This fiesta taco salad recipe is quick, easy, and packed with flavor. Make a taco salad bar and load up your crushed Doritos and taco-seasoned ground beef with your favorite taco toppings, like cheese, sour cream, Catalina dressing, and fresh veggies.
This fiesta taco salad recipe I’m sharing today is one that reminds me so much of my childhood. When my brother and I were old enough, my mom taught us some easy meals so that we could cook hot meals for ourselves. Things like spaghetti and tacos and even meatloaf. I’m sure this salad will be familiar to many of you. This is one my brother and I now make for our own families.
What we loved most about it is my mom let us make it however we liked it. We would put all the ingredients into bowls and then we could just go down the line and add on whatever we wanted. It felt like a buffet to us and I just know your kids will get a kick out of it too. This is also a great recipe to double to feed a larger crowd. Have a taco salad bar!
We start with a bed of crushed Doritos and add some taco-seasoned ground beef on top. Then you add whatever toppings you like. I’ve included my suggestions below, which include kidney beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, Catalina dressing, and lots of cheddar cheese.
But feel free to make this fiesta taco salad recipe your own. I’ve included some ideas below, but you can easily change out the Doritos with regular tortilla chips. And have fun and play around with your favorite taco toppings on this! If you love this meal make sure you check out some of these other yummy Mexican dishes Taco Soup (The Worlds Easiest Supper), Taco Tater Tot Casserole Recipe, Slow Cooker Tacos With Ground Beef, and Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas.
- Ground beef
- Taco seasoning mix
- Dark red kidney beans
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Sour cream
- Catalina dressing
Helpful Kitchen Tools
How to Make Fiesta Taco Salad
Brown and drain the beef of excess fat.
Then add the packet of taco seasoning (whichever one is your favorite or if you make your own). Next, add the necessary water (following the directions on the back of the package).
Let the water reduce until the beef mixture is thick and the flavors meld, then turn off the heat.
Now, let’s prep our salad toppings.
First, dice the fresh tomato.
Then freshly grate your cheddar cheese.
Assembling the Fiesta Taco Salad
Crush a handful (or more) of Doritos and place them on a plate.
Then add a layer of the taco beef mixture.
Then add whatever toppings you prefer.
Today I’m adding shredded lettuce…
Shredded cheddar cheese…
Sour cream and a light drizzle of Catalina dressing.
Some other topping ideas include seasoned rice, salsa, pinto beans, sliced green onions, diced bell peppers, diced red onion, refried beans, olives, black beans, fresh cilantro, or jalapenos.
Whatever toppings you choose, I hope you enjoy your taco salad!
Store the leftover toppings separately in either the pantry or fridge and reassemble them whenever you want a taco salad. The cooked ground beef will last up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. You can simply reheat it in the microwave before making another taco salad.
Here are some easy ways to make this recipe work for you:
- Substitute the Catalina dressing for Thousand Island dressing or ranch dressing if you prefer.
- If you want to bring back the Fiesta Taco Salad from Taco Bell, substitute the crushed Doritos for an Old El Paso tortilla bowl, which you can pick up at most grocery stores. You can also make homemade baked tortilla bowls using flour tortillas.
- Another option is to serve the taco salad with cornbread, like my Mexican cornbread or jalapeno cornbread muffins.
- As mentioned below, you can substitute the lean ground beef for ground turkey if you prefer. For something different, use diced boneless skinless chicken breast instead.
- Substitute the cheddar cheese for shredded sharp cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend.
What ingredients were in the Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad?
Discontinued in 2020, the Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad included a crisp taco shell filled with ground beef, refried beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and sour cream. For an additional cost, you could substitute ground beef for chicken or steak.
Can you make vegetarian fiesta taco salad?
To make vegetarian taco salad, you have a couple of options. You can either use the plant-based ground meat alternative of your choice. Or you can substitute it for grilled fajita veggies, similar to what they serve at Chipotle.
Check out these other tasty taco-inspired dishes:
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- water whatever the back of the taco seasoning packet requires
- 1 bag Doritos
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 head shredded lettuce
- 1 medium block shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 diced tomatoes
- 1 container sour cream
- 1 bottle Catalina dressing
- Brown and drain the beef of excess fat then add the packet of taco seasoning (whichever one is your favorite or if you make your own). Add the necessary water (following the directions on the back of the package). Let the water reduce until the beef mixture is thick and the flavors meld, then turn off the heat.1 lb ground beef or ground turkey, 1 packet taco seasoning, water
- Crush a handful (or more) of Doritos and place them on a plate, then add a layer of the taco beef mixture.1 bag Doritos
- Then add whatever toppings you prefer, like kidney beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and a light drizzle of Catalina dressing.1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, 1/2 head shredded lettuce, 1 medium block shredded cheddar cheese, 3 diced tomatoes, 1 container sour cream, 1 bottle Catalina dressing
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