Fast Food Review: New! Fully Loaded Taco Salads from Taco Bell

I’ll have to begin this review by telling you I really didn’t have high expectations for Taco Bell’s latest creation going into it.  Not that I didn’t think it wouldn’t be good, it’s just that the idea of a taco salad didn’t really jump out at me like maybe a crazy, new taco would.  I am extremely glad I gave it a shot because Taco Bell’s New! Fully Loaded Taco Salads really impressed me.

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Top: Fully Loaded Taco Salads before the addition of dressing/tortilla strips. Bottom: Dress it up!

As is standard with most new Taco Bell creations, the Fully Loaded Taco Salads gives you the option of chicken or steak.  Each salad comes in a crispy tortilla shell that I found to be quite tasty as I left virtually no evidence when I was done.  The shell/bowl isn’t as hard as a tortilla chip as it breaks off pretty easily yet still supports the salad if you were to lift it up out of it’s packaging.  I found myself breaking off pieces of the shell and scooping up the salad as if I were eating nachos.

Chicken Ranch Fully Loaded Taco Salad

The chicken version is called the Chicken Ranch Fully Loaded Taco Salad and includes grilled chicken, lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream and loaded with chunky beans, cheese and seasoned rice.  A packet of a zesty ranch dressing and a small cup of red tortilla strips are also included if you’d like to top your salad with some extra flavor.  The grilled chicken is nothing new to what you’re used to at Taco Bell.  Nice, meaty chunks of marinated chicken that go great with the ranch dressing. It’s tough to go wrong with a chicken/ranch dressing combination.  This one was a no-brainer.  Such a tasty combo of ingredients that start getting the wheels in motion in my head of Chicken Ranch Tacos and Chicken Ranch Burritos…Come to think of it, these Fully Loaded Taco Salads are packed with such tasty ingredients, they would go great in any form of fast food mexican menu items.

Chipotle Steak Fully Loaded Taco Salad

The steak version is called the Chipotle Steak Fully Loaded Taco Salad and includes carne asada steak, lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream and loaded with chunky beans, cheese and seasoned rice.  A packet of creamy chipotle dressing is included with this salad and provides a little extra kick of heat.  Also, just like the chicken version, a small cup of red tortilla strips are included.  This was surprisingly my favorite of the two. I’m usually a bigger chicken fan than steak fan when it comes to Taco Bell’s menu items because I always seem to find the steak a bit too chewy.  I think it has to do with the size of the morsels of steak.  With the Chipotle Steak taco salad, the pieces of carne asada steak were cut very small.  It was more like little nuggets of steak rather than strips of steak. My jaw didn’t have to go through a workout chewing it.  I was very impressed and I just have to say, whatever they did to the steak…KEEP IT UP!  It was really a lot better than I expected.  The lettuce and diced tomato were fresh and not overwhelming.  Yeah it’s called a “salad” but I found that all the ingredients were distributed pretty evenly.  No overload of lettuce at all (but not quite like the commercial).  There’s nothing that really stands out as being “too much”. I might say the rice and beans were too little but I’m afraid the overall taste of the salad would change into something different if more was added.  Other than the steak, the only big difference in taste between this and the Chicken Ranch version is the sauce.  As I mentioned before, the creamy chipotle sauce provides a little extra smokey kick that really complimented the meal.  It’s pretty mild actually but very tasty.  The red tortilla strips have a hint of lime in them that provided another flavor to enjoy and a nice crunch. Very nice touch on the lime tortilla strips Taco Bell.

Cup of red tortilla strips. What a great touch. These crunchy red beauties have a hint of lime and are quite tasty.

I think the biggest challenge for Taco Bell was finding the right balance of ingredients because there is just a lot going on with these salads.  To their benefit though, a lot of good was going on.  My only major gripe would have to be the price seemed to be a little steep at $5.69.  Considering that Taco Bell has hands down the BEST value menu around, it was quite a change from what I’m used to. I don’t think the size of the meal and the price meshed well.  When I saw the price, I was expecting something slightly bigger.  Seeing as though I was so impressed with the meal after I was finished, I quickly forgot about what I paid and I would happily get one of these salads again.  With the new Volcano Menu coming out soon, the Fully Loaded Taco Salads might disappear for a while so do yourself a favor and get one of these fast.

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Pros: Impressive taste. Nice, crispy shell bowl. So many great ingredients, sauce packets and lime tortilla strips an awesome plus. Very good chicken version but I loved the steak version. Two choices.

Cons: Size too small for price tag. Yikes calories/fat! Don't let the commercial fool you, there is a decent amount of lettuce.

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 5.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.75/10
Price: $5.69

Overall GrubGrade: 8.75/10 Chicken Ranch (Very Good), 9.25/10 Chipotle Steak (Exceptional)

More Info: TacoBell.com
Nutrition Facts:
Chicken Ranch version
Calories - 960
Total Fat - 75 grams
Saturated Fat - 10 grams
Carbs - 78 grams
Cholesterol - 70 milligrams
Sodium - 1710 milligrams
Dietary Fiber - 8 grams
Sugars - 8 grams
Protein - 36 grams
Steak version
Calories - 950
Total - 59 grams
Saturated Fat - 11 grams
Carbs - 76 grams
Cholesterol - 65 milligrams
Sodium - 1760 milligrams
Dietary Fiber - 8 grams
Sugars - 9 grams
Protein - 29 grams