Taco Salad Bar and Grilled Street Corn Salad with Basil and Cotija Cheese

I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco salad?! We have them a lot on weeknights because they come together quickly and all of the prep can be done ahead of time. A taco salad bar is also great for a crowd, especially when you’re trying to feed a lot of people who have various food allergies. I once made a taco bar for about 60 people at my church and everyone loved it. Here is how you can successfully prep and serve a taco salad bar to feed a crowd:

  1. There were just 6 of us for this meal, so I just kept the meat warm on the stove until my friends arrived then I transferred it to a dish for the table. When I made this for 60 people, I pre-cooked all the meat and served it in crock pots. I use McCormick taco seasoning and just follow the package instructions. It will work with basically any ground meet such as beef, chicken, or turkey. We typically use a lean ground turkey.
  2. I chop and wash all the romaine lettuce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge in containers lined with paper towels until ready to serve. This helps to soak up any residual moisture so you’re left with dry lettuce. Soggy lettuce is why salads at home never taste as good as a restaurant, so invest in a nice salad spinner. It’s a game changer!
  3. Prep all your toppings such as onions, tomatoes, beans, cheese, corn and cilantro. Some pickled jalapeƱos would be great as well! Place them in your serving dishes and keep them in the fridge until your guests arrive. Then you just have to pull them out and put them on the table.
  4. Serve with salsa and chips, and rice if you want.

Grilled Street Corn Salad

I made a grilled street corn salad to go along with the taco salads. I had street corn for the first time at a local taco place and fell. In. Love! I love the combination of the heat from the cayenne, creaminess from the mayo, and saltiness from cotija cheese. Then at another restaurant I had it as a salad where there were virtually the same ingredients, just in a salad form with the corn cut from the cob. This was my inspiration for this grilled corn salad.

I also need to shoutout to my friend who is allergic to cilantro for inspiring me to be creative and use another fresh herb. I chose basil and wow! The basil in this salad was probably one of my favorite parts about it. I’m so thankful I didn’t use cilantro. It’s not a typical flavor in street corn, but I’m never going back.

Also, in case you have never seen this tip before, use a bunt pan to cut the corn off the cob. It sits perfectly in the center of the pan to hold it up while you’re cutting and the kernels fall nicely into the pan without going everywhere. Again, game changer.

So, here is my recipe for a grilled street corn salad with basil and cotija cheese. Enjoy!