Go Back
Old School Taco Salad

Taco Salad, Old School

This is a common sense recipe, meaning that amounts are very general and dependent on how many you are feeding. I prefer Jack's Salsa, but use whatever salsa you like best.

Course Entree
Author TheSpicedLife


  • several hearts of romaine lettuce
  • small Napa cabbage (I add this to increase the healthy and the crunch--if it bothers you use all romaine)

For cooking:

  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 15-oz cans black beans rinsed and drained (Or use a second pound of ground beef)
  • 1-2 cobs fresh sweet corn, kernels stripped from cob, optional (we like to add in the summer)
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 t ground chile pepper, I like Ancho and New Mexico


  • cherry or grape tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
  • chopped cilantro, optional (my sister is more likely to bother with)
  • minced jalapeƱos (my sister likes but I never bother with)
  • sour cream
  • a good fresh salsa such as Jack's
  • shredded cheese--we like cheddar and Monterey Jack
  • tortilla chips


  1. Chop up the lettuce and cabbage--I like to use a plastic lettuce knife so that if we have leftovers the edges will not rust. Keep the ratio at about 60-70% romaine lettuce hearts and 30-40% cabbage. Place in a large bowl and toss together to mix evenly.
  2. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef and break it up. Cook until the beef is browned. If you are using black beans, add them now, as well as corn if you are using that.
  4. Add the spices and a large pinch of salt. Mix and cook for 5 minutes to meld the flavors. Remove from the heat. When it is just the family, I serve the meat from the cooktop, but for a fancier occasion, transfer the cooked meat into a serving dish.
  5. Let everyone assemble their own salad. I have a personal hang-up that I have to add the salsa in between the cooked meat and the cheese, to keep the cheese from melting. That is why you cannot see the salsa in my pictures.
  6. I used the tortilla chips for the pictures because they look nice and most people like them, but truthfully the crunch of the cabbage is enough for me, and I usually skip the chips!