This Nacho Salad recipe is perfect for you if you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying dish that combines the bold flavors of nachos with the freshness of a salad. It's like enjoying a restaurant-style guilt pleasure but in a healthier and even more delicious way!
I've been making it for some time now, and it seems not often enough, according to the kids. It just goes that fast. Crunchy chips with taco-flavored meat, spicy cheese, loaded with vegetables, sprinkled with extra shredded cheese, and topped off with a sour cream dressing is a tasty and easily loved meal!
It takes the classic nacho toppings, such as melted cheese, crunchy tortilla chips, and savory ground beef, and combines them with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and creamy sour cream. The result is a mouthwatering salad that is both satisfying and full of flavor.
Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or simply want to enjoy a tasty and nutritious meal, this nacho salad is sure to impress. With its combination of textures, colors, and flavors, this salad will have you enjoying every single bite!
Want to learn how to make this nacho salad recipe? Then keep on reading.
Table of Contents
- What is Nacho Salad?
- What Makes This Nacho Salad Recipe Special?
- What You Need to Make Nacho Salad at Home
- How to Make Nacho Salad (Step-by-Step)
- Tips for Making the Best Nacho Salad Ever
- Serving Suggestions for Nacho Salad
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Nacho Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Nacho Salad
- Similar Recipes You'll Love
- Recipe Card
- The Tastiest Nacho Salad Recipe (Super Easy and Delicious!)
What is Nacho Salad?
Nacho salad is a popular dish that combines the flavors of nachos and salad. It typically consists of a bed of lettuce topped with nacho chips, seasoned ground beef or chicken, cheese, salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, and various other toppings.
There are several things that make this an enjoyable dish. Firstly, it offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The crispiness of the nacho chips compliments the freshness of the lettuce, while the savory meat and creamy toppings add richness and depth.
Plus, nacho salad can be customized by adding or removing the toppings according to your preference, making it a versatile dish that can cater to different tastes and dietary restrictions.
Nacho salad is also a great option for parties or gatherings, as it can be easily prepared in large quantities and served as a crowd-pleasing appetizer or main course. And you’re absolutely going to love my recipe that combines the best of everything you love about nachos and a salad!
What Makes This Nacho Salad Recipe Special?
Versatile: This nacho salad can be customized to suit any taste preference or dietary restriction. Whether you prefer spicy or mild flavors, vegetarian or meat-based options, this recipe can easily accommodate your needs.
Easy: With simple and straightforward instructions, this recipe is perfect for both beginner and experienced cooks. It requires minimal preparation and cooking time, making it a convenient choice for busy individuals.
Delicious: The combination of crispy tortilla chips, flavorful toppings, and cheesy dressing creates a mouthwatering blend of textures and flavors. Each bite is a burst of savory goodness that will leave you craving more.
Crowd-Pleaser: Whether you’re hosting a party or simply serving a family dinner, this nacho salad is sure to be an absolute hit. Its appealing presentation and delicious taste will impress your guests and leave them asking for the recipe.
Healthier option: Unlike traditional nachos that are loaded with unhealthy ingredients, this recipe offers a much healthier alternative. By using fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and lighter dressings, you can be sure to enjoy the delightfulness of nachos without any guilt.
What You Need to Make Nacho Salad at Home
All you need are some simple pantry staple ingredients to make this nacho salad recipe at home. Let's look at them in more detail:
- Chips: We will be needing some chips to make this recipe. They will provide a crispy and flavorful base for the nachos.
- Ground beef: We will also need some ground beef which will be cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning in order to add a savory element. I generally prefer to grind beef on my own meat. For more details, you can check out my Lasagna post.
- Sea salt: Remember to use sea salt in this recipe: it will enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and add a touch of seasoning.
- Garlic salt: We will also need some garlic salt to make this recipe. It will bring a delicious garlic flavor to your nachos and compliment the other ingredients.
- Black ground pepper: Next we will be using black ground pepper: it will add a hint of spiciness and depth to the flavors to the nachos.
- Water: We will also need some water: it will be used to cook the ground beef and hydrate the taco seasoning, giving a well-seasoned and flavorful filling for the nachos.
- Taco seasoning: We will use taco seasoning to make this recipe which will then be mixed with ground beef and water, infusing it with a delicious blend of spices and enhancing the overall taste of the nachos.
For the Cheese Sauce:
- Melting cheese: Next, we will need melting cheese. It will be used as a topping for your nachos, providing a delicious layer of cheesy goodness by adding a creamy and cheesy element that will take the nachos to the next level. If you prefer homemade cheese, check out this recipe HERE.
- Cayenne pepper: We will also need some cayenne pepper which will then be sprinkled over the melted cheese, adding a spicy twist and depth of flavor to the nachos.
- Milk (optional): We will also be using milk: it can be added to the cheese sauce to achieve a smoother and more creamy consistency if desired.
