Penny’s Taco Salad #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on September 29, 2013

Penny's Taco Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Ever notice how some cravings revolve around texture rather than taste? Sometimes I want something creamy, decadent, then other times it’s all about the crunch, which happens to be the theme of this week’s #SundaySupper! Susan over at The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen is hosting a crunch-fest, and below you’ll find dozens of recipes loaded with crunchy goodness. I’m bringing Penny’s famous taco salad to this virtual shindig.

I was first introduced to Penny’s taco salad many years ago when we were both teaching aerobics for Richard Simmons. Now, it may seem odd that a couple of aerobics instructors would be feasting on stuff that’s, uh, not quite so low-cal, but hey, it’s salad, right? Penny would bring this to every potluck and serve it at every party she hosted. Actually, she still does, and I love her for it. Often I would skip over the other offerings just so I could load up on this taco salad–there’s something about the crisp lettuce mixed with crunchy chips and all the other fixins that’s so satisfying.

Richard Simmons Group

A small part of the Richard Simmons gang–I’m there front and center with the bad 80s hair, and Penny’s to the right with the fancy toes.

Anyway, while I’ve always considered her version perfection, I have modified things slightly, which I’ve spelled out in the notes below. This salad can feed a crowd if you’re bringing it to a potluck, but it can also serve as the main course if you’re having just a few folks over for a casual dinner. Either way, your guests will be pleased, and you’ll love the fact that it’s super easy to make.

Penny's Taco Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Brown the ground beef over medium heat and add the seasonings. Once the meat is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and let cool.

Penny's Taco Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

While the meat is cooling, prep all your veggies. Rinse and drain the beans. Now go find your biggest salad bowl. We’re talking B.I.G.

Penny's Taco Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

If you’re feeling all festive, arrange everything decoratively in the bowl.  Add the chips and toss with the dressing just before serving.

Penny's Taco Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

See all that good stuff in there? How can anyone resist?!

Here’s the printer friendly version:

4.9 from 7 reviews
Penny's Taco Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Crisp iceberg lettuce is tossed with seasoned beef and other fixins to make the perfect taco salad.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, drained and chopped
  • 1 lb sugar plum tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 bag (2 cups) shredded cheddar or Monterey jack
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can black olives
  • 1 10 oz bag corn chips*
  • 1 bottle ranch dressing
  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, stirring to fully coat the meat. Once the meat is cooked through, remove from heat and cool.
  2. While the meat is cooling, prep the veggies. Add all ingredients except the corn chips and ranch dressing to a very large salad bowl. You can arrange them decoratively as pictured here, or just toss them in.
  3. Immediately before serving, add the corn chips and ranch dressing, and toss until everything is well coated with the dressing.
*Feel free to use a large bag of tortilla chips instead, which is the original recipe. Just crush them up before adding to the salad. In the original recipe, the meat is not seasoned with anything but salt and pepper, but I like to toss in some authentic taco flavor.

Also note, 8 servings would be as a meal--this will feed a crowd as part of a potluck.


Look at all the wonderful recipes the other #SundaySupper contributors have for you!

Crispy Appetizers:

Bitterballen from The Urban Mrs.
Caprese Wontons from Jane’s Adventure in Dinner
Crispy Broccoli Cheddar Bites  from Curious Cuisiniere
Waldorf Salad from Noshing With The Nolands

Crunchy Entrees and Sides:

Crunchy Baked Chicken with Homemade Shake and Bake  from Growing Up Gabel
Crunchy Crusted Chicken Strips with Chipotle Honey Mustard from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventure
Flautas de Rajas con Queso (Cheesy Poblano Pepper Taquitos) from La Cocina de Leslie
Penny’s Taco Salad from Webicurean
Popcorn Chowder from The ROXX Box
Rosemary Garlic Croutons on layered Savoy Cabbage Soup from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Strawberry and Mozzarella Flatbread from Family Foodie

Munch on Snacks:

Crunchy & Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Crunchy Granola Bars (Better than Nature Valley) from Shockingly Delicious
Crunchy Pumpkin Pie Spice Roasted Chickpeas from Daily Dish Recipes
Duck Fat Chex Mix from The Texan New Yorker
Easy Vegan Granola from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Fried Veg Momos with Cheese Recipe from Masala Herb
How to Make Homemade Sweet and Salty Trail Mix from  Neighborfood
Orange Spiced Cashews from Hip Foodie Mom
Peanut and Pretzel Popcorn Balls from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from Hezzi-D’s Cooks and Books
Slow Cooker Bar-B-Q Party Mix from Hot Mamma’s Kitchen Chaos
Sourdough Grissini from girlichef
Spicy Lentil Crackers from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pepitas from Alida’s Kitchen
Sweet Potato Chips from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Unbaked Healthy Oatmeal Sesame Bars from My Trials In The Kitchen
Vanilla Almonds from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Crisp Dessert:

Boo Berry Cereal Treats from Pies and Plots
Choco-Caramel Squares from Basic N Delicious
Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Rice Krispie Treats from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Pecan Biscotti from The Food Army Wife
Cookie Brittle from Juanita’s Cocina
Double Banana Pie Krispie Treats from What Smells So Good?
Honeycomb Crunch Candy from Food Lust People Love
Momofuku Chocolate Chip Cornflakes Cookies from Ninja Baking
Nutty Wedges with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream from Magnolia Days
Salted Caramel Cashew Cookies from Mess Makes Food
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies from Take a Bite Out of Boca

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Sunday Supper Movement

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here ? Sunday Supper Movement.


