Taco salad casserole is made with a base of ground beef, pinto beans and lentils. It’s loaded with delicious vegetables, rice and shredded cheese to create a healthy balanced meal. This casserole recipe will easily fill up a hungry family.
Not only is it a delicious meal, but it’s also beautiful too! This recipe can be used for a weeknight meal or the perfect party dish. Serve it with extra crushed nacho chips for more crunch!
Taco Salad Casserole
Save this taco salad casserole recipe for the nights when you have a little bit more time and want to impress your family! It’s so beautiful and actually quite simple to make. I’ll show you how to do it step-by-step in the recipe card below.
- GROUND BEEF – You’ll need 1 lb of lean ground beef for this recipe. Ground turkey would also work.
- TOMATOES – This recipe uses a combo of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes.
- SPICES – To flavor the base of the casserole, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, and ground cumin are mixed in with the ground beef base.
- BEANS – This recipe uses one can of pinto beans and one can of lentil beans. You can use any kind of beans you’d like: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and white cannellini beans will also work.
- RICE – There is a layer of cooked rice inside the casserole. I used brown rice, but you can also use white rice.
- SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE – There is also one layer of shredded cheddar cheese under the colorful stripes. You can use any kind of shredded cheese that you want including mozzarella, and marble cheese.
- TOPPINGS – To make the colorful stripes you’ll need shredded lettuce, chopped onion, chopped tomato, sliced olives, and crushed nachos.
- COOK THE RICE: Cook 1.5 cups of rice beforehand. I like to use a rice cooker to help save time.
- BROWN THE BEEF WITH ONIONS: In a skillet over medium-heat, cook the ground beef and onions until the beef is no longer pink.
- TOMATOES AND SPICES: Add the tomatoes and spices to the skillet and let simmer for about 5 minutes. This will help to thicken the mixture.
- LAYER CASSEROLE: Pour the ground beef mixture into the casserole dish and create an even layer. Add 2 cups of cooked rice in a layer over top, then sprinkle on 1-2 cups of shredded cheese.
- TOPPING STRIPES: To create the stripes of toppings for a colorful casserole, I used shredded lettuce, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, and crushed nachos.
More Casserole Recipes To Try
- Chicken Olive Pasta Bake – one of my husband’s favorites!
- Hamburger Casserole – easy and great for a hungry family.
- Pizza Casserole – another family favorite!
Taco Salad Casserole
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- ½ onion - diced
- 2 cups diced tomatoes - drained
- ¾ cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste - 5.5 oz
- 1 can pinto beans - drained
- 1 can lentils - drained
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper - to taste
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- In a skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil and ½ diced onion. Cook until onion turns translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the ground beef and break into small pieces. Cook until ground beef turns brown and is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Mix together. Add the pinto beans and lentils.
- Add the spices: chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together, and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour mixture into casserole dish and spread out evenly.
- Add cooked rice on top and and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top.
- Add toppings in strips: shredded lettuce, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, and crumbled nacho chips.
- Dish into bowls with a large spoon and serve with extra nacho chips and salsa (optional).
- This dish can be served cold (as it is now) or reheated in the oven or microwave.