Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Bowl

My current job has a really fun Taco Tuesday tradition. Somehow I didn’t know about this into well into my time there but on Tuesdays, the line practically runs out the door while people wait for their yummy lunchtime tacos. Unfortunately I’m moving on and won’t be there for any more Taco Tuesdays. So, in homage to the cafeteria, PLUS to feed my hungry child, I decided to make my own tacos. In addition, my husband is always a fan of those taco salads that come in the edible tortilla bowl so I decided to surprise him with that treat for dinner too. Success all around! This dinner will satisfy your hungry family for sure!

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

To make the tortilla bowl, I placed medium sized flour tortillas into a brioche pan. I’ll be honest, I have no idea why I have brioche pans because I’ve never made (and possibly never even eaten) brioche (though I want to, after all, it is bread). But anyway, I put the tortillas into the pans, sprayed a light coating of nonstick olive oil spray on them, and baked them in a moderate (300 degree) oven for 25 minutes until crispy and lightly golden. Keep an eye on them because your oven may be quicker than mine and you don’t want a charred taco shell. If you aren’t lucky enough to be cluttering your kitchen cabinets with brioche pans, other pans will work too to create the shell, possibly a small metal (oven-safe) bowl. A quick pinterest search showed me that some people use an inverted muffin tin to get the right shape. So you have options. Or just use the taco filling for soft tacos, it’s still awesome!

Tortilla Shell

For the filling, I cooked onions in a large skillet until softened, then added garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. You can use a jalapeno too if you prefer extra spice. Then I added ground beef and cooked it until it was browned. Finally, I added in a can of crushed tomatoes and let the mixture cook until the liquid was evaporated because no one needs watery tacos!

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

The last step is decorating your taco salad with all your favorite toppings. I stuck with veggies, just some chopped lettuce, tomato, and onions but feel free to dress it up with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, or whatever floats your boat! Picky eaters will love to adorn their own individual tacos.

Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Shell

Don’t forget, Cinco de Mayo isn’t too far off…this would be a perfect way to celebrate–with a large margarita of course!


Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Bowl (adapted from Everyday Food)

Yield: serves 6-8

6-8 medium flour tortillas

nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (I used 4 small onions)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 6 cloves)

1 jalapeno chile, minced (optional)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

salt, to taste (I used 3/4 teaspoon)

fillings for taco salad such as lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, black beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, etc. (your choice!)


1. For the taco shell, place the tortillas into a brioche pan, on an inverted muffin tin, or in any oven proof bowl. Lightly coat with the nonstick spray. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes, checking frequently to ensure not too browned. Let cool slightly in pan.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and other spices, stirring the mixture together.

3. Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, until the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

4. Carefully remove the taco shells from the pan and place onto a plate. Fill the shells with the beef mixture and your toppings of choice.


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14 thoughts on “Taco Salad with Crispy Tortilla Bowl

  1. lovenerdmaggie April 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM Reply

    I love the idea of serving salad like this for a party this summer.

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:49 PM Reply

      That’s a great idea! I’ve definitely thought about making the shells in advance for a dinner party with a taco bar.

  2. Kirsten D April 8, 2014 at 8:30 PM Reply

    Looks GREAT! I love taco salad!!

  3. Kristina April 8, 2014 at 11:19 PM Reply

    I love taco salad, I will have to try this!

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM Reply

      I love how easy and versatile it is!

  4. Dawn Lopez (@dawnchats) April 9, 2014 at 12:26 AM Reply

    Yum, this looks amazing! I just looove the tortilla bowls! I really need to buy some of those molds, the possibilities seem endless. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM Reply

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading.

  5. Stephanie Pass April 9, 2014 at 12:52 AM Reply

    What a neat idea! I’ve seen those bowls in the store, but never thought about getting one to make my own taco bowl. I think my husband would love this. He much prefers flour tortillas over corn. And that taco salad looks amazing!

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM Reply

      Thank you. I’m pretty sure these bowls are supposed to be brioche pans and not taco bowls but I’m glad I found any purpose for them…I’ve moved them across the country and never used them until now!

  6. Mommy on Demand April 9, 2014 at 9:42 AM Reply

    I have one of those tortilla bowls and i forgot and have never used it. This weekend I will.

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM Reply

      It’s amazing what fun things I find in the depths of the kitchen cabinets that I’ve completely forgotten about!

  7. Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry! April 9, 2014 at 8:41 PM Reply

    I love that you baked tortillas to make your own shells! I don’t have brioche pans but I will try with the inverted muffin tin and see how it turns out!

    • Jessie April 9, 2014 at 9:46 PM Reply

      Let me know how it turns out. It seemed pretty good from pinterest but I haven’t tried it myself.

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