5 Ways to Make Taco Salads Great Again

Taco Salad in a Tortilla Bowl
Photo: GETTY

When Donald Trump posted a celebratory Cinco de Mayo picture of himself posing next to a taco bowl with the caption, “I love Hispanics!,” he started national conversations on countless controversial topics.

Including one about the taco salad.

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As much as we would love to unpack Trump’s tweet (Samantha Bee did it better than we ever could), we’re here now to tell you the much-maligned restaurant taco salad deserved the wrath it received on social media … and in life.

We get it: There is so little to love about a greasy, deep-fried tortilla filled with salty, over-seasoned ground beef, fistfuls of limp iceberg lettuce, out-of-season tomatoes, waxy shredded cheese and a baseball-size dollop of sour cream on top.

For the moment, let’s step away from the image of that giant, edible bowl, and return to a purer, happier taco time—when flavor, texture, heat and spice were more important than presentation, size and novelty. It’s time to make the taco salad great again.

And thus, we suggest the following five recipes that celebrate the Mexican-inspired dish in all its glory:

1. For when you want your taco salad to be as little like a salad as possible: Beef and Bean Taco Salad

Taco Cleanse
Courtesy My Recipes

Taco shells are surprisingly easy to make… and even easier to load with ground beef, salsa, beans and sour cream. And cheese. All the cheese.

2. For when you’re actually trying to eat healthy: Healthy Taco Salad

Taco Cleanse
Courtesy My Recipes

We get that it’s a little unorthodox to have quinoa in a taco salad, but then again, the very notion of “taco salad” is unorthodox.

3. For when you have leftover rice you don’t know what to do with: Taco Rice Salad

Taco Cleanse
Courtesy My Recipes

This filling recipe is ideal for large groups. Or, prepare it as if a large group is coming, and then eat it all yourself.

4. For when you’re feeling fancy as hell: Southwestern Shrimp Taco Salad

Taco Cleanse
Courtesy My Recipes

Shrimp = fancy. Blue corn chips = even fancier.

5. For when you’re less into meat and more into cheese and tortilla chips: Taco Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Taco Cleanse
Courtesy My Recipes

Let’s be real: The appeal of taco salads is their likeness to nachos.

WATCH THIS: We Tried It: The Taco Cleanse

RELATED: Does the Taco Cleanse Actually Work? One PEOPLE Staffer’s Brave Journey

Also, if you’re thinking about trying the taco cleanse, we believe that taco salads are fair game. But don’t forget to eat regular tacos, too. We mustn’t forget about regular tacos.

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