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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. 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.

  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.