch on the go!

This make ahead taco salad is all the goodness of a taco in a salad and perfect for taking on the go or preparing ahead.

More Easy Salad Recipes

For more summer salad recipes, check out:

Easy Chopped Salad Recipe – This Italian-inspired recipe makes for a wonderful lunch or light dinner in itself.

Mango Arugula Salad Recipe – Argula makes a nice change-up in a green salad. The addition of fresh mango makes this a delightful, colorful salad.

Easy Mediterranean Salad – Another perfectly colorful salad that brightens any table.

Don’t’ forget to bookmark or pin this recipe. We strive to help you make the most of your time with simple, tasty recipes like this one. 

Easy Chickpea Salad – Garbanzo beans and fresh vegetables make this a delicious and healthy salad idea!

Doritos Taco Salad – This delicious taco salad is a meal made with corn chips!

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What is your favorite salad for dinner?

Easy -simple-recipe-ideas

This easy and tasty taco salad is a great way to use farmers' market produce into your meal and you can make it ahead of time too!

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Thursday 19th of August 2021

[…] Make-Ahead Taco Salad. Perfect when you know you’ll be busy. […]


Thursday 22nd of July 2021

Delicious salad! Loved the Catalina dressing. Thanks for sharing!


Friday 23rd of July 2021

Thanks Michele!

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Thursday 20th of May 2021

[…] Make-Ahead Taco Salad –If you love tacos, this salad might be your new favorite. […]

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Saturday 15th of May 2021

[…] Make-Ahead Taco Salad –If you love tacos, this salad might be your new favorite. […]


Sunday 14th of June 2020

I made this and it was fantastic. However, lettuce was soggy next day. I would like to serve again but do not know what to do about this. Sorry comment was long!

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