Home | Healthy Classic Taco Salad Recipe

Healthy Classic Taco Salad Recipe

by Heather

This classic taco salad recipe is fresh, flavorful, and packed with so much goodness! From the crunchy romaine lettuce base to the spiced ground beef taco meat, to the juicy tomatoes and other veggies, plus creamy cilantro lime sauce – this taco salad has it all! Serve it up your next taco Tuesday night buffet style and let everyone build their taco salad the way they like it.

healthy classic taco salad recipe

Healthy classic taco salad recipe

I love to add crushed tortilla chips to my taco salad. What about you?

For me, it makes taco salad extra fun. Sure, you could serve them on the side with salsa or guacamole, but that crunch of tortilla chips in each bite is extra special.

It’s the crouton of taco salad!

Another must in my taco salad is super flavorful lean ground beef with homemade taco seasoning.

When you use your own taco seasoning (which is super easy to make by the way!), you control the spice level.

We are a family with 2 adults, and 4 younger kids, so food can’t be too spicy.

You’ll find this taco seasoning to be at a good mild-medium heat level, but of course, spice it up to your personal preference!

cilantro lime sauce recipe

What type of dressing should be used on taco salad?

Taco salad dressing should complement all the taco salad ingredients.

Today we are using a cilantro lime dressing made with 4 easy ingredients. Such a classic recipe that goes well with any taco night, whether it’s tacos or taco salad.

Some other dressings that would pair perfectly with this healthy taco salad recipