Taco Salad in a Jar 

Prep Time

10 minutes

Prep Notes

I use 16 oz ball jars for this recipe.

Cooking Time

15 minutes, plus cook time of ancient grain


5 servings (double the recipe to feed your family dinner on plates and put the rest in 5 jars for the next day!)


  • 1 1lb package of ground beef or ground turkey of your choice (I like 85/15 or 93/7 over the 99/1 fat)

  • 1 packet any taco seasoning OR -my fave- Frontera All Purpose Seasoning Sauce (any flavor)

  • 1 cup your choice ancient grain, uncooked (quinoa, kaniwah, farro or freekeh)

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes washed (or 2-3 beefsteak or roma tomatoes)

  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce washed (or 1 head of iceberg)

  • 1 can black beans (I buy organic when possible)

  • 1 lime

  • 1 tbsp canola or grape seed oil

  • 1 tsp honey (local if possible)

  • 1/3 cup store bought or homemade salsa* (I love Trader Joes Fire Roasted salsa and any Frontera salsa or delifresh salsa from your local grocery)

  • Sea salt or kosher salt to taste


  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt

*Bill’s 6 Ingredient Best Salsa Ever

  • 5 vine or 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Juice of one lime

  • Salt to taste


  1. On the stove top, cook ancient grain of your choice according to directions on packaging.

  2. In a skillet, brown ground turkey or beef, drain excess fat and add in seasoning. Simmer with seasoning for 5 minutes.

  3. Wash and drain black beans. Place in bowl and stir in salsa.

  4. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Or, chop larger tomatoes.

  5. Chop romaine or iceberg.

  6. Combine oil, juice of one lime, honey and a dash of salt. Stir. Mix in with cooked ancient grain.

  7. All of the components are ready - Evenly portion out each ingredient into the ball jars, from bottom to top: grain, meat, beans, tomatoes, lettuce.

Option to add layer of cheese, yogurt and/or cilantro.

Option to add 2 slices of avocado just before serving.  


This is a “cheater” recipe because many of the ingredients can be substituted with a similar ingredient from whatever your fridge/pantry has to offer.  It’s a crowd pleaser, super easy to make, colorful and healthy! If you have eager helpers in the kitchen, this is a fun recipe to embrace their desire to help! Give everyone one task and then work together to fill the jars. A shout out to one of my favorite Chicago chefs, Rick Bayless, who now makes quality, scrumptious sauces and salsas (without preservatives) that you can find at the grocery.


Chia Leah


Entrees, SaladsBill Bostrom