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Taco Salad Recipe

This healthy Mexican Taco Salad Recipe makes one of my favorite camping meals. It's easy to make, it's filling, and it's delicious!

Taco Salad on plate

Best of all, you can do most of the work at home!

Freeze the meat mixture. Put it in your cooler when you do your packing. By the next day, it will have thawed. You'll have just a few minutes of prep work to do before serving a fabulous dinner!

Taco Salad can also be made using a prepared taco mix. Making it from scratch using this recipe doesn't actually take much more time, though!

If your family doesn't like kidney beans, just omit the beans.

At home

Prepare the ingredients

Meat mixture

Do this a day or more before you leave, so that the mixture has time to freeze solid.

  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp/10 mL vegetable oil.
  • Chop an onion and add it to the skillet. Cook until soft.
  • Press 2 cloves of garlic into the skillet. Cook for another minute.
  • Add 1 lb/500 g lean ground beef, 1 Tbsp/15 mL chili powder, 2 tsp/10 mL oregano, 1/4 tsp/1 mL salt and 1/4 tsp/1 mL pepper.
  • Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink.

ground beef and onions for Taco Salad

  • Drain off any fat.
  • Drain and rinse 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) kidney beans. Add the beans to the skillet.
  • Stir to combine.

ground beef, onions and kidney beans for Taco Salad

  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • When the mixture has cooled completely, put it in a large resealable freezer bag. Flatten it so that it will fit nicely in your cooler.

Taco Salad meat in ziploc bag

  • Put the bag in the freezer. Allow it to freeze solidly.

If your time is limited, use a packaged taco mix. Prepare the ground beef according to the package directions, and freeze the meat as described above.

Other ingredients

Prepare these the night before you leave on your camping trip.


Grate 1 cup/250 mL Cheddar cheese and package it in a plastic bag or container.


Break apart and wash a head of lettuce. Wrap it in a damp paper towel, and put it in a plastic bag.



In food box

  • a bag of tortilla chips (at least 4 cups/1 L chips)
  • a jar of salsa

In cooler

  • the meat mixture (still frozen)
  • the grated cheese
  • the lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes
  • sour cream

Pots and utensils

  • large saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • plates

How to complete this Taco Salad recipe at camp

  • Check that the meat mixture has thawed. If not, take it out of the cooler and allow it to thaw.

  • Just before mealtime, warm the meat mixture in a saucepan.
  • While the meat warms, shred the lettuce and chop the tomatoes.
  • Spread the tortilla chips on the dinner plates.
  • Top each serving with a scoop of meat mixture.
  • Scatter the lettuce, tomatoes, and grated cheese over top.
  • Top with sour cream and salsa.

Taco Salad on the picnic table

I hope that you enjoy this delicious taco salad recipe as much as I do!

Now that you know how to make this easy taco salad recipe, check out some more great camping food ideas!

Before you start packing for your next trip, visit the Complete Family Camping home page. You'll find lots of helpful information.

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