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:

4.8 from 5 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.


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