dinner · entree

Taco Party Salad

Rob and I are getting ready to buy our first house so we are fiendishly saving every last penny.

The easiest thing to cut back on when you’re trying to save is the grocery bill. Thankfully, we’ve got pretty good stores of meat right now. I don’t plan on hitting up the grocery store for another few weeks. I’m using what we have to make whatever we will live off of for a few more weeks.

I’m also reviving some old recipes my mom used to make a lot when I was a kid. These recipes are cheap, filling, and they usually make a lot. One of the dinners that was a staple in our household was taco salad.

We always crush up tortilla chips for the “taco” portion. It saves on time and money. For the meat, use ground beef or turkey. I added some diced red onion and diced red pepper to give it more of a kick. Season with taco seasoning and your taco salad is just about set.

The mainstays on my family’s taco salad: ranch-style beans and Catalina dressing. I think both of those are a Southern thing, but I can’t envision a taco salad with any other toppings.

Catalina dressing is a thick, orangey, sweet dressing. It counters the spicy taco meat and adds another level of flavor to an otherwise boring salad. Ranch-style beans are just…ranch-style beans. They’re my favorite canned bean in existence and I can’t really tell you why. I grew up on ranch-style and pork n’ beans. They both hold a very special place in my heart.

Other toppings for your taco party salad: shredded cheese and sour cream. Feel free to add avocado and/or black olives, too.

I get a bag of regular salad mix to make the salad portion. You can also chop up a head of iceberg if you’re trying to save money like I am.


Taco Party Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A classic dinner staple with zesty taco meat, Catalina dressing and ranch-style beans.


  • 1 lb. ground turkey or beef
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 (1 oz) package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cans ranch-style beans, warmed up
  • 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Catalina dressing, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add beef/turkey and cook until browned, another 5-6 minutes. Drain.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning and a little bit of water. Remove pan from heat.
  3. Make the taco salad: put tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl. Top with lettuce, meat, beans, cheese, sour cream and Catalina dressing.

3 thoughts on “Taco Party Salad

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