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

18 comments on “Fast Food Review: New! Fully Loaded Taco Salads from Taco Bell

  1. So what’s new about this? …just the dressings? I swore you could always grab one of these at TB. I’m assuming the next iteration of this will either be the Volcano Fully Loaded Taco Salad or the Cheesy Fully Loaded Taco Salad…maybe the Fully Loaded Taco Salad Supreme……or the Volcano Crunchy Cheesy Fully Loaded Taco Salad Supreme :P

  2. Ryan says:

    @Bear…This was actually one of the only taco salads I’ve ever had from TB. Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised either if their are 10 styles of taco salad down the road. If they are as delicious as the “Fully Loaded”…I’ll be happy. Just no seafood salad please!

  3. Adam Bomb says:

    Holy cow, these are full of calories and fat! No more so than any of the giant burgers that BK are serving these days, but still…..

    These salads do look pretty good. I’ve been getting bored with iceberg lettuce lately though, and I’d like to see some variety in the lettuce at fast food places. I don’t know if BK still has the same salads they had a couple of years ago, but their salads used to be the bomb.

  4. Shayne says:

    I’ve actually had both of these new salads too. I’m not sure which one is better…I loved both. Great mix of ingredients…although yeah kinda steep on calories/fat and price.

  5. rob says:

    Funny that it’s neither a taco or a salad but it’s still a taco salad.

  6. @Rob – Hahahha, so true!

  7. Adam says:

    How come ‘salads’ are always so expensive at FF places? I know TB is trying to market these as being more dude-friendly, but for 950 calories I think I’d just go for 2-3 regular tacos or burritos (cheaper too).

  8. Amber says:

    Great review! Love all the pictures…yummy. I had the chicken ranch and it was soooooooo good.

  9. Will says:

    Agree with the value menu comments…it’s great. I had the Chipotle Steak taco salad…that sauce is really good. It’s smokey and a little sweet. It might be pricey but it tastes awesome and it is pretty filling.

  10. I agree with Adam. If I am at TB and only have $6.00 and want under 1,000 calories, I think that I rather do a few tacos instead. For $5.69, I would probably go to Qdoba or Chipotle and pay the extra $.75 if I was craving a taco salad. They do look good though and a great review Ryan.

  11. Heather says:

    I had the chicken ranch and it was really good. I didn’t understand the need for the ranch dressing, it tasted great without it, but I used a little anyway. I guess its to go along with the fact that they are fully loaded. I agree about the value, the ingredients barely came up to half of side of the taco bowl. I think it could have a little more in it. Definitely didn’t look like the pic in the video!

  12. Raiders757 says:

    Where is the “fully loaded” part? Is it bigger than the picture makes it look?

    It looks pretty darn small for the price. Not the shell, but what you get in it.

  13. Adam says:

    WIBI,
    Good call on Qdoba. I go to Taco Bell for insanly cheap stuff. If I’m going to pay that much for a “salad” I at least want it from a fast casual type of place.

  14. Kai says:

    It’s pretty hard to get a healthy salad at most of the major chains, but this in insanity. I bet you though that more than a few people will still think they’re healthy (without looking at the stats) because it’s a salad. They do look rather tasty though.

  15. Shanna Goetz says:

    I wish someone would also review the packaging when looking at new products. Did anyone else seem to notice that Taco Bell has switched from paperboard products to unrecyclable petroleum based plastic products? Has anyone even thought of the environmental impact of just the salad containers alone being thrown in the landfills across the U.S? Maybe you should.

  16. I’m not as big a fan as. I was actually really disappointed with it, I was expecting more for the completely ridiculous price.

  17. Ryan says:

    Yeah Zac…I agree, for the $5.69 price tag I was expecting something a lot bigger..hence the 5.00/10 Value Grade. Other than that and the nutrition (which was to be expected)… I loved it…but I don’t see it sticking around longer. Like most everything though, it will come back some day and hopefully it’s altered some to target the negatives with this attempt. Looking forward to the Volcano Menu.

  18. Amy says:

    I was at Taco Bell here in Ruckersville, Virginia yesterday. I am a loyal Taco Bell Fan, but yesterday, they did me wrong! I ordered a regular taco salad, which, by the way is not featured on their regular menu anymore. I found out that they put “seasoned” rice on it, only after I got home. I was so disappointed! I have to travel out of my way to even get there in the first place. Who’s ever heard of rice on a salad, anyway? That was a stupid idea! Now, I was told, I have to SAY I don’t want rice on my taco salad. Before I didn’t! I just don’t think that sour cream and rice go together. Yuck!