This delicious and healthy taco salad recipe is gluten free and loaded with veggies, extra lean beef, easy baked tortilla chips, dairy free cheese, and a simple tex mex salsa dressing!
The BEST Taco Salad Dressing Recipe
I’m always excited to see my blog reach thousands of new people in the month of January through their searches for healthy recipes on Google, Pinterest, or social media. While the bump in traffic is anticipated, it’s always fun to see it come to pass and know that many people have resolved to eat healthier and show their body’s some extra love for the new year. Today’s Healthy Taco Salad recipe is another great option that my current and new readers will now get to enjoy and I’ve been dying to share it with you all!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of taco salad, it’s the perfect summer salad. Back in the days before entering the nutrition field, I would enjoy it more “traditionally” with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, loads of cheddar cheese and sour cream, and a large portion of fried tortilla chips, and while I still crave the dish, I’ve figured out several ways to make a homemade version of this salad so that it is a little healthier as well as gluten free and dairy free for myself and those who have food allergies or intolerances. I still get to add my favorite toppings, but at least this way I can feel good about them.
Healthy Taco Salad Dressing Ingredients:
What goes in a taco salad?
To make my healthier, nutrient-dense taco salad that’s allergen-friendly, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Dark leafy greens (I used a spring mix of spinach, red chard, radicchio, and baby romaine) you may prefer romaine
- Cherry Tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- Organic Pinto Beans or Black Beans (canned or homemade)
- Red Onion
- Corn Kernels (I used fresh from frozen corn)
- Extra Lean Ground Beef (I used Top Grass organic, grass-fed Alberta Beef)
- Organic Taco Seasoning (Simply Organic brand is great!) You can also make your own taco seasoning
- Dairy Free Cheese (you can use any brand you prefer, I used Miyoko’s Mozzarella)
The Healthy Taco Salad Dressing Recipe Ingredients:
What salad dressing goes on taco salad? Taco salads are often enjoyed with packaged creamy dressing such as ranch or chipotle but I opted to make my own salad with a simple healthy salad dressing using the following ingredients:
- Salsa (jarred or homemade)
- Dairy Free Sour Cream (any brand)
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Cilantro
Is Taco Salad Healthy? What Makes This Salad Healthier?
My favorite thing to do to traditional, more indulgent recipes is to switch and swap ingredients to bring up the nutritional value! By using dark leafy greens instead of iceberg lettuce, there are more antioxidants and nutrients in the salad including vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium. The avocado brings in healthy omega-rich fats and vitamin C, and replacing the cheddar cheese with dairy-free mozza (made from cashews) makes this salad suitable for those with lactose intolerance or whey allergies.
To the healthy taco salad, I also added beans (not always found in traditional taco salad) which brings in tons of fibre and a nice dose of protein, corn for more fibre and b-vitamins, and the dressing is made simply from a mixture of olive oil, lime, salsa, honey, and dairy-free sour cream.
Instead of using fried taco chips from the bag, I baked my own chips easily (and quickly!) at home using fresh corn tortillas, salt, and a touch of organic taco seasoning!
How Many Calories Are in a Taco Salad?
If you’re wondering about taco salad calories, the answers will vary. The brands, ingredients, how big your servings are, and more will all play a role in how many calories are in your serving. for example if you make this salad and dressing and divide it evenly into 2 portions, it’s about 2,600 calories, but that’s assuming you eat half of the dressing, which you won’t because there’s more then plenty for several salads and then some.
Is Taco Salad Keto-friendly?
You can make your salad keto-friendly by not adding in some of the non-keto-friendly ingredients like corn. Doing this will help you to reduce carbs.
Now…Let’s Talk About The Beef!
I teamed up with Alberta Beef Producers to make this healthy taco salad recipe so it of course contains a perfect serving of what I like to call “the best beef in the world”. As a born and bred Albertan you might think I’m a little biased but truly, Alberta Beef is like no other and is celebrated and renowned for it’s amazing flavour and standard of quality. In Alberta there are more than 18,000 cattle producers who maintain a high standard of food safety, animal health and environmental stewardship, ethical animal care, and world-class processing facilities. Almost all of these producers are family farmers and having married into a farming family I have come to appreciate the hard work and care that goes into these day to day operations.
The Top Grass beef I used for this healthy taco salad recipe is produced only a few hours from where I live and their cattle graze beautiful landscapes Some of my favorite road trip moments include driving through the Alberta prairies and looking out the window to see fields of cattle roaming.
When it comes to nutrition and convenience, Alberta Beef is always a great choice and made the perfect addition to my healthy taco salad recipe. It’s a fantastic source of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, b-vitamins, vitamin d, and magnesium and can be used in so many ways. Even though I enjoy eating primarily plant-based we almost always have a package of ground beef or sirloin in our fridge or stocked in the freezer for easy weeknight meals including chili, lasagna soup, and pasta bolognese, beef and broccoli which makes amazing lunch leftovers, and perfectly grilled burgers in the summer months. This healthy taco salad recipe is another easy meal that is welcomed in January as we are all leaning to lighter meals post holiday season.
Looking to avoid ground beef taco meat and want to switch up the protein in this beef taco salad for something else check out these other flavorful meaty suggestions?
- Shrimp taco salads would be great for a nice beachy vibe. Add in some cooked tiny shrimps and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Ground turkey taco salad would also be great. For a turkey taco salad, you wouldn’t even need to do much because it cooks up almost exactly the same as beef.
What to serve with taco salad?
Serve taco salad in a tortilla bowl or served with some chips or even a nice 20-Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup. The dish itself is pretty filling and doesn’t feel like it needs side dishes to be complete. you can even top your salad with some plain greek yogurt if desired.
How to Make Tortilla Bowls for Taco Salad
Learning how to make taco salad bowls is easier than you may think. Simply place large flour tortillas in a glass bowl that has been turned greased with cooking spray and sat right side up on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F for 14-16 minutes. Remove when lightly browned and then allow to cool before filling.
How to Make Taco Salad
Make the tortilla chips as directed. Cook up the beef and drain the grease. Add seasonings and mix the salad together according to the recipe card instructions. This recipe is pretty simple and easy and is one that my family loves.
Does Taco Bell Have Taco Salad
Taco Bell Restaurants do offer a few different taco salad options at local restaurants. Check in with your stores to make sure they’re on the menu as different locations offer different products.
How Long Does Taco Salad Last In The Fridge?
Leftover taco salad could last up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container, but it’s best only if the dressing isn’t premixed with the salad as it can cause the salad to wilt faster.
Whether you are on the healthier eating train or not-so-much this January, you’ll definitely enjoy this delicious recipe so be sure to add it to your must-make list and pin the photo below the recipe to save this one for later!
If you love this taco salad recipe then you may also really love these other great salad recipes: