Kalyn's Kitchen

Beef and Bean Taco Salad

If you’re someone who likes dried beans, this Beef and Bean Taco Salad is something you’ll make over and over!

PIN Beef and Bean Taco Salad to try it later!

Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad finished salad in serving bowl

When I was teaching school, this recipe for Beef and Bean Taco Salad was one of my standby lunches, and this favorite taco salad was something I could eat several times a week without getting tired of it. Of course everyone who likes taco salads has their own taco salad preferences, and I’m pretty emphatic about mine.

Chips aren’t even something I think of any more when someone says taco salad, but don’t try taking away my ranch dressing! I also like a seasoned mixture of lean ground beef and beans (usually black beans), simmered together with some cumin, chile powder, and ground chipotle chile powder (or use Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning mix). I make a double or triple batch of the meat/bean mixture and keep it in the freezer, so I can get that taco salad fix whenever I need it. 

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

What kinds of beans can you use for this salad?

I make this salad most often with canned black beans, but pinto beans or red kidney beans would also be great.

Want low-carb Taco Salad?

If you don’t want carbs from the beans check out Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad.

Want to make Taco Meat for the freezer?

And if you like the idea of making a lot of Taco Salad meat at once, use the recipe for Slow Cooker Taco Meat.

Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad process shots collage

How to make Beef and Bean Taco Salad:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Brown the ground beef until it’s starting to brown.
  2. If you have some I’d use Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning for the seasoning mix, but in the recipe I’ll list individual spices as well.
  3. When meat is brown, add the seasonings and cook a few minutes more. 
  4. Then add beans with two cups water. Let simmer until nearly all the water has evaporated.
  5. While the meat simmers, wash and spin dry lettuce of your choice (I like romaine for this.) 
  6. Mix the lettuce with 2-3 T ranch dressing or dressing of your choice. 
  7. Add desired amount of the meat/bean mixture and gently combine.
  8. I always use some cherry tomatoes and sliced olives in my Taco Salad.
  9. Then sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the salad.
  10. I think this is just delicious; hope you enjoy!

More Taco Salads Options:

Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad
Kale Taco Salad
Spaghetti Squash Taco Bowls
Vegetarian Taco Salad

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep where you’ll find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad finished salad in serving bowl

Beef and Bean Taco Salad

Yield 4 salads
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Beef and Bean Taco Salad is so simple and good; if you like beans in your Taco Salad you'll make this over and over!


Ingredients for meat/bean mixture:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • one 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but good, see notes)
  • 1 T ground Ancho chiles (see notes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chiles (see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn, washed, and spun dry
  • 3/4 cup Ranch Dressing (more or less to taste; see notes)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • one 6 oz. can black olives, drained and cut in half
  • 1 cup grated Mexican Blend cheese, more or less to taste


  1. Dump the can of black beans into a colander in the sink, then rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. (This removes some of the undigestible carbohydrates that can make beans hard to digest.) Let drain while you cook meat.
  2. Heat olive oil in large heavy frying pan, then add ground beef, breaking apart with your fingers as you add to the pan. Cook beef over medium high heat until partly browned, breaking apart with metal turner as it cooks.
  3. When beef is browned, add Spike Seasoning, ground Ancho chile, ground cumin, and ground Chipotle chile powder, and cook a few minutes more. You can also substitute 2 T Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning for the spices used here.
  4. Add drained black beans and water and simmer until nearly all water is evaporated.
  5. Let meat cool slightly before using it salad. (The meat can be made ahead and frozen. To use after freezing, thaw and then reheat for a couple of minutes in a microwave.)
  6. To assemble salad, put lettuce in large plastic bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  7. Add slightly warm beef/bean mixture and diced tomatoes and olives and gently toss.
  8. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with grated cheese.


I confess, usually I make the dressing from Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix that’s combined with buttermilk and mayo. Use any all-purpose seasoning blend if you don't have Spike Seasoning (affiliate link). I like ground Ancho chiles (affiliate link) and ground Chipotle chiles (affiliate link) but use any ground chile powder you have.

