Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe

Cyd Converse

This loaded crunchy taco salad is easy to make and a total crowd favorite topped with our creamy tomatillo dressing.

When I was living with my best friend after grad school I somehow fell in love with making taco salads to take to work several days a week most weeks.

They were easy to make in advance, could be as "healthy" as I wanted to make them, and super satisfying and filling in the middle of a long work day.

This loaded crunchy taco salad recipe is an homage to those taco salads of yore, but far tastier and more grown up thanks to the homemade dressing.

The creamy tomatillo dressing is easy to make and requires just a handful of ingredients so don't skip it! Trust me - it might just be the very best part.

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Photo

Why We Love This Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe

I've already alluded to why this taco salad recipe is such a favorite, but let's get into it, shall we? In short - it's so so good, but also so quick and easy to make.

This taco salad recipe is crunchy thanks to tons of crisp veggies and the addition of blue corn tortilla chips. The texture combination is out of this world.

This is the kind of salad you can easily make for dinner when you're home from work, but it's also a great option for meal planning lunches for the work week.

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Image

Never has any recipe been so versatile and easy to customize to match your preferences. Hate tomatoes? Skip them! Love cucumber? Add it into the mix!

You can make this loaded crunchy taco salad to munch on the leftovers throughout the week - or make it to serve a larger crowd. Nobody will go hungry!

It's easy enough to whip together on a busy weeknight, but it's also special enough to serve friends for dinner or to bring along to a party. I love that!

FAQ: How long is taco meat good for in the fridge? Find out now!

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe

To make this easy, crunchy taco salad recipe, you will need:


  • Ground beef - Use the ground beef of your choice - I generally use grass fed 85/15 ground beef so it's juicy but not overly greasy.
  • Taco seasoning - You can use a packet of taco seasoning or make our easy and tasty homemade taco seasoning recipe.
  • Lettuce - I generally use a green leaf lettuce, Boston leaf lettuce, crispy romaine lettuce or a combination of one or more when making taco salad.
  • Corn - For recipes like this one I typically used frozen corn that has been thawed. It tastes so fresh! You could also use canned corn or corn on the cob or even leftover Mexican street corn
  • Beans - Use your favorite beans for this taco salad recipe - my recommendation is both black beans and garbanzo beans, but pinto beans and kidney beans are also delicious.
  • Cheese - I like to use a mix of Mexican style shredded cheese and crumbled cotija cheese, but queso fresco is also perfect for taco salad.
  • Onion - Sliced red onions are where it's at for taco salad, but any other kind of onion like yellow. white or green onion works perfectly, too.
  • Avocado - Sliced or chunked avocado is a must when making taco salad. Add it at the end to keep it from getting mushy.
  • Tortilla chips - I use blue corn tortilla chips because they're my favorite but any tortilla chip, including Frits or Doritos. are a win.
  • Black olives - Sliced black olives are a taco salad staple if you love them as much as I do. Cut down on prep time by grabbing a can of sliced olives and simply draining and rinsing them.
  • Tomatoes - Avoid mushiness by using sliced or chopped grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
  • Dressing - Our homemade creamy tomatillo dressing is made with plain Greek yogurt, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, chives, fresh lime juice, avocao and jalapeño


  • Skillet
  • Large serving bowl
  • Food processor or high power blender
  • Knives and cutting board
How to Make Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Photo - 1

Step 1. Add the ground beef to a skillet and sprinkle the taco seasoning over top. Brown the ground beef until cooked through, drain off the excess grease set aside to cool

How to Make Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Photo - 2

Step 2. In the meantime, prep the lettuce and slice the veggies and add to a large serving bowl with the corn and beans. Toss everything together.

How to Make Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Photo - 3

Step 3. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor or in the pitcher of a high power blender. Process or blend on high until smooth and creamy.

How to Make Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Photo - 4

Step 4. If the finished dressing is thicker than you prefer, add a couple of tablespoons of water at a time and blend until you achieve the desired consistency.

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Step 5. Add the tortilla chips, sliced avocado, cheese and ground beef to the top of the salad. Top with a generous amount of dressing and serve.

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Picture

When I tell you that this taco salad is about to become your new favorite salad recipe I am not exaggerating in the least. It's really that good!

The mixture of fresh greens, crisp veggies, crunchy tortilla chips and creamy dressing is out of this world in terms of both flavor profile and texture.

Of course, I also love the versatility. Make it with whatever you happen to have on hand. Skip things your family hates. Add in the veggies you personally love.

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Photo

Ground Beef Alternatives

If you don't love ground beef, don't eat red meat, want to lighten things up or simply don't have any ground beef in your freezer, consider these alternatives:

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe Pic

More Taco Salad Recipes We Love

At this point I've made my love for a good taco salad recipe clear and this one is certainly my favorite. I also love our fun party ready taco salad cups recipe!

Our chicken taco salad recipe with homemade cilantro ranch dressing is another huge crowd favorite. We also have a killer gluten free taco salad recipe.

You can also make taco salad boats wrapped in crispy leaves of romaine lettuce or our classic chicken taco salad recipe packed with veggies and avocado.

Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Picture

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Loaded Crunchy Taco Salad Recipe

    1 Servings


Taco Salad:
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 8 cups Lettuce
  • 2 cups Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can Black Beans
  • 1 15-ounce can Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 Sliced Red Onion
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn, thawed
  • 2 cups Crushed Tortilla Chips
  • 1/2 cup Cotija Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Black Olives
  • 2 Avocados, sliced
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing:
  • 3 Tomatillos
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Minced Fresh Garlic
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • 3 tsp choppeds Fresh Chives
  • 1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/8 cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Jalapeño, deseeded
  • 1 small Ripe Avocado


For the Taco Salad

  1. Add the ground beef to a skillet and sprinkle the taco seasoning over top.
  2. Brown the ground beef until cooked through over medium heat, breaking the meat up as it cooks.
  3. Drain off the excess grease and set the ground beef aside.
  4. In the meantime, wash, rinse and chop the lettuce. Pat it or spin it dry and place it in a large serving bowl.
  5. Add the corn, sliced red onions, beans, sliced black olives and chopped grape tomatoes.
  6. Toss the veggies, beans and lettuce then break up and add the blue corn tortilla chips
  7. Add the seasoned ground beef on top of the salad.
  8. Top with sliced avocado, cotija cheese and shredded Mexican style cheese.
  9. Drizzle generously with our creamy tomatillo dressing and serve.

For the Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or a high power blender.
  2. Process or blend on high until everything is smooth and creamy.
  3. If the dressing is thicker than you'd like, add water a few tablespoons at a time and pulse again until you reach the consistency you prefer.
Tex Mex
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Related Recipes:
Tex Mex Recipes, Salad Recipes, Taco Recipes, Ground Beef Recipes, Lettuce Recipes
Recipe Yields:
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Related Post:
Author: Cyd Converse
Recipe Yields: 6.0
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 1

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 1864
Calories 4894

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 233g
  Saturated Fat 56g
Sodium 7547mg
Total Carbohydrate 404g
  Dietary Fiber 80g
  Sugars 27g
Protein 252g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.

Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.

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