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Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad

Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad is something I make over and over; this salad is so simple and good! And my Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad is also low-glycemic and gluten-free. Use the index for Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Kalyn’s Perfect Taco Salad!

Kalyn's Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I was teaching school, this recipe for Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad was one of my standby lunches, and this favorite taco salad was something I could eat nearly  every day for weeks before I’d get 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 to use a seasoned mixture of lean ground beef and 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. And Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad is always on the menu at my house. You can leave out the black beans if you want even lower carbs, or use the Slow Cooker Browns-in-the-Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef if you’d like a taco salad meat that’s a little spicier and doesn’t have beans.  But if you like taco salad, try my version with beef and black beans and see if it seems like a perfect lunch to you.

(Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad was updated with better photos, April 2015.)

Kalyn's Perfect Recipe for Taco Salad (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Brown the ground beef until it’s nicely browned, then add the seasonings and cook a few minutes more. When the meat is well browned, add black beans, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), chile powder, cumin, and chipotle chile powder with two cups water. Let simmer until nearly all the water has evaporated.

Kalyn's Perfect Recipe for Taco Salad (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Wash and spin dry lettuce of your choice (I like romaine for this.)  Mix the lettuce with 2-3 T ranch dressing or dressing of your choice.  Add desired amount of the meat/bean mixture and diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes and gently combine, then sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the salad. Just delicious!

Kalyn's Perfect Taco Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

If you’re someone who likes beans in your taco salad, try Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad and see what you think!

More Taco Salads and Bowls:

Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Avocado Chicken Taco Salad ~ Living Locurto
Baby Kale Paleo Taco Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Taco Salad ~ Comfortably Domestic
Spaghetti Squash Low-Carb Taco Bowl ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

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

Kalyn's Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad

Kalyn’s Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad is something I make over and over; this salad is so simple and good!


Ingredients for meat/bean mixture:

  • 1 lb. low fat ground beef (less than 10% fat)
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil (to saute ground beef, use more or less oil depending on your pan)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (can use kidney beans or small red beans)
  • 1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but good)
  • 1 T chile powder (New Mexico chile powder preferred, this is a very mild ground red chile powder)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chile peppers (or use any other type of hot chile powder or chili sauce. See notes for more options.
  • 2 cups water

Ingredients for each salad (This makes a large, whole meal salad):

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, torn, washed, and spun dry
  • 3 T ranch dressing (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup meat/bean mixture (or more)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (if using large tomatoes, drain them in a colander after chopping)
  • handful of black olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese, more or less to taste (I use four cheese Mexican blend)


  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 well browned, breaking apart with metal turner as it cooks.
  3. When beef is browned, add rinsed beans, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), chile powder, cumin, Chipotle chile powder, and water and simmer until nearly all water is evaporated.
  4. Let cool slightly before using on salad. (This can be made ahead and frozen. To use after freezing, thaw and then reheat for a couple of minutes in a microwave.)
  5. To assemble salad, put lettuce in large plastic bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  6. Add slightly warm beef/bean mixture and diced tomatoes and olives and gently toss.
  7. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with grated cheese.


You can also substitute 2 T Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning for the spices used here. I confess, usually I make the dressing from Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix that’s combined with buttermilk and mayo.

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.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
All the ingredients in Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad are low-carb and low on the glycemic index, so this could be eaten for any phase of the 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’ll want to omit the beans, and probably won’t care about the amount of fat.

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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Kalyn's Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    60 Comments on “Kalyn’s Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad”

  1. Lydia, this would be great with ground turkey. The Chipotle powder is hot enough for me though!

  2. I make a very similar version of this with ground turkey. And, I confess, with some very hot red pepper flakes. I could eat it every day.

  3. Nicole, when I taught school this was my #1 favorite lunch, and I always made it ahead and them divided the meat into little containers for lunches. Hope you enjoy; glad you're liking the blog!

  4. This is on my stove cooking RIGHT NOW and it smells fantastic! I can't wait to put it on a salad later this week (I'm trying to cook ahead when I have the time). Thanks for all of your great recipes! Your website is really, really, REALLY helpful to me right now (I'm in my 7th week on South Beach).

  5. So glad you liked it. I do sometimes think I should make my own ranch dressing instead of using the mix, but the Hidden Valley mix just tastes like Ranch Dressing should taste to me!

  6. I made this exactly as you wrote it Kalyn..It was fabulous,I happened to have all the ingredients,even the Hidden Valley dressing mix. It was all a winner! (and to think I almost used the taco mix instead,This is way better)

  7. jb, After every recipe where it says "South Beach Suggestions" it tells what phase the recipe is suitable for. I edited this recipe to make it more clear that this can be eaten for all phases, with some caution in using low fat ground beef and cheese. Thanks for letting me know it wasn't that clear.

  8. Katlyn,
    How can I tell for which stage is the recipe?

  9. This is one of our favourite family food

  10. Hi I just wanted to leave a comment to say that I enjoy your blog. Looking at the number of comments, I see others feel the same way! Congratulations on a very popular site

  11. Hey Kalyn, Love the blog and love to read it. I just posted a low calorie recipe for chicken tacos. Come by and take a look when you have a moment and let me know what you think.


    Thanks and keep up the great work.

  12. This will be delicious for my dad’s wife who is currently on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. I was having problems figuring out what to make her for our Fourth of July picnic today and this fits perfectly! Thank you so much.

  13. Yum! I have a thing with ketchup on taco salad (don’t tell anyone ;-)). But yours looks so good (those cherry tomatoes are speaking to me) that I think I’ll have to try and break out of my rut!

  14. My boyfriend is always asking for taco salad. This looks like a good one!

  15. This looks fabulous! I love taco salad!


  16. I have a salad I call tex mex which is similar with corn chips but it is interesting to see there is a whole genre of this style of salad – seems a great meal in a bowl salad! I like your comment about blogging being about revising favourites and discovering the new! So true!

  17. Taco salad! I haven’t thought about a taco salad in ages. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

  18. Looks very good. I have not made taco salad for lunch but I am sure I would like it!!! It sure does sound yummy and healthy.

  19. Anonymous, ground turkey would be great. I did used to make it with the taco seasoning packets, but nowdays I like using the individual spices so I can control what goes into it.