The meat/bean mixture freezes very well, so I highly recommend making a double or triple batch of this if you have the freezer space.  And if you come to my house, this is something I will always have in the freezer!

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 794Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 1529mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 11gSugar: 5gProtein: 46g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
All the ingredients in Beef and Bean Taco Salad are low on the glycemic index, so this could be eaten for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. However, for South Beach it’s best to use low-fat ground beef, low-fat cheese, and a dressing without too much fat, because the combined fat in the meat, cheese, olives, and mayonnaise could make it a pretty high-fat salad. For other low-carb diet plans, you would probably prefer my recipe for Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for This Recipe:
Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad was first posted in 2008. The recipe was last updated, August 2021.

Pinterest image of Beef and Bean Taco Salad

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    60 Comments on “Beef and Bean Taco Salad”

  1. I could eat this all day! Great recipe!

  2. Pingback: Cheesy Low-Carb Taco Casserole – Kalyn’s Kitchen – Paleocious

  3. Do you think this could be done in the crock pot as referenced in your other recipe above? I like the idea of the beans as well as the beef. Thanks! Love your blog, and have many of your recipes saved in my personal recipe organizer.

    • Hi Carol; glad you are enjoying the recipes. If you want to do the meat/bean mixture in the crockpot, I would cook the meat part way first before adding the beans. Otherwise I think it will work just fine!

  4. Taco salad is a favorite here too. Love it in the summer when tomatoes are so wonderful. If you ever want a change from the ranch dressing (I know, I know you love it so) we do a mix of half vinaigrette and half pace salsa shaken together. It's really yummy.

    • Marcella, guess what, I LOVE the sound of that! Will definitely try it, thanks for sharing!

    • I was wondering how to make the ranch dressing for this but I am thinking I probably won't need it. I have a thing for rotel so that's going in this!

    • Rebecca, you can really use any dressing of your choice. I do like the sound of Marcella's dressing too.

  5. Amanda, I must have had a brain freeze when I wrote this. Yes, it gets added to the meat when it simmers. I will edit right now. Glad you have enjoyed it. I eat this for lunch at least once or twice nearly every week!

  6. Hi Kalyn, I've made this a million times, but for some reason couldn't figure out this time what to do with the Spike Seasoning? I added it to the beef and bean mix, but it doesn't specifically say that- is that correct? Thank you! LOVE this recipe, one of my faves!

  7. Kelly, your version sounds great to me; glad you enjoyed it!

  8. This was fantastic! We're back on the SB diet, so this was very satisfying. I did mash an avocado, added chopped cilantro and garnished the salad with it. (I backed off the cheese and dressing… So I think it was still legal.)

  9. I've been making my own taco salad for years and love it, but was open to trying Kalyn's version, since her recipes are fabulous. This one did not disappoint!!! Let's just say I won't be making my version again – this was soooooo yummy!!! For south beach friendly, I probably ate WAY too much of it and put way too much sour cream, but it was so worth it!

  10. Jana, sounds good!

    Gay, thanks so much. So glad you are enjoying the blog.

  11. Made the taco salad for lunch yesterday and brought some for lunch today. Simple and delicious as was the tuna salad. I also made the parmesan chicken last night – another winner. Honestly, every single recipe I have tried from Kalyn’s Kitchen has been excellent. I continue to make the cauliflower au gratin once a week as a reward for my son doing SB with me. Love Kalyn’s Kitchen.

  12. Taco salad is one of my favorite lunches, too! For dressing, I just mix some (sugar-free) salsa and some sour cream or Greek yogurt; about half and half. Avocado is a nice addition, too, if I have it on hand.

  13. Barb, sounds like I need to look for those Beanitos chips!

  14. I love a good Taco Salad. I buy ground turkey that already has the taco seasoning in it. For crunch on top I crumble up a few lower carb/high fiber Beanitos chips. Yum!

    Kalyn I like the idea of adding the dressing to the lettuce, instead of drizzling it over all like I usually do.