A seven-layer taco salad is made by layering meat or beans, lettuce, cheese, assorted vegetables and a Mexican-flavored dressing in a clear serving bowl. The specific ingredients are adjustable based on personal preference but often include tomatoes, onions and black olives.
The beans or meat usually go in the bottom of the bowl because they are heavy. If they are placed on top, they squish the lettuce. Cook ground beef or ground turkey with taco seasoning. Let the meat cool before placing it in the salad bowl. Rinsed black beans work well in place of meat or mixed in with the cooked meat.
Spread about 4 cups of chopped lettuce in an even layer over the beans or meat. Spinach also works as the greens for the salad.
Add the other selected vegetables one layer at a time. Each layer should be distinct when you look from the side. Layering lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, cheese and then the dressing creates an alternating color pattern. The name indicates that there should be seven layers, but the exact number of layers depends on the selected ingredients.
The dressing options vary. A simple ranch dressing works with the recipe. Add a Mexican flavor by combining the ranch with salsa and a sprinkle of taco seasoning. Another option is to spread layers of sour cream and salsa on top for the dressing. Put the dressing on right before serving so the salad doesn't get soggy.