For the Salad Toppings:
- Lettuce: You’ll also need some shredded lettuce for the salad as part of the salad toppings. It’ll add a delicious crunch in every single bite.
- Tomatoes: We’ll also need some tomatoes in the salad to add a delicious, juicy touch. You can go for regular chopped tomatoes or some cherry tomatoes.
- Scallions: We’ll also be adding some scallions to the salad for that sharp, delicious flavor in each bite.
- Shredded cheese: For an extra cheesy touch, we’ll also be adding some shredded cheese to our delicious salad.
- Sour cream: We’ll also be adding some sour cream on top of our nacho taco salad to add that delicious tanginess to it. Trust me, you’ll love it.
How to Make Nacho Salad (Step-by-Step)
Making this incredible nacho salad is easier than you think. Here's how to make them at home step by step:
How to Cook Seasoned Beef
Begin by pouring water into a small bowl. Add the taco seasoning to the water and mix it well until the seasoning is fully combined. Set this mixture aside for later use.
Take a large pan and place the ground beef in it. Add olive oil to the pan. Turn the heat to high and start the process of browning the meat. Make sure that you constantly mix and break up the meat as it cooks.
Once the meat starts to brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add regular salt and garlic salt to the meat and mix them in. Continue to sauté the meat for a couple more minutes to enhance the flavors.
Now increase the heat back to high and add the taco seasoning mix that you prepared earlier. Sauté the meat on high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly mixing it. This will allow the liquid to evaporate and the meat to sizzle and become well-seasoned.
Turn off the burner and let the meat cook a little longer in the residual heat of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid to keep the meat hot and allow it to cook to the desired level of doneness.
How to Prep Nacho Salad Ingredients
While the meat is cooking, you can prepare the other components of the dish. Heat the chips in the oven to make them warm and crispy. Dice the tomatoes and gather the rest of the salad toppings.
Cut the melted cheese into smaller pieces and place them in a small pot. Turn the heat to medium-low. Stir the cheese constantly to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the pot.
If you find that the cheese is too thick, you can add small amounts of milk to thin it out. Use your judgment and add up to 2 cups of milk if needed. Keep the cheese covered and on low heat throughout serving to prevent it from thickening.
Add cayenne pepper to the cheese and stir it for about 30 seconds or until the pepper is well mixed in. This will add a bit of spice to the cheese sauce.
How to Assemble Nacho Salad
Take a plate or bowl and place a handful of chips on it. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the chips. Add the taco meat on top of the chips.
Finally, add the lettuce, diced tomatoes, scallions, shredded cheese, and sour cream as desired. Serve the dish immediately and enjoy!
Your delicious Nacho Salad is ready to be served.
Tips for Making the Best Nacho Salad Ever
Layer the ingredients: Start with a bed of tortilla chips as the base, then add a layer of lettuce, followed by the cooked meat or beans, red onions, cheese, and any other toppings you desire. This will make sure that every bite has a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Drizzle with dressing: A simple dressing made with lime juice, olive oil, and a touch of honey or agave syrup will add a refreshing and tangy flavor to the salad. Drizzle it over the top just before serving. You can also use other popular dressings such as ranch dressing or make one at home using my recipe!
Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle some chopped cilantro or parsley over the salad for a burst of freshness and added aroma. This will elevate the overall taste and presentation of the dish.
Serve immediately: Nacho salad is best enjoyed right after assembling it. The longer it sits, the soggier the chips will become. So, make sure to serve it immediately to maintain the texture of the chips.
Customize to your liking: Feel free to add or omit any ingredients based on your preference. You can add sliced jalapenos for extra heat or diced avocado for creaminess. Make it your own and have fun with the flavors!
Serving Suggestions for Nacho Salad
- Serve the nacho salad as a main course by adding grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp on top for a protein-packed meal.
- For a vegetarian option, add grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms to the salad. You can also use any other veggies you love such as black olives, red onions, jalapenos or even corn.
- Serve the nacho salad as a side dish with your favorite Mexican-inspired main course, such as tacos or enchiladas.
- Add a dollop of sour cream or guacamole on top of the salad for extra creaminess and flavor.
- Serve the nacho salad in individual bowls or on a large platter for a fun and easy appetizer option at your next party or gathering.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Nacho Salad
This delicious nacho salad recipe is absolutely perfect as is, but if you're looking to change things up, here are a few variation ideas you can try:
Spicy Twist: Add diced jalapenos and a drizzle of hot sauce to the salad for an extra kick of heat. This is perfect for spice lovers who want to take their nacho salad to the next level.
Loaded version: Top the salad with extra ingredients like black beans, corn, and diced avocado for a heartier and more filling meal. This is great for those who want a more substantial salad with added protein and healthy fats.
Greek-inspired: Swap the traditional nacho toppings for Greek-inspired ingredients like feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and tzatziki sauce. This offers a refreshing twist on the classic nacho salad with Mediterranean flavors.
BBQ Chicken: Add shredded BBQ chicken to the salad for a smoky and savory twist. This is perfect for BBQ lovers who want to incorporate their favorite flavors into a lighter and healthier meal option.
Tex-Mex: Replace the traditional tortilla chips with crushed Doritos for an extra crunch and Tex-Mex flavor. This is ideal for those who enjoy the combination of cheesy, spicy, and crunchy flavors in their nacho salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this Nacho Salad recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this nacho salad recipe ahead of time. Simply prepare all the ingredients and store them separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Assemble the salad right before serving.
Can I substitute any ingredients in this Nacho Salad recipe?
Yes, you can easily substitute ingredients in this recipe to suit your taste or dietary restrictions. For example, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef, or use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
Can I add other meat to this Nacho Salad recipe?
Yes, you can add other meat to this recipe if desired. Cooked and diced chicken, ground turkey, or even shredded pork would all be great additions to this salad.
Can I make this Nacho Salad recipe vegetarian/vegan?
Yes, you can make this recipe vegetarian/vegan by omitting the meat and dairy products. Instead of sour cream, you can use a vegan alternative like cashew cream or vegan sour cream. You can also use plant-based protein alternatives like tofu or tempeh.
Can I customize the toppings in this Nacho Salad recipe?
Yes, you can customize the toppings according to your taste and liking. You can add or omit any toppings you prefer, such as avocado, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, or even different types of cheese. The recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to your taste.
How to Store Leftover Nacho Salad
To store leftovers of this nacho salad recipe, first, transfer the salad into an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Place the container in the refrigerator, where it can be stored for up to 3-4 days.
When ready to enjoy the leftovers, simply remove the container from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to take the chill off. If desired, you can also heat it in the microwave for a brief period of time, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired temperature.
Unfortunately, it cannot be frozen. The ingredients used in the salad, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and other fresh vegetables, tend to become mushy and lose their texture when frozen and thawed.
Plus, the toppings such as cheese and sour cream may separate and become watery when frozen and thawed. Therefore, it is best to consume this salad within a few days of preparation for optimal taste and texture.
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The Tastiest Nacho Salad Recipe (Super Easy and Delicious!)
What You Need to Make Nacho Salad at Home
- 2 Bags of chips
- 2.5 lbs. – ground beef (I grind beef on my own, see the Lasagna post for details)
- 1 tsp. - sea salt
- ½ tsp. – garlic salt
- ¼ tsp. – black ground pepper
- 1.5 cups – water
- ½ cup – Taco Seasoning
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 2 lbs. – Smooth Melting Cheese (If you prefer homemade cheese, check out this recipe HERE.)
- ½ tsp. – Cayenne pepper
- Milk optional
For the Salad Toppings:
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Green onions
How to Cook Seasoned Beef
- Begin by pouring water into a small bowl. Add the taco seasoning to the water and mix it well until the seasoning is fully combined. Set this mixture aside for later use.
- Take a large pan and place the ground beef in it. Add olive oil to the pan. Turn the heat to high and start the process of browning the meat. Make sure that you constantly mix and break up the meat as it cooks.
- Once the meat starts to brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add regular salt and garlic salt to the meat and mix them in. Continue to sauté the meat for a couple more minutes to enhance the flavors.
- Now increase the heat back to high and add the taco seasoning mix that you prepared earlier. Sauté the meat on high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly mixing it. This will allow the liquid to evaporate and the meat to sizzle and become well-seasoned.
- Turn off the burner and let the meat cook a little longer in the residual heat of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid to keep the meat hot and allow it to cook to the desired level of doneness.
How to Prep Nacho Salad Ingredients
- While the meat is cooking, you can prepare the other components of the dish. Heat the chips in the oven to make them warm and crispy. Dice the tomatoes and gather the rest of the salad toppings.
- Cut the melted cheese into smaller pieces and place them in a small pot. Turn the heat to medium-low. Stir the cheese constantly to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the pot.
- If you find that the cheese is too thick, you can add small amounts of milk to thin it out. Use your judgment and add up to 2 cups of milk if needed. Keep the cheese covered and on low heat throughout serving to prevent it from thickening.
- Add cayenne pepper to the cheese and stir it for about 30 seconds or until the pepper is well mixed in. This will add a bit of spice to the cheese sauce.
How to Assemble Nacho Salad
- Take a plate or bowl and place a handful of chips on it. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the chips. Add the taco meat on top of the chips.
- Finally, add the lettuce, diced tomatoes, scallions, shredded cheese, and sour cream as desired. Serve the dish immediately and enjoy!
- Your delicious Nacho Salad is ready to be served.
This recipe was originally posted on April 7, 2016 (original picture below), and updated for a better user experience. The post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure.