Bowl with taco meat, lettuce, beans, avocado, and nacho cheese sauce

Weeknight Taco Bowls

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Less a recipe and more a template for making hectic mealtimes easier, Weeknight Taco Bowls are endlessly customizable and, most importantly, fast!

I’ll give you the basic taco meat recipe and a bunch of suggestions on how to craft your bowls. Your job is to take the basic taco meat recipe and run with it!

Depending on what you use as toppings and additions, this recipe template is low carb, Whole30, gluten free, paleo, and keto.

Weeknight taco bowls two ways with text overlay

Faster, more efficient mealtime

Weeknight taco bowls were born out of a need for something fast and easy. Why? Because my spouse originally created taco bowls when I was sick with food poisoning and didn’t have the energy to cook.

We ALWAYS have taco seasoning on hand — I highly suggest making a big batch and keeping it in an airtight container with your spices — so it was easy enough for him to make the taco meat and pull a few other staples out of the pantry to make a meal.

Now taco bowls are a staple for busy weeknights when we don’t want to eat out. As long as we have ground beef on hand, essentially everything else is shelf-stable so we can make it a meal with very little effort!

How to make homemade taco seasoning

I have held this recipe to the chest for a long time — previously, it was only available in my e-book Tacos Every Damn Day, which you can get for FREE by signing up for my email list!

But it’s time to share it with the masses for the simplicity of taco bowls.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • cumin
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • sea salt
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • black pepper

Make as big a batch as your container will allow. You’ll want this on hand for quick taco bowls!

Taco bowl recipe with grain free chips, taco meat, black olives, dairy free cheese sauce, and pickled red onions

All the topping and serving ideas for taco bowls

Well-seasoned taco meat is the tip of the iceberg with taco bowls. While some of these ideas are perishable, you can keep many toppings on hand for months at a time. That way, you’re ready for lazy or busy evenings when taco bowls are ready to shine.

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Corn tortilla chips — use Siete Foods chips for grain free
  • Refried beans
  • Nacho cheese sauce — use The Honest Stand for dairy free
  • Cotija cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Salsa (make your own or get storebought)
  • Quick-pickled red onions
  • Pickled radishes
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Matchsticked fresh radish

How to build a good weeknight taco bowl

As you may have figured out by now, you probably don’t want to pile EVERYTHING listed above into one bowl.

ALL THE FOOD does not equal a good meal! Instead, you’ll want to balance everything out in your bowl to create a solid, delicious meal.

Generally, that means you want to pick 3-5 things to add to your bowl and cap it at that. Too little and you’re just eating taco meat; too much and you’ve lost what’s going on in your meal.

Start with a solid base

Pick a base for your bowl — either the meat itself, romaine lettuce, or chips.

To build a good meal, you need an anchor! That’ll help you build solid meal.

Sometimes I like to make a taco salad by starting with chopped romaine and adding taco meat, pickled veggies, and cojita or feta cheese on top.

Other meals, I want something like nachos, so I start with chips and add meat, refried beans, salsa, and pickled red onions.

Even then, sometimes we’re making taco bowls and don’t have lettuce OR chips, so we’ll use the meat itself mixed with refried beans as the base and add whatever we have in the pantry (usually salsa, pickled red onions, and cilantro) for a quick meal.

More taco recipes to jazz up your meals

For EVEN MORE, I have a FREE taco e-book that’s packed with my favorite recipes and tips for epic tacos that you can get for free by signing up for my email list!

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear what you think! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.

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Overhead view of a skillet of taco meat with toppings surrounding it

Weeknight Taco Bowls

  • Author: Chelsea Joy
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Make the taco meat as directed, then pick 4-5 accompaniaments to build a taco bowl! Pro tip: make a double batch of the taco seasoning so you always have some on hand for a quick meal.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Taco Meat:

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning (See below)
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles (optional)

For the Taco Seasoning:

  • 4 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

For the Taco Bowls (all optional – mix and match!):

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Corn tortilla chips — use Siete Foods chips for grain free
  • Refried beans
  • Nacho cheese sauce — use The Honest Stand for dairy free
  • Cotija cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Salsa (make your own or get storebought)
  • Quick-pickled red onions
  • Pickled radishes
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Matchsticked fresh radish

Instructions

  1. If you don’t have taco seasoning already prepared, combine all the seasoning ingredients in a sealed container and shake vigorously until fully combined.
  2. Next, make the taco meat. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and use a spatula to break up the meat into smaller bits while it browns, 6-8 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and green chiles, stirring to fully combine.
  3. To build the bowls, pick a base (taco meat, chips, or lettuce) and an additional 4-5 toppings to round out the meal. A couple of our favorites are pictured, but craft something that works for you!

Keywords: taco bowls, paleo, low carb, gluten free

Chelsea

I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

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