Taco Salad

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You know what we need right now... a perfectly crafted taco salad topped with fried tortilla strips on top!

Taco Salad from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Did you guys take your lunch to school or buy it there? 95% of my life I took my lunch to school. Mama Dalkin would pack it every morning and off I went. The 5% of the time I was allowed to buy lunch it was like I hit the JACKPOT. I mean, clearly I had a very exciting childhood. Buying school lunch was basically an excuse to throw a party. Not that I needed another excuse to party, I did my fair share of that through high school. Regardless, on that one special day every now and then I'd buy myself a majorly loaded taco salad. It was my shining moment. I was being "healthy" because I was eating a salad but it was loaded with guac and cheese and really nothing could be better!

Bonus - if you want to be super extra, add some freshly fried tortilla strips or chips on top. WINNING.

Homemade Tortilla Chips from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

I'm bringing back the taco salad. It's coming out of retirement and my poor husband isn't going to know what hit him because we're making these every night for dinner for the foreseeable future. Until I overdose on taco salads and decide I need to binge on some girl scout cookies that are stocked in my freezer... happy eating!

Taco Salad

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 7 votes
The homemade version of your favorite taco salad from the high school cafeteria days!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Tex Mex
Servings 4 people


For the Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves stems removed (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the meat:

  • ½ pound ground turkey or chicken
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • ¼ cup water

For the Salad:

  • 2 heads Romaine Lettuce thinly shredded
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved or quartered
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 ears of corn shucked and corn sliced off the cob
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • cilantro leaves
  • A few tablespoons red onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 cup Black Beans rinsed and drained


For the Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 2 minutes until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed and set aside.

For the meat:

  • Place a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the ground chicken or turkey and continue to cook for 6-7 minutes until fully cooked. Add the taco seasoning and the water and reduce heat to low. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes while you assemble the salad.

For the Salad

  • If you’re layering this in one large serving bowl, layer half of the lettuce on the bottom followed by half of all the other toppings. Add the next layer of lettuce on top and finish with the remaining toppings. Top with the meat and toss together with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add more as needed and serve immediately.


You can always make this more appealing to kids (and kids at heart) by using ranch instead of the vinaigrette.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 33g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 786mg | Potassium: 1200mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2554IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking


  1. Great recipe I substituted dice boneless skinless chicken thighs and it was outstanding. I added sour cream. Super easy and yummy ❤️

  2. 5 stars
    The dressing is AMAZING. Made this week after seeing your Insta-live last week. Going into weekly rotation!

  3. 5 stars
    This was outstanding. Pretty quick to cook so perfect for a weeknight meal. I sauteed frozen corn and popped the beans in last minute. Topped with cotija instead of shredded cheddar. This is on full rotation. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Every element of this dish is on point!! We especially loved the DRESSING! Unreal. Thank you for this taco salad blessing 🙂

  5. Did anyone else grow up on taco salad with Taco Doritos smashed on top? THE BEST. Let's all do Gaby's taco salad with Doritos on top, k?

  6. I don't prefer the store bought taco seasoning--too much sodium.
    Do you have an easy home-made one?

  7. We made your taco salad like your video with the chicken/salsa and baby kale. What a flavor explosion! Never going back to “traditional” taco salad. Thank you Gaby!

  8. This is just a random comment. SO I love your page just have a minor suggestion. When you go to print your recipes you should have the picture of the dish pop up on the recipe. Not sure if that is difficult to do but other sites do that and I really enjoy being reminded why I printed the recipe in the first place. 🙂

    Hope you have a great weekend.


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