It seems fitting to start off with a blast from my past. This recipe is based on a good old circa 1970’s family recipe. It’s one of those recipes that used to get us all in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and grating cheese. It was in my cooking arsenal when I started cooking for my husband back when we were just young’ins. It fell by the wayside once our babies arrived on the scene but it’s time for a comeback!
My husband is the one who brought it back to me. I was working on my menu for the week when I asked him if there was anything he was craving and he said “taco salad”. Taco salad??? Really? Wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve made that but sure, sounds good. And it was SO good! This slightly modified version is even better than the original and I’m sharing it here with you. This is no wimpy salad….this is real food. With all the meat and beans it will satisfy everyone.
The Kraft Catalina dressing has a distinctive, sweet flavor that complements this salad perfectly.
And, yep, it calls for iceberg lettuce. Back in the day, salads mainly consisted of good old iceberg but you just don’t see it around that much anymore. I think it is an important element here if you really want an authentic, old school taco salad butI like to mix in some romaine as well.
Slice the lettuce with a knife instead of tearing it so that you’ll get a little of everything in each bite. Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning mix
- 16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup water
- ½ head romaine lettuce, well chopped (about 4 cups)
- ½ head iceburg lettuce, well chopped (about 4 cups)
- 16 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4 green onions,, chopped
- 2.25 ounce can sliced olives
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, plus additional for topping
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing
- tortilla chips
- sour cream
- Spray a large pan with cooking spray and place over MEDIUM HEAT. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon, until crumbled and browned. Drain well. Return the pan to the heat and add the taco seasoning, pinto beans, and water. Stir to incorporate and simmer for just a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit while preparing the salad.
- Add chopped lettuce to a large serving bowl. Add kidney beans, tomato, green onion, and olives. Top with slightly cooled meat mixture and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Toss salad well to mix all ingredients then garnish with avocado and remaining cheese.
- Top individual servings with a little salad dressing, some crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream, and additional cheese, if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
One thing we always in the freezer is taco meat. Put in zip bags, flatten, and when time for salad it takes 1/2 to thaw on the counter. It is our go to meal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don’t know why, but all of sudden last week, I started remembering how much I liked Taco Salad in the 70’s and 80’s and how nothing available today was the same (though, not worse, just different).
Thank you so much for posting this here.
I was short on Pinto beans, so I threw in some black beans and it still tasted great. A refreshing dinner when it is 100* out.
I totally get it, Derek. I find myself randomly craving this salad and still make it from time to time. New fangled taco salad just won’t do, it’s got to be 70’s style 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it.
I live in AZ and iceberg lettuce is plentiful year round. Have made this salad since the 70’s when Kraft introduced it..I don’t remember it calling for Pinto bean , just kidney…but both beans sound good. This is always on my Summer menu. You got my mouth watering…think this will be on my menu list next week…nice reprieve on these hot 105 degree days….maybe a glass of ice tea or a pitcher of Sangria along side of this will be perfect.
Thanks, Jacquie. I still have to make this from time to time. It’s such a nostalgic recipe for me and I agree – it’s a great summer recipe. Enjoy!
Saving this, because you really can`t have enough salad recipes! I still muse iceberg lettuce when I make my own salads. 😉