Super easy ground beef recipes are a staple for family dinner and this Chopped Tex-Mex Ground Beef Taco Salad with a taco salad dressing!
This post is a collaboration with Beef It’s What’s For Dinner, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.
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If years ago you’d told me that we would be on lockdown for months, spending more time at home as families and trying to juggle homeschooling, working from home and not losing our minds I would have been dreading the future! But now, well I don’t think that I want to go back!
It’s the perfect time to get your kids in the kitchen to teach them not just how to cook but teach them through cooking about everything else too.
An easy beef recipe is the perfect stage for talking about how to be a more kind and aware citizen, math and even science with how things cook, etc.
Trust me on this, side by side cooking with your loved ones will CHANGE YOUR FAMILY.
Heck, you can even Face Time Grandma and Grandpa to make the recipe with your kids so that everyone feels connected, loved and inspired.
Cooking with your Kids Without Losing your Mind
You will find no greater joy than allowing hearts to connect and it’s by no chance that food becomes the central force in bringing people together.
- Pick an approachable and fast meal– No one wants to be stuck all day and kids only have the attention span of about their age. That means you’d better find something fast and easy!
- Use a recipe that you can substitute according to your needs and likes- don’t like peppers, just use more tomatoes! Kids can be so picky and you might find your child only wants certain things, but that’s ok, it’s all a work in progress.
- Everyone gets a job– Allowing a toddler to drain beans into a strainer and rinse them is safe and easy but they will feel so proud while a teenage might be better at chopping vegetables. No matter who is doing what just make sure that each person has a station and feels like they are the boss. You’d be surprised how much everyone just wants to feel important.
Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef
I’ve learned through time that all ages, but especially kids, seem to be more drawn to beef recipes, but especially recipes with ground beef.
I think it’s that no other protein does it quite like beef. Beef tastes amazing, and that taste belongs on my table so I can actually enjoy my food without the whining of picky palates.
Easier said than done though, am I right?
I mean, what should I do with ground beef, my brain is already fried from homeschool so I can’t think of one more thing!
I got you, friend.
Best Ground Beef Recipes
These are our best ground beef recipes but you should also check out Beef It’s What’s for Dinner as they are my greatest resource.
Ground beef is:
- Affordable to purchase
- Easy to store (I ALWAYS tell everyone to keep some in your freezer at all times)
- Quick to thaw
- Versatile in how you use it
For those reasons can I quickly share our best ground beef recipes including this Taco Salad recipe? I’ll add the rest at the bottom of the post in case you want to try other beef recipes.
- Instant Pot Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- Ground Beef Taco Bowls
- The Best Sloppy Joes
- Beef Enchiladas
- Cheesy Chili
What’s a Cheap and Easy Dinner Idea?
I grew up with 4 other siblings, and feeding 5 children was no easy matter. I learned an important thing though, my mom taught me that circling your family around a dinner table each night seems to act as a link in a chain, hooking each one of us to another.
In an effort to make a cheap and healthy taco salad my mom ditched the big, fried taco bowl and made Dorito taco salad.
That sweet memory of shredding cheese and the delicious aroma of the ground beef sizzling in that big, silver pot gets my stomach growling.
Teach Your Kids to Cook
Starting right here, go through each part with the child assigned
Let’s break it down!!
What’s in Taco Salad
Mom let us build our own taco salad, but I’ve found the kids love stirring it all together and it makes for less mess on the table so here’s what’s in our Ground Beef taco salad.
- Taco Salad Dressing
- Ground Beef
Taco salad dressing
Who is in charge of the taco salad dressing?
Ok, here’s what you’ll do.
- Remove the skin of the tomatillo and give it a rinse. It’s sticky, huh! Why are tomatillos sticky? It’s their shield and sword to protect themselves from insects! Insects don’t like it and leave the tomatillos alone. Isn’t that cool?! Now cut the tomatillo in half. (Great math opportunity if you keep cutting)
- Add all ingredients to a blender, top with blender cover.
- Turn the blender on until smooth
- Place the dressing in a container and store it in the fridge.
- Clean up while the rest is being made! Part of cooking is cleaning up!
What Veggies for Taco Salad?
Now it’s up to you, who is on the veggie station? This is a great one for multiple people.
- Remove the bottom of the lettuce and rinse the leaves as dirt and bugs can become trapped. Dry in a salad spinner or in towels.
- Chop the lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and avocado to small pieces.
- Rinse the black beans and frozen corn (no need to cook frozen corn, it’s already cooked! Just place in a bowl of warm water then drain!) Set aside all veggies and beans.
How do you Cook Hamburger Meat for Tacos?
Ahhhh, the beef is the best part! Beef is a good source of iron and protein, nutrients that can help fuel us during these difficult times.
Whoever is in charge of the beef, let’s get to it!
- Turn a burner with a large skillet on it to medium heat. Never add beef to a cold pan as you want to brown the meat which gives more flavor from caramelization.
- Add the beef and allow it to cook for a minute or two, then begin to break up the beef using a high heat meat chopper, and cook it for 8-10 minutes or until browned.
- Drain the grease into a colander.
- Add the ground beef back to the pan and add seasoning and water to make a saucy taco meat. Cook for 2-4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
Assembling Taco Salad
To assemble, throw everything into a large bowl along with a few broken up chips and fresh cilantro to brighten up the salad.
Pour the salad dressing and toss to coat everything.
Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tip
Do not add ALL of the dressing. A properly dressed salad is never soggy. It should be well flavored and the dressing is merely there to enhance everything, not to drown it.
FAQ About Taco Salad
Are Tomatillos Spicy?
Green Tomatillos have a slightly tart flavor, although other colors are almost sweet.
Tomatillos can be chopped and added to salads or used to make green salsa as they are mild and do not spice things up.
Is The Meat In Taco Salad Hot Or Cold?
It can be eaten hot or cold. A hot beef will wilt the leaves a little in the salad if you let it sit, but who lets this good looking salad sit around?
What Goes With Taco Salad?
Taco salad is pretty much a complete meal. There is no need to serve anything with it, but if you’re wanting to add more, try these ideas:
More Taco Salad and Beef Recipes
- Doritos Taco Salad
- Frito Salad
- Taco Ground Beef Pinwheels
- Ground Beef Taco Soup
- Taco Ground Beef Casserole
Chopped Tex-Mex Ground Beef Taco Salad
- 1 Cup Dressing, Ranch
- 1 Tomatillo
- 1 squeeze Lime Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
- 1 handful Cilantro Leaves
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 Head Lettuce, Romaine, chopped
- 1 Can Beans, Black, drained
- 2 Bell Peppers, Green, diced
- 1 Jalapeno, Diced
- 4 Tomatoes, Chopped
- 1 Onion, Red, diced
- 1 Cup Corn, Roasted, (we buy this frozen)
- 1 Handful Cilantro Leaves, Chopped
- 1-2 Avocados, Chopped
- 1 Cup Cheese, Cubed, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack or Pepperjack
- 2 Cups Chips, Crushed
For The Dressing
- In a blender, add the ranch, tomatillo, lime juice, seasoning and cilantro, blend until smooth and set aside in the fridge.
For The Taco Beef
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the Ground Beef and begin to cook. Once browned a little, break it up into crumbles using a meat chopper or wooden spoon. Cook until almost completely done, about 8 minutes.
- Drain all grease and place back on the stove with the taco seasoning and water. Stir and cook until slightly thickened and all meat is covered. Remove from heat and set aside.
For The Salad
- In a bowl add all of the salad ingredients including the chips. Add the beef and dress to taste.