Monday, January 21, 2013


When I first graduated from high school, I moved from a small town to the big city.  Victoria is a big city when you come from a town where the population is 4500.  Well I was far too naïve and immature to live on my own so my Auntie Cheri and Uncle Larry took me in.  Yes we were Cheri, Larry and Kari all living under the same roof.  Other than the first letters of our names, the names are pronounced the same.  When the phone rang and asked for one of us, the response was usually “Eh? Say it again, who do you want?” Cuz we never knew who they meant the first time.

My Auntie Cheri that came up with this “taco salad”; I have no idea where she got the idea from, but I’m glad she got it.  Cheri would serve this at a weekend gathering, she’d make a big pot of chili, put out the salad and the toppings; and then each of us would take a bowl and assemble our own salad.  This salad was darned delicious, and actually a couple of decades later it’s still a much loved meal!

I still make my taco salad the way my Auntie Cheri taught me, but I usually do it with leftover chili.  Y’all know I’m lazy so, I like to make a big batch of chili and get a few meals out of it.  Chili Taco Salad makes leftover chili so exciting, exciting I say!  Now you’re gonna need lots of napkins as well as a fork to eat the salad, cuz it’s fun to use the chips to scoop the chili and it can get kinda messy.  The chili and cheese taste so yummy all mixed in with the salad, so be sure to let some of that chili fall into the salad.

Chili Taco Salad is pretty versatile; you might like to party like Auntie Cheri, make a big batch of chili, and put out a whole whack of salad with fixin’s for your guests.  Or Chili Taco Salad may be the perfect solution to the chili you’ll have left over from the Super Bowl party, like this White Bean Turkey Chili.  You can even use your favorite canned chili in a pinch, and of course you can always put whatever toppings you like.

Here's what you do.

Heat the chili.  Use what ever chili you have.  I used my leftover White Bean Turkey Chili.
Make this easy cilantro ranch dressing using 3 tablespoons of your favorite bottled ranch dressing, 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk and 2 tablespoons of cilantro.  I don't like fat free or reduced fat ranch dressing; I'd rather use less dressing to coat the lettuce really well by thinning the dressing out with a little milk or water.

Pour the dressing over the lettuce, which ever lettuce you like, season with salt and pepper.

Give it a toss to completely coat the lettuce with the dressing.

It's best to assemble each person's salad individually.  I put half of the lettuce at the perimeter of each large bowl, distributed the tomatoes and corn evenly over the lettuce.  My avocado wasn't ripe yet, so it didn't make it into the salad.  If you have an avocado you can dice it up and add it to the salad.

Then I put a pile of chips in the middle of each bowl and topped the chips with hot chili.  I like the scoop tortilla chips cuz they hold a bunch of chili.

Sprinkle the top of the chili with cheese and scallions, and enjoy!


Serves 2

3              cups       Chili, (leftover or from a can)
3              Tbsp.       Ranch dressing, from a bottle
1 ½           tsp.        Milk
1              Tbsp.      Cilantro, finely chopped
5              cups       Lettuce
                            Salt and pepper
¾             cups       Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2                        Avocado, diced (optional)
½             cup        Corn, either fresh, frozen corn that’s been thawed
3              cups       Tortilla chips
2              Tbsp.       Scallions, chopped
2/3           cup        Grated cheese, cheddar or Monterey Jack

  1.        Heat the chili.
  2.       In a small bowl stir together the ranch dressing, milk and cilantro.
  3.       Once the chili is heated; in a medium bowl toss the lettuce with the dressing, season with salt and pepper.
  4.       It’s best to assemble this salad into individual serving dishes so, get two bowls or plates; lay the dressed lettuce on the bottom of each dish (if your dish is bigger you may want to lay it around the perimeter of the dish).
  5.       Distribute the tomatoes, avocado, and corn evenly over the lettuce.
  6.       Pile some tortilla chips in the middle of each dish; top that with the hot chili, scallions and cheese.
  7.    Enjoy!

This recipe was share at:
Watch Out Martha
TwelveOeight Pretty Things Party;


  1. Love versatile meals like this one...This style of taco salad is one that I can really enjoy. Thanks for sharing.


  2. i love the presentation of this salad! it looks and sounds absolutely delicious!

  3. This is WOOOONDERFUL! I've never used leftover chili for a tasty salad like this - feel like I've been missing out all these years! Great thinking!

  4. I always remember how my Mum used to have 1 taco and then make a taco salad whenever we did Mexican. I never understood it as a kid. Now I get it. It's delicious! Beautiful recipe :)

  5. your auntie cheri was so smart to create this recipe. i don't think i have ever craved for a salad before so this has to be darn good! lol

  6. looks delicious and i love corn in salads!! :)
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