Taco salad isn’t about the beef — it’s about the flavor. And, as it turns out, those flavors more than prevail even when the protein is shifted from ground beef to ground turkey. This is a Healthy Taco Salad made with flavorful, taco-seasoned ground turkey, crisp lettuce, beans, tortilla strips, and more! You won’t be missing the beef…just the calories.
Healthy Taco Salad is an easy, low-carb, 20-minute meal that requires only a small amount of prep, and can be made in advance for meal prep purposes! Top it with a dollop of sour cream or guacamole and serve up a new weeknight family favorite!
- Ground Turkey
- Taco Seasoning
- Chopped Lettuce
- Red Onion
- Kidney Beans
- Cheddar Cheese
- Black Olives
- Tortilla Strips
For a Healthy Taco Salad, swap out the ground beef for ground turkey and choose romaine lettuce over iceberg for more nutritional value. For extra protein and a delicious contrast in texture, creamy red kidney beans are an excellent choice for adding to your Healthy Taco Salad. Olives will give the salad a brine-y kick, red onion works well to add an additional bit of spice, and fresh tomatoes for a sweet burst of flavor.
As you know, taco salad typically comes in a big, giant tortilla bowl, and the purpose of the tortilla bowl (other than aesthetics) is the crunch. We can implement that just as well via the addition of store-bought tortilla strips. Even still, the tortilla strips won’t add much nutritional value to your salad, but we can’t really call it Taco Salad without them, now can we? You’ll typically find these packages in the produce section of your grocery store, near the lettuce.
Last, but certainly not least, cheese. You can use Cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack, or a Mexican blend for topping off this Healthy Taco Salad. Feel free to choose low-fat varieties or leave it out altogether, if desired.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY TACO SALAD
- Cook the Turkey Taco Meat – For the turkey taco meat, add the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then, add the turkey and sprinkle over the taco seasoning. Break apart the meat and saute until fully cooked. Transfer the cooked turkey to a separate bowl using a slotted spoon, and set aside until ready to use.
- Assemble the Salad – To assemble your Healthy Taco Salad, add the romaine lettuce to a bowl, top with cooked turkey, diced onion, rinsed kidney beans, grated Cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of tortilla strips. Drizzle with the desired dressing, serve and enjoy!
TACO SALAD DRESSING
To top off your Healthy Taco Salad, you can stick with a standard dollop of salsa, or go with a drizzle of low-fat Ranch or Catalina dressing.
Catalina dressing (a less creamy version of French dressing) is by far the most popular dressing for a traditional taco salad. It is a ketchup-based dressing that’s flavor profile is mostly sweet, with a touch of tang.
HOW TO MAKE CATALINA DRESSING
- In a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika, celery salt, cayenne pepper and onion powder. Whisk to combine.
- Very slowly, stream in the oil, whisking all the while until completely emulsified.
TACO SALAD MEAL PREP
Every time I whip up a batch of Healthy Taco Salad, I am reminded just how much I love it. It is one of my favorite go-to lunches. I’ve found that if I simply store the prepared ingredients in small separate containers, nothing gets soggy, and it can be stretched for days.
This simple practice enables me to easily put together a filling, healthy and desirable lunch option that never seems to get old.
5 MORE HEALTHY SALADS YOU’LL LOVE
- Black-Eyed Pea Salad is a healthy salad loaded with light and refreshing ingredients. It can be served as the main event or on the side!
- Mexican Bean Salad is a vibrant, hearty salad made up of three different types of beans and a flavorful combo of fresh vegetables coated in a zingy cilantro-lime dressing.
- Watermelon Arugula Salad topped with feta cheese, cucumber, and a quick and easy Serrano-Lime Dressing is the perfect mix of sweet and savory, cool and spicy, and it is without a doubt the ultimate summer salad!
- Cobb Salad is a classic American salad featuring a savory combination of hearty ingredients like juicy chicken breasts, hard-boiled eggs, creamy avocado, pan-seared bacon, blue cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes, and crisp, chopped lettuce!
- Shrimp and Tomato Salad is an easy tomato recipe featuring shrimp, tomatoes and Romaine lettuce, topped with homemade Green Goddess Dressing.
Healthy Taco Salad is an easy, low-carb, 20-minute meal made with flavorful, taco-seasoned ground turkey, crisp lettuce, beans, tortilla strips, and more!
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- pinch of onion powder
- 1/3 cup avocado oil (or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or canola oil)
- 1 pound 85/15 ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning preferably low-sodium, store-bought or homemade
- 4 cups chopped lettuce Romaine, Iceberg or preferably a mix of the two
- 3/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 16 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 4 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
- 1-2 vine-ripened tomato seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup store-bought tortilla strips
For the Catalina dressing, in a small mixing bowl, add ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika, celery salt, cayenne pepper and onion powder. Whisk to combine.
Very slowly, stream in the canola oil, whisking all the while until completely emulsified. Set aside until ready to serve.
For the turkey taco meat, add 2 tablespoons canola oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and sprinkle over the seasoning. Break apart the meat and saute for 6-8 minutes, or until fully cooked. Transfer turkey to a separate bowl using a slotted spoon, and set aside until ready to use.
To assemble the salad, add the romaine lettuce to a bowl, top with cooked turkey, onion, beans, cheddar, black olives, tomatoes and tortilla strips. Drizzle with the desired amount of Catalina dressing, serve and enjoy.
Catalina dressing recipe makes just about 2/3 cup.