Taco Salad with Edible Cheddar Bowls

Inline_Taco Salad 1Taco salad made from seared steak, avocado, tomato, shredded lettuce, and creamy chipotle dressing is delicious without any embellishment. But if you happen to have cheddar cheese in the refrigerator and a few extra minutes to grate it and bake it, then why not make an edible cheddar bowl?

Cheddar bowls are crispy and salty and fun to eat. They can be big or small, for main course salads or appetizers. Best of all, these bowls are made from just one ingredient: cheese. If you tolerate dairy, then cheese bowls (or chips) are a tasty occasional snack.

Although cheddar is most often used (especially since it goes so well with taco salad), it’s definitely not the only cheese you can grate and bake. Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano (a raw sheep cheese high in CLA) are terrific substitutions.

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour

Servings: 4


grated cheese 1

  • 10 ounces grated cheddar cheese (or other types of cheese) (284 g)
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak (454 g)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (2.5 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (15 ml)
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, end trimmed off, leaves thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 avocados, sliced or chopped
  • A large handful cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Primal Kitchen Chipotle Mayo (240 g)
  • Juice of 1 lime


grated cheese 2

Preheat oven to 400º F/205º C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat.

To make large cheese bowls, sprinkle thin layers of grated cheese on the lined baking sheet in circles that are 6 inches/152 mm in diameter. Leave space between each circle.

To make smaller, appetizer-sized bowls sprinkle thin layers of grated cheese on the lined baking sheet in circles that are 4 inches in diameter. Leave space between each circle.

Bake about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Out of the oven, let the cheese set for a minute or two until it starts to solidify, then lift the cheddar rounds off the baking sheet with a wide spatula.

For large bowls, drape the circle of warm melted cheese over an upside down cereal bowl. Let the cheese cool into the shape of a bowl.

For small bowls, set warm cheese circles in a muffin tin, pressing the cheese down gently into the muffin tin to form a small bowl. Let cool. The cheese bowls can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Season both sides of the steak with cumin, chile powder and salt. Heat avocado oil in a wide cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the skirt steak.

Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the steak is nicely browned on one side, then flip the steak over. Cook an additional 3 minutes. Skirt steak is usually thinner and should be done cooking at this point. Flank steak can be thicker and may need an additional few minutes in the skillet. Or, finish the flank in the oven (already preheated to 400º F/204º C from the cheese crisps) until done.

Either way, let the steak rest 10 minutes before slicing against the grain (perpendicular to the striated lines you see in the meat) into strips no thicker than ½ inch/12 mm thick. So the steak fits into the Cheddar bowls, slice the strips into small, bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, toss Romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro and steak.
In a small bowl, whisk together Primal Kitchen Chipotle Mayo and lime juice.

Pour dressing over salad, tossing lightly.

Portion the salad out into the cheddar bowls right before eating.

Taco Salad 2

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12 thoughts on “Taco Salad with Edible Cheddar Bowls”

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  1. Wow, looks like a fun recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you Mark!

  2. Awesome idea! Can’t wait to try it. I switched to taco salads on our family taco nights, but sometimes it’s still hard to watch the rest of the family crunching away on their taco shells. This is a great idea. I’m guessing the family may even switch to this “shell” 🙂

  3. I’ve seen a similar idea on a small scale with taco cups and similar recipes. But, your version here is a much larger size, which could be quite fun. It’s easy to see how you could use the same bowl for many different dishes too, which is always a powerful outcome.

    1. Such a great recipe EXCEPT Waaaaay too much chipotle mayo!!! So disappointing! Luckily we only made half so I’ll try again with way less of the mayo. The cheese bowls were amazing (be sure to cook the hole 8 minutes, I pulled them out too early and had to cook them again, which actually worked okay). Also, the steak was amazing. Excited to try it again, but can’t emphasize enough to not use that much mayo.

      1. I halved the mayo, kept the same amount of lime juice- delish, and we still have leftover dressing to enjoy.

  4. We just had this for dinner, substituting ground beef for the skirt steak. Yum! Agree with the comment re: too much mayo. I cut it with some sour cream and that helped a lot. Delish!

  5. DELICIOUS!! Thanks for the recipe. Whole family (5 kids) loved it!

  6. Really ice recipe. I love to make new and extraordinary recipes I’ve ever made and this one looks great. Thank you for sharing