Do you ever need a quick and easy to make dish to pass? Taco salad is one favorite that is always a crowd favorite. This is one dish that anyone can make – no matter your skill level! One spin I take on this taco salad is to use my homemade taco seasoning instead of buying it from the store. Check out the end of the post for the full recipe I then use for all of our taco meals!
This past weekend, my husband and I joined friends for a weekend away. It was just what was needed as with the last two years of crazy we all have not gotten together. We then drove a few hours north of our homes and stayed at an AirB&B. This was the annual Friendsgiving weekend. No kids allowed, had a hot tub, we brought too much food, and great friends. It was just fantastic, especially after isolation from the last two years. We all decided ahead of time who was making specific dishes each day, and I brought two Taco Salads for snacking. As a result of planning ahead, the funniest part of this weekend, was with four couples we all brought along cheese, sausage and crackers and a lot of wine. Not surprising as we live in Wisconsin and this is a basic staple for any get-together.
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Published November 27, 2021
Updated March 25, 2022
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Typically we have been using Greek yogurt for any of our cooking needs. However, with going to a group outing and sharing this with friends, we decided to use sour cream as I was not aware if everyone enjoyed Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is helpful if you are trying to cut down on fat, as you can buy fat free containers.
What you will need
Firstly, to make taco salad, you need either a decent baking dish or a tall sided baking sheet. Personally, using a baking sheet is easier to use, as you can spread the ingredients out and have a bigger dish than just using a 9 X 13 pan. A 9 X 13 baking dish with a cover would also be an ideal way to bring Taco Salad with you anywhere. I used aluminum foil to cover my baking sheets, and it worked and yet smashed everything down. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
That is it! Once you have your ingredients all set up, it takes very little time to get this Taco Salad all finished. Making this recipe only takes 20 minutes with the longest time in prepping the vegetables. Also, Taco Salad can be made up to a day ahead of time. On our Friendsgiving weekend, we brought a tray out on Saturday for lunch and had a tray for snacking Friday night while playing cards, both were super delicious. Having let the sour cream and taco seasoning rest for a day made the flavors bloom and taste so amazing!
Cost for this recipe
This recipe is honestly not that expensive to make, and this time I did make two baking sheets worth of Taco Salad. As a side, or a dish for an event, this is by far the best to bring as everyone loves Taco Salad. You can customize it however you want with which veggies you want to add. I knew ahead of time that some friends did not like olives, so one tray was made without them. Lettuce is inexpensive, and so are the green onions. One way to really cut down on the cost of this recipe is to use Homemade Taco Seasoning. Buying a pack, or two or three can get quite costly compared to making it from scratch.
Sour Cream $3.50
Taco Seasoning $0.25
Shredded cheese $2.00
Green onion $0.25
The total cost to make two sheet pans of Taco Salad was $10.20. By making two whole baking sheets of Taco Salad, I was able to stretch the vegetables and then only one was with olives. Both had lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and green onions.
Taco Salad Recipe
1. Open the sour cream container and then use a spatula to empty it into a medium bowl. Measure 2 Tbsp Homemade Taco Seasoning and mix it into the sour cream and let rest while you prep the vegetables. Click that link below for my recipe for Taco Seasoning, it is literally the most deliciously tasting taco seasoning, so much cheaper than buying those packets from the store also. Once you make your own seasoning in an airtight jar, you can store it in a cabinet and use it when you need it.
2. Using a cutting board, slice the lettuce very thin as no one wants a giant piece of lettuce in their Taco Salad.
*Pro-Tip* If you bang your lettuce, stem-side-down on the counter three times, the entire stem will then easily be pulled out! I have been removing the stems of lettuce like this for the better part of two decades, maybe it was my dad who showed me, which is hilarious as he does not eat lettuce.
3. On a cutting board, cut tomatoes into small slices. Not being able to find decent tomatoes lately, we opted to use cherry tomatoes and they worked just fine and then can be cut into little tomato circles which are actually kind of cute! Just make sure, when cutting tomatoes, to use a sharp serrated knife so it will not smash your tomatoes down.
4. Slice olives if you bought whole ones, or drain a can of sliced olives if you bought pre sliced ones. At ALDI, they sell a 6oz jar of whole olives for the same price as you can buy a jar of 2oz sliced olives, which actually saves our family money by buying olives whole and then spending a minute slicing them myself.
5. Use a scissors and cut the green onion, however knife works just the same, but I have found that using a kitchen scissors helps to keep the shape of the green onions.
6. Now it is time to assemble the Taco Salad. Begin by spreading the sour cream and seasoning mixture, using a spatula, evenly over the pan. One container of sour cream was enough for both baking sheets.
7. Sprinkle the shredded lettuce over the sour cream in an even layer and also not too thick.
8. Sprinkle shredded cheese all over the lettuce, however completely forgetting myself, the cheese was added last. Either way, wherever you add the cheese, it will be a fantastic result. Using pre-shredded cheese is totally fine with this recipe as you are not going to make the cheese into a sauce as pre shredded cheese will not melt well. This day I used a block of sharp cheddar cheese and then shredded it in my Cuisinart Food Processor.
8. Then lay the sliced tomatoes and olives on the Taco Salad tray. I made two pans, one with olives and one with olives and tomatoes.
9. Finally sprinkle green onions over the other vegetables.
Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
For our main dinner at Friendsgiving, I challenged my inner Martha Stewart and ended up decorated the dinning room table before we ate. The land around the cabin we rented in Minocqua, Wisconsin, was full of birch and pine trees. I then went around the cabin with a cute little metal pale and collected birch sticks and pine needles on branches and pine cones. These were the cutest pine cones ever, they were still closed and adorable and super sticky with sap. I had the best time decorating the table for our Friendsgiving meal! Additionally, in one of the closets, which were all full of such eclectic pieces of art, vintage pieces and random clutter, were two antlers which added such a perfect touch of texture and color to the decoration.
And the best yet, our friend Jason made the most delicious turkey and he found a recipe that made a compound butter with herbs, rubbed it inside the skin and on the outside, and while it was cooking he basted it every half hour. You guys, it was incredibly delicious and filled with such amazing flavor. Plus, it looked incredibly beautiful before it was sliced up.
Along with an amazingly delicious herb roasted turkey, we had friends who made homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed vegetables and I also brought stuffed mushrooms.
Recipe for Taco Salad
Taco Salad Directions
1. Firstly, open the sour cream container and empty it into a medium bowl. Measure 2 Tbsp Homemade Taco Seasoning and mix it into the sour cream and let rest while you prep the vegetables.
2. Secondly, using a cutting board, slice the lettuce very thin.
3. Thirdly, cut tomatoes into small slices.
4. Then slice olives if you bought whole ones.
5. Fifth, shred cheese and then set aside.
6. Time to assemble! Then spread the sour cream and seasoning mixture, using a spatula, evenly over the pan.
7. Using a spatula, sprinkle lettuce the lettuce over the sour cream in an even layer and additionally not too thick.
8. Sprinkle the shredded cheese all over the lettuce.
8. Finally lay the tomatoes, green onion and olives on the taco salad.
Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!