Healthy Taco Salad ~ lettuce, chipotle seasoned ground meat, black beans, creamy avocado, sweet corn, fresh diced tomatoes, bell pepper and sharp cheddar cheese plus a simple 5-ingredient Salsa Verde Greek Yogurt Dressing.
When my youngest daughter was in elementary school her two favorite lunchroom meals were Popcorn Shrimp and Walking Tacos.
Popcorn Shrimp was the tiniest shrimp you could imagine with a thick breading, fried and served with ketchup. The Walking Taco started with a mini bag of Fritos topped with seasoned ground beef and the sort of warm, gooey “cheese” that requires air quotes to describe. The whole meal was served inside the actual Fritos bag.
I’ll admit, letting her buy these meals didn’t earn me Mother of the Year Award but overall, she was a healthy eater, loved fruit and would try most foods. She’s still the same way and since this Healthy Taco Salad is her brainchild I think Walking Tacos days are behind her.
Classic tacos, loaded nachos or gooey, cheesy enchiladas washed down with a tangy margarita are like old friends of mine. Mexican classics and I go way back but because I’d like my jeans to fit a little better and feel more energized overall, I agreed to a 5 Day Clean Eating Challenge pressing the reset buttong on my eating habits.
To be clear, this isn’t a cleanse; there’s plenty of tasty food options throughout the day. You don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry. Ever. Ask my husband.
The creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dressing balances perfectly with the spicy meat and other flavors of the salad but if you don’t have time or the inclination to make your own dressing, Bolthouse is your man. Er, dressing.
Healthy Taco Salad Ingredients:
(makes 2 dinner size salads)
- salsa verde (from the jar)
- red wine vinegar
- dry spicy ranch seasoning
- plain Greek yogurt
- olive oil
Tip: if you already have a taco recipe you enjoy, feel free to use it instead.
- lean ground beef OR turkey
- vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- chili powder
- 1 chipotle pepper PLUS adobo sauce from its can
- tomato sauce
- white vinegar
- lime juice
- (optional) jalapeno
- lettuce or mix greens of your choice
- black beans
- diced tomatoes
- bell pepper (any color)
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Tortilla strips, crushed tortilla chips or Doritos (optional)
Tip #1: I thinly sliced about ¼ of a tortilla sprayed with cooking spray and cooked the strips in a skillet until crisp.
Tip #2: Add or subtract ingredients and amount of lettuce to create your ideal Taco Salad.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together then refrigerate until the salad is ready.
Heat the oil in a skillet then add the ground meat and season with salt and pepper.
Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat then add the onions and garlic then cook the beef until it’s no longer pink and drain any excess fat.
Add the chili powder, finely minced chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and cook a couple more minutes then fold in the tomato sauce, vinegar and lime juice. Continue cooking 10-15 minutes over medium low heat. You want a slow bubble that reduces the thickens the sauce and lets the flavors blend.
Divide the lettuce between two individual dinner salad bowls (or one large bowl) then top with seasoned meat, corn, black beans, tomato, bell pepper and 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Pour on the dressing then gently toss to combine and last stir in the avocado and garnish with cheese and (optional) tortilla strips.
can’t won’t live in a world without carbs or wine so the goal is moderation in both departments. Whether or not you link arms with me on cleaner eating (and I hope you do), you’ll still love the big flavors coming your way with this Healthy Taco Salad.
If you make this recipe, leave me a comment~ I’d love to hear from you because silence isn’t always golden ~ especially if there’s a toddler around ~ then silence can be suspicious.
Healthy Taco Salad
- ¼ cup salsa verde from the jar
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dry spicy ranch seasoning
- 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Taco Meat (NOTE: your own favorite taco meat recipe can be used):
- ½ pound lean ground beef OR turkey
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 chipotle pepper finely minced PLUS 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce from its can
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- optional sliced jalapeno
- 4 cups lettuce or mix greens of your choice
- ½ cup corn
- ½ cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup bell pepper any color, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
- 1 avocado diced
- ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Tortilla strips crushed tortilla chips or Doritos (optional)
- Heat the oil in a skillet then add the ground meat and season with salt and pepper.
- Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat then add the onions and garlic. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink then drain any excess fat.
- Add the chili powder, finely minced chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and cook a couple more minutes then fold in the tomato sauce, vinegar and lime juice and continue cooking 10-15 minutes over medium low heat until the sauce reduces.
- Divide the lettuce between two bowls (or all in one large bowl) then top with seasoned meat, corn, black beans, tomato, bell pepper and 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Feel free to add or substitute your favorite taco toppings. Lightly dress the salad then gently toss to combine and last stir in the avocado and garnish with cheese and (optional) tortilla strips or chips.