Aunt Agnes’ Mexican Salad – Guest Kitchens

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Today’s post is from Lora Roberts, a Southern Plate Family member that I had the privilege of meeting while I was on my book tour. I actually had the privilege of getting to eat with her, too! I was headed to a signing at a bookstore located in a mall and got there early hoping to grab some supper in the food court. As I stood in line to place my order Lora came up and said hi to me! She had also arrived early for the signing hoping to eat. I asked if she would mind if I sat with them and we spent the next half hour chatting away!


Thank you for your hospitality, Lora, and thank you for sharing this recipe and heartwarming story with us today. I am so intrigued by it that I’m heading out to the grocery store to get the makin’s today!  If anyone reading this has ever made it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. I know you’ll also want to chat with Lora in the comments as well so feel free!


I had to stop and think of which recipe I wanted to share the most and which had a story really worth telling.  My grandmother passed away when I was 17 and my mother when I was 19.  Most of my recipes I have acquired over the years have been from other family members.  I guess the one with the most meaning is the one I will share!
Aunt Agnes has always brought this recipe to the family reunion and it is always one of the first things gone.  Now you have to remember my dad’s family is good old East Tennessee folks, raised on cornbread, beans and other traditional Southern cooking.  But everyone loves this!  When Aunt Agnes lived too far away to make the reunion (uncle was a preacher and they lived many places over the years), my stepmom would bring it in her place.  I fixed it for my boyfriend a couple of summers ago and he loved it.  Just a good fresh and cool salad for summertime and something he enjoyed taking in his lunch, light but filling.


Last year after the family reunion, we stopped by Aunt Agnes’ house to visit as she had not been feeling well and she didn’t attend the reunion.  While visiting I told her I had fixed Rick the Mexican Salad and how much he loved it so I asked….how did you get this recipe?  What she told me made the recipe mean that much more to me.


In the early 80’s after losing my grandmother, mother, favorite uncle and a couple other relatives, I lost my cousin Linda (Aunt Agnes’ only girl).  When I was a small girl they called me “Little Linda” as I was so much like her and tended to talk through my nose like her!  Linda first got sick with a tumor on her spine.  Eventually other cancers took her from us.  Aunt Agnes and Uncle Charles lived in Texas at the time and Aunt Agnes came back to Atlanta to stay with Linda.  When Linda was really bad and in the hospital for a long time, one of the nurses came in one day with a bowl of the Mexican Salad for Aunt Agnes and the other family members to eat since she felt they had to be tired of the hospital cafeteria by then.  Everyone loved it and Aunt Agnes asked her for the recipe.  So through the loss of a much beloved family member, we received a much beloved family recipe.  One I will continue to fix and share in honor of Linda and Aunt Agnes.
~Lora Roberts


Aunt Agnes’ Mexican Salad

Aunt Agnes has always brought this recipe to the family reunion and it is always one of the first things gone.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 141kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 bottle Catalina dressing
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 head of lettuce chopped (or 1 bag salad mix)
  • 1 bag Doritos Nacho cheese flavor, crumbled


  • Brown ground beef, stirring constantly. Drain and cool. Mix ground beef with cheese, pintos, onion and dressing. Refrigerate. Before serving, add tomatoes, lettuce and Doritos.


Calories: 141kcal
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  1. Taco Salad…being a kid in the 1970’s, my mother would make this frequently during the summer. Always with kidney beans and 1000 Island dressing. Everything was dumped and tossed together, with nary a leftover. Total comfort food for me….

  2. I love this recipe. I got my version of it from a cousin-in-law on one side and now take it every year to the other side’s family reunion. I add black beans (1 can, rinsed and drained) and a bag of corn (thawed over night). My second counsins love it and always want what is leftover since it doesn’t save well. I’ll be making “taco salad” for them next month.

  3. Love the picture of your Uncle Charles and Aunt Agnes really add’s nostalgia, real family pictures looks great on the website.

  4. My family has made this recipe for years. We call it “Mexican Chef Salad” . . . it was always my little sister Mary’s request as her birthday dinner. The only difference is we use thousand island dressing and add chopped avocado! It is a traditional light summer dinner in our family . . . always served with warm pull-a-part bread! Yummy!

  5. Here in Michigan my family call this “Taco Salad” — my side of the family has always used Ranch dressing with salsa and my in-laws always use the Catalina dressing with either Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese Doritos. We also make the meat with taco seasoning! I love this salad!!!

  6. We also live in Texas and use a head of lettuce, chili flavored Fritos, ranch style beans, and crumbled bacon instead ground beef. We also use .Catalina Dressing but the Russian Dressing sounds good too. Think I’ll try that next time. Thanks for the tip, Shelley.

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