Chopped taco salad

I like the convenience of this wilt-free, marinated, chopped salad, great for eating on its own or ready to mix in with cold greens and warm taco meat for a killer taco salad.

Combine in a large mixing bowl

  • 1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup feta

Add dressing to marinate

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Stop here and enjoy a great marinated salad as it is, topped with avocado or chopped hard-boiled eggs and eaten with tortilla chips. It’s sturdy enough to last for a day or so in the fridge. Or use it anytime to make taco salad.

For taco salad, pile up fresh greens in a salad bowl (about 3 romaine hearts, chopped, or 12 ounces of lettuce). To dress greens (you don’t need much, as the marinating dressing will be added too): toss with a slight drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper; then season lightly with balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon or lime juice, or red wine vinegar. Mix in chopped salad, including extra salad dressing, and taco meat:

Taco meat
Garlic and onion powder are optional (they’re often in your chili powder as well). You can also substitute 1 clove garlic, minced and/or 1 small onion, diced.

  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground meat until it is no longer pink (you can add some oil to skillet first, but you don’t have to). Add salt, pepper and spices to ground meat. Stir well and cook for a few minutes to heat spices. Add 1 cup of water and stir. Turn heat to low. Simmer for a few minutes until excess water is cooked off and taco meat is nicely moist. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed (use a little cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper for extra heat).

If you like, top with additional cheese (more feta, or grated sharp cheddar), diced avocado, or a dollop of guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes a generous taco salad meal for six, or a side dish for 10-12.


  • I love a little sweetness in my taco salad – grated carrot is fantastic anytime, and/or fresh corn kernels in season.
  • Taco meat seasoning is flexible. If you don’t have chili powder, you can make do with extra cumin and oregano, or vice versa. Throw in a canned chile in adobo if you have it, or smoked paprika.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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