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walking taco casserole
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4.6 from 10 votes

Walking Taco Casserole

This walking taco casserole is the perfect easy dinner that packs so much Tex-Mex flavor! Crispy fritos, taco-seasoned ground beef and creamy black beans get baked with a layer of sharp cheddar. On top, a crisp and refreshing zesty ranch salad adds notes of freshness and brightness. Your family will love it and so will you!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: beef, casserole, fritos, ground beef, key lime, lime, mexican, ranch, walking taco, zesty

Ingredients

For the Casserole

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ 80z block cream cheese
  • cup water
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce I like Cholula’s Chipotle the best!
  • 2 cups Fritos
  • 1.5 cups black beans rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar such as Tillamook

For the Salad Topping

  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup tomatoes diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks scallions diced
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapenos
  • 2-3 tbsp ranch dressing
  • 1 lime juiced

Instructions

For the Casserole

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
  • Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high and add beef. Break it up with a spatula and cook for three minutes.
  • Add cumin, chili powder, garlic, smoked paprika and salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onion and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until most of the excess fat is absorbed.
  • Add cream cheese, salsa, water and hot sauce and cook for the mixture for another 5 minutes until creamy.
  • Spray a casserole dish and add a layer of fritos, the cheesy beef and the black beans with a sprinkle of salt. Top with the cheese and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

For the Salad Topping

  • While it’s cooking, assemble the salad.
  • Add the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, scallion and pickled jalapenos to a large bowl. Add the ranch dressing and lime juice and toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • When the casserole is done baking, top with the salad and a few more fritos. Serve immediately.

Notes

If you'd like to make this dish vegetarian, try swapping out the beef for two packets of extra firm tofu. You'll want to press the tofu before sauteeing it to remove any excess moisture.
You could also just use two cans of vegetarian refried beans if you'd like!
Although I haven't worked with it often, you could also try using seasoned jackfruit which would mimic the texture of pulled pork.