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Taco Salad – Our Most Requested “Secret” Recipe

By Krystal • November 4, 2022

We love to hear from guests after their trip! We frequently hear what an amazing time they had and how impressed they were with the meals our guides can prepare at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In fact, sometimes they even request recipes to make at home after their trip. Our most popular request is the taco salad recipe. We have been asked for it countless times, so I decided to write about it! Meals vary from trip to trip, but I have been lucky enough to eat this for lunch a few times on the river and it is YUMMY.

This meal goes by many names. You may have heard it called Taco Salad, River Chicken Salad, Train Wreck, or any combination of those things. Don’t worry, the ingredients are always the same.

Without further ado here is the “secret” recipe:

Taco Salad: From the Arizona River Runners Kitchen

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 min. (with help chopping!)


3-4 cups chicken, canned or grilled, bite-sized
1 cup tomato, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 cups tortilla chips, smashed
14 oz. can black olives, chopped
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 cup salsa
14 oz. canned beans, black, pinto, kidney, whatever, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup avocado chunks or puree
1/2 cup sour cream
Pita Pockets for serving


– Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl.
– Spoon into a pita pocket or serve over a bed of shredded lettuce.
– Bon Appétit!


– Goes wonderful with extra sides of salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, and/or tortilla chips.
– If you are going to save leftovers, leave the lettuce and tortilla chips out of the mix. Add to bowls individually when served.

If you haven’t rafted with us yet, you can read more insider tips on the blog and check out what the food is like. Our guides would love to impress you with their backcountry culinary skills!

No question too small!

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