I've always adored taco salad, but I wanted to find a way to retain the large portions that the meal typically offers, retain the sharp flavor of the cheeses and meat mixture, but reduce the complexity and calories involved in having a bread product. This is the result and I'm quite addicted to it. I made slight changes to 'Taco Seasoning I' for the spicing, but otherwise hit upon the idea of pre-baking the salad before applying meat, tomato, and salsa, and quite like how the romaine gets crispy along the edges.


Recipe Summary

35 mins
50 mins
15 mins
4 servings


Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine chili powder, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano together in a bowl.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix spice mixture into ground beef until evenly coated; add water. Simmer beef until liquid is evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Add kidney beans and simmer until beans are heated through, about 10 minutes.

  • Cut each tomato in half down the middle. Slice 1 of each half into thin, round cross sections. Chop the remaining halves.

  • Spread romaine lettuce onto the prepared baking sheet; top with green bell peppers and tomato slices. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over tomato layer.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until edges of romaine lettuce are crisp but not burned, 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Top salad with taco meat mixture, Cheddar cheese, chopped tomato, and salsa. Transfer salad to a serving plate using a spatula.

Cook's Notes:

You can scoop portions of the salad with the bell pepper slices.

Black beans may substitute well for kidney beans and adding corn kernels might work.

I have happily used iceberg lettuce in the past, but it doesn't bake as as nicely as romaine.

Slice your bell peppers along the edges so that you end up with wide scoop-shaped, sections.

Nutrition Facts

565 calories; protein 42.3g; carbohydrates 41.7g; fat 28.3g; cholesterol 104.3mg; sodium 1018.4mg. Full Nutrition