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Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

June 2, 2008

As the weather starts to warm up a bit, one of the things we start eating a lot more for dinner are main-course salads, and one of our favorites is taco salad. I can’t really say that we have a set recipe we follow — usually, it’s just improvising based on what’s in our fridge and what looks good. There’s always some type of greens, assorted vegetables, shredded cheese, and some type of protein (black beans, pinto beans, or grilled chicken are the regulars.) Oh, and the dressing! I love this dressing: it’s a creamy yogurt dressing made with lime juice and zest, cilantro, cumin, and just a touch of honey…really terrific on the greens with the toppings.

Of course, a “taco salad” gives us an excuse to make guacamole — either to serve on top of the salad, or to serve alongside to dip our chips into…but then again, we never need much of an excuse to make guac! If I don’t make guacamole, sometimes I’ll make cornbread (speaking of which, I keep meaning to post about a new cornbread we’ve been making and enjoying — I’ll get to it one of these days, I promise!) Whatever we have on the salad, though, it’s always a colorful and tasty dinner, and if you chop and prep all your ingredients ahead, assembly is super quick.

That fact came in handy this week, as we’ve been spending a lot of time after work over at our community garden plot, preparing the beds and getting some plants into the ground…coming home to a yummy taco salad (where all I had to do was assemble and serve!), plopping down on the couch and digging in was a good end to a gardening workout.


Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

For the salad: you can really choose anything you like; here are some ideas —
protein — such as grilled chicken, grilled steak, beans, etc.
vegetables — such as colored peppers, lightly cooked corn, diced tomato, etc.
something from the onion family, like chopped scallions or chopped red onion
shredded red or green cabbage
cheese (a must!) — pepper jack, monterey jack, sharp cheddar, queso fresco, etc.
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
your favorite kind of salad greens
tortilla chips, either crumbled over or served alongside
sour cream, salsa, guacamole — you can serve the salad with a dollop of these toppings, or serve the salsa and guac on the side for chip dipping

For the creamy lime dressing (makes enough for 4 salads):
zest & juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons juice)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped


Prep all your ingredients before dressing the greens, and have them ready to go.

Make the dressing — whisk together all the ingredients until well blended.

Wash and spin dry your salad greens, season them with a little coarse salt and pepper, then toss them with about 2/3 of the dressing. Divide the dressed greens among 4 plates, then top with whatever toppings you’re using. Spoon the remaining dressing over the top of each salad and serve.

Serves 4.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2008 10:22 am

    Wow, what a fantastic looking salad, not only does it please the taste buds but also the eye!

  2. June 2, 2008 2:30 pm

    I am a big fan of the taco salad – it’s my go-to dinner when I need to throw something quick together – I am looking forward to giving this dressing a try!!

  3. June 3, 2008 2:46 am

    That’s one beeYOOtiful salad you’ve made!

  4. June 3, 2008 4:27 am

    this is perfection. stunning to look at, even more amazing to eat. you’ve included all of my favorites in yours, all the way from the red peppers to the black beans to the lusciuos avocado. and that dressing sounds sensational! best salad ever.

  5. June 3, 2008 8:06 am

    That’s just beautiful. I love a colorful salad and this one looks fabulous! And delicious too, I bet. 🙂

  6. June 3, 2008 5:47 pm

    I’m Sophie, Key Ingredient’s Chief Blogger. We would like to feature your taco salad recipe on our blog (beautiful picture, btw!). Please email if interested. Thanks 🙂


  7. June 4, 2008 7:49 pm

    I make this all the time but with a different dressing. Love the lime and will give it a try. The husband loves this kind a meal. Beautiful colors as usual.

  8. June 6, 2008 11:18 pm

    What a gorgeous salad. Could easily be the cover of Gourmet or Sunset. Such an easy, tasty, filling meal with all the right elements. Yum. (I wasn’t planning to comment, just browse, but I saw this and had to drop you a line)

  9. June 6, 2008 11:51 pm

    Wow the dressing looks awesome. We also love taco type salads–I am going to try putting your dressing on ours!

  10. June 17, 2008 10:09 pm

    I’m a fan of taco salads also! I’m definitely going to try out the dressing recipe the next time I make a taco salad. Sounds delicious!

  11. lindsey permalink
    June 19, 2008 7:10 pm

    I am so glad you made this! I never know what sort of dressing to use on a salad like this. I made this tonight and it was FABULOUS. Thanks for posting!

  12. andrea permalink
    August 31, 2009 10:26 pm

    wow… that dressing is AMAZING. i’ve tried lots of different homemade and store-bought dressings for taco salad and this is BY FAR the best. thank you! everyone loved it.

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