This taco salad plays tricks on you. Set the dish out on a table, and it looks like a big, flat salad covered in romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, a bit of cheese, and some crushed tortilla chips. But dig into it and you’ll find layers and layers of thick, melted cheese, taco-seasoned ground beef, and refried beans on a bed of tortilla chips. It’s not a salad — at least not in the way you were originally thinking. Really, it’s more like a giant dish of nachos. What a great surprise!
To start, cook ground beef in a pan with a diced red bell pepper until the meat is totally cooked through and crumbled into little pieces. Add a can of refried beans to the pan and stir everything together, then mix in a packet of taco seasoning and remove the pan from the heat.
Create a base for the taco salad by covering the bottom of a baking dish with tortilla chips. Spread the beef and beans combination over the top so it’s approximately evenly distributed over the layer of chips. Top that with a layer of grated cheese, which should melt a bit and get nice and stringy from the heat of the beans and beef.
The chips buried at the bottom will soften under the massive pile of beef, beans, and cheese. Nothing could stay crispy under those circumstances. But the way they soak up all the juices and seasoning makes them taste pretty great, even if they lose their crunch.
Add a layer of chopped romaine lettuce and a diced tomato to the top, then sprinkle some more grated cheese and some crushed tortilla chips over the top. It’s ready to eat immediately, while it’s still warm, and you could use a fork for that, or keep a bowl of chips on the side for scooping.
Get the recipe: Layered Beef Taco Salad from Averie Cooks
More Hearty Salad Recipes from Kitchn
- Summery Salmon Niçoise Salad
- Deconstructed Falafel Salad
- Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Herbs
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