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Today’s recipe is actually a twofer. In the summer, when you want a salad but you also want something that will stick to your ribs, a taco salad is the perfect meal. I’ll show you how to fry yourself up a tortilla in the shape of a bowl, how to spice up the pinto beans, add even more flavor to the meat, and make a great cheese sauce.
On top of all that, I’m sharing a bonus recipe – the famous guacamole from our cookbook Faith, Family, and the Feast.
Start with the guacamole. This can be made ahead of time and chilled in the fridge while you prepare the taco salad. Guacamole is delicious and easy to make. Start with a soft avocado. If it feels hard, it’s not ripe enough to eat. Using a knife, halve the avocado by cutting around the pit. Very carefully, with a sharp knife, stab the pit and pull it out of the avocado. If this method makes you uncomfortable, just remove the pit with a spoon.
Tip: Use avocados that are soft enough to squeeze the fruit right out of the skin. If it’s firmer than that, it isn’t ready to eat.
Once the avocado is pitted, squeeze the avocado out of the skin. Using a tater masher, mash the avocado. Don’t over mash. It should be a little chunky and firm, but mashed enough to infuse the flavor of the ingredients throughout your guacamole.
Once mashed, add the Roma tomato, white onion, and the pickled jalapeno. The reason I use pickled jalapeno is because it will add the most flavor to the guacamole. After that, add the minced garlic, some lime juice and a little onion powder.
The final ingredient is my Mesquite Seasoning. I love this stuff, I do. The reason this goes so well in guacamole is that it contains Ancho chile powder. It’s not going to add much heat but it will add a delicious smoky kind of flavor. If you like your guac simple, go on and use salt and pepper. It’s going to be delicious either way.
The structure of a taco salad is part of what makes it delicious. It’s layer upon layer of flavor. First, you have the bowl itself. A flour tortilla, fried in the shape of a bowl. Next comes a layer of beans, a layer of seasoned meat, cheese sauce, and topped with lettuce and tomato. Finish it off by adding a dollop of that guacamole you made earlier and drizzle more cheese on top. You’ve got yourself flavor that you don’t have to go searching for when you take a bite.
There exists somewhere a fancy type of kitchen implement that will make frying a 12″ tortilla into a bowl shape easy as pie. I don’t have this implement and I’d reckon you don’t either. Y’all don’t need that – use what my mama and I always used.
Tip: Lay a flour tortilla over the edge of the fryer and press down the center with an empty aluminum can to achieve the perfect shape.
Take a large empty can into a pair of tongs and push the center of the tortilla to the bottom of a preheated Dutch oven or bean pot full of hot oil. The sides of the tortilla will rise to the top and spread out a little. The fry only takes a minute. When the edges are golden brown, remove it from the oil. Voila! You’ve got yourself a perfect taco bowl and you didn’t need to buy a new gadget.
Taco Salad Pinto Beans
Canned pinto beans are a great staple to have in your kitchen. You can dress them up and get such amazing flavor out of them and they’re perfect for taco salads. Start by draining most of the liquid out of the can and pour the beans into a medium sized saucepan.
Tip: You can use my cowboy bean recipe here if you don’t want to use canned pinto beans.
We are going to cowboy these beans up just a little. Add a little of our Chili Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, and Mesquite Seasoning. I sure hope you’ve got these in your spice cabinet already but if you don’t, it’s alright. Use your old favorites and please give mine a try when you start to get low.
Leave these beans to simmer a while and let those flavors soak right on in.
Taco Salad Ground Beef
Brown up about a pound of 80/20 ground beef. Add the chopped white onion, and then the blistered jalapeno and poblano peppers. Make sure the skin is removed from the peppers and that they are diced. I leave the seeds in on mine because I like my food to bite back a little. You can take ’em or leave ’em, whatever makes you happy.
Add some cumin and some more of my Chili Seasoning and keep warm while we make the cheese sauce.
For this cheese sauce, I’m using Velveeta. It melts really well. In this case I recommend using half of the Queso Blanco Velveeta and half of the original Velveeta. If you like a kick, add some red pepper flakes and some of my Chili Seasoning. The final ingredient is chicken broth – this will make the cheese sauce a perfect consistency for drizzling.
Tip: Thin out the cheese sauce by adding a little bit of chicken broth. This will make drizzling easy.
Assemble the Taco Salad
Grab your taco bowl and layer some beans across the bottom. Layer about half of the ground beef on top of the beans. Next, drizzle a layer of cheese sauce. Add however much lettuce you prefer, sprinkle a little ground beef on top, and add some tomato, and the guacamole. Drizzle a little more cheese on top and dig in!
Do you mix up the ingredients in your taco bowl or do you eat layer by layer? Let us know in the comments here or on the video.
As always, Shannon and I thank you for enjoying our videos with us. Please remember to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and click like on all of your favorite videos. Check our events page or subscribe to our newsletter to find out about upcoming events. We will see you next time!
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Taco Salad – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 12 inch flour tortillas
- Oil for frying
- 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck
- 1 poblano pepper blistered and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper blistered and diced
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 ½ to 2 tbsp Kent Rollins’ Taco Seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning
- 5 teaspoons Kent Rollins’ Chili Seasoning or seasoning of your suiting (divided)
- 1 tablespoon Kent Rollins’ Mesquite Seasoning or seasoning of your suiting
- 1 15 ounce can pinto beans drain 3/4 of the juice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 head iceberg lettuce roughly chopped
- 1 Roma tomato diced
- 4 ounces Velveeta cheese diced
- 4 ounces Queso Blanco Velveeta diced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chicken broth
In a Dutch oven or deep fryer, add enough oil to deep fry the tortillas to create the taco bowls and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Center a tortilla in the Dutch oven or deep fryer and mash down with the back of a large tin can with tongs and fry until golden brown (see video). Place on a wire rack upside down and let drain.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, add the meat and cook until it begins to brown.
Stir in the poblano, jalapeno, onion, cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons Kent Rollins' Chili Seasoning. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside in a warm place.
Add the beans to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in Kent Rollins’ Taco Seasoning, 2 teaspoons Chili Seasoning, and Kent Rollins’ Mesquite Seasoning. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small saucepan over low heat, add the cubes of cheese. When it begins to melt, stir in the red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon Chili Seasoning, and chicken broth. Mix until smooth.
Add half of the beans to the bottom of the taco shell, followed by ¼ of the meat. Add the lettuce to your suiting followed by 1/4 of the meat and drizzle with cheese sauce. Top with tomatoes and guacamole on top.
- Serve immediately.
Guacamole – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 4 large avocados halved and pitted
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1 Roma tomato diced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapenos
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- ½ to 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 dash Kent Rollins’ Mesquite Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste
- In a mixing bowl, mash the avocados with a potato masher. Be sure not to over mash.
Add in the onion, tomato, garlic, pickled jalapenos, and lime juice. Mix. Season to your suiting with Kent Rollins' Mesquite Seasoning or salt and pepper.
- Cover and place in the fridge.