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Christie September 29, 2013 at 3:24 am

Mmmmmm I LOVE taco salad. #droolworthy


Susan September 29, 2013 at 3:35 am

I LOVE taco salad. Whenever it was taco night growing up, I’d break up my tacos into “salad” it was easier to that way anyway! Also can you really resist a salad that’s adorned with fritos? 🙂


Liz September 29, 2013 at 3:36 am

Whoa, what a gorgeous taco salad! It’s been way to long since I’ve made or eaten this! Yours looks terrific!


Helene D'Souza September 29, 2013 at 3:58 am

hm just the other day I was watching a movie called perfect sense. There was a part in the movie where people could not taste or smell food anymore and restaurants would focus on the texture of food instead. Texture has a big importance in food and your salad shows us exactly that. I could finish it all!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers September 29, 2013 at 4:44 am

You taught aerobics for Richard Simmons? How cool is that!!! I love your 80’s hair do!!

Now for Penny’s taco salad, yummy!!!!!! I never thought taco salad for crunch, but it is the perfect crunch!!! Awesome recipe!!


Hezzi-D September 29, 2013 at 4:47 am

That is a seriously beautiful taco salad! It almost looks too good to eat!


Family Foodie September 29, 2013 at 6:03 am

What a gorgeous Taco Salad! Can’t wait to try it.


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom September 29, 2013 at 7:08 am

You used to teach aerobics for Richard Simmons?! How awesome is that? and I love the 80s photo . . totally classic! and I LOVE this salad!!! and it’s so pretty! looks delicious!


Stacy September 29, 2013 at 7:23 am

That is beautiful, Anne! Who could resist those flavors and that crunchy Frito bottom layer?! I’ve pinned this on my Recipes to Try board, for the next potluck I’m invited to.

And thanks for sharing the photo of you and your colleagues! It’s always fun to have a look back and laugh together.


Renee September 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

Oh my just look at that lovely pile of goodness on top of those Fritos!!! So it’s a single serving salad right? Yep, I’m sure.


Jen @JuanitasCocina September 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

OMG! I love Richard!!!!! And this salad? I’d eat it every day!


Tara September 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

I adore taco salad and corn chips are my number one favorite for a chip. Your salad is gorgeous!!


Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious September 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

Looks like Taco Tuesday to me!


Julie @ Texan New Yorker September 29, 2013 at 9:59 am

Oh, I love taco salad! Yours looks fabulous, and I’m really digging the Fritos. 🙂


Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen September 29, 2013 at 10:08 am

You just made me crave this taco salad……for breakfast!!! 🙂


Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips September 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

Bring me the bowl, a fork, and maybe some guacamole, and I am ready to dig in!!


Camille September 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

I love the Frito’s! I need to put this on our menu soon – my kids will love it.


Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) September 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm

MInus the olives, this is exactly how the mexican place near us used to make their salad. Miss it!


Vicki Bensinger September 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm

My family loves tacos and in fact thought about making them tonight. I’m glad I didn’t because I think I like your recipe better. I’ll have to try your next time I make them. I love how you plated them up, really pretty.


Alida September 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Mmmmm….I love taco salad! These looks wonderful!


Cheryl King September 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm

My family loves a dish like this which we call stack ups. We serve it as a buffet, we lay out all the ingredients and let each individual make their own salad. That one uses Fritos. Another delicious salad like this uses Cool Ranch Doritos and Thousand Island Dressing. Any way you stack it, you can’t beat the crunch of a delicious Taco Salad!! Thanks for sharing with the Crunch bunch at #Sunday Supper


Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere September 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

My husband would go crazy about the frito base to this taco salad! Yum!


Courtney @ Neighborfood September 30, 2013 at 11:09 am

I could eat taco salad at least once a week and I always appreciate having another recipe around to mix it up. I love the way you arranged it too! Looks so fancy!


Cindys Recipes and Writings September 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

So colorful and crunchy! 🙂


Bea September 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Did you say Taco Salad? I must join this party – love taco saad and this version looks fantastic!


Faye Leong October 1, 2013 at 5:49 am

I should say thank you to both you and Penny for this wonderful colorful Taco Salad. Love the way you present it, well done!


Jane's Adventures in Dinner October 1, 2013 at 7:46 am

MUST have this treat this week. Small one will go bonkers and I will be the coolest mom ever.


Tara October 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

We are making this on Tuesday, can’t wait!!!


Anne Papina October 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Let me know how it turns out! If you’re near a Trader Joe’s and you like cilantro, try it with their cilantro dressing–it’s a nice change from the ranch!


Jen @ Keto Recipes January 30, 2018 at 2:31 am

We enjoyed a lot on this taco salad. Will make this again very soon :).


Monica July 16, 2019 at 8:05 am

Yummy, These are something that I was looking for a very long time. Thanks for sharing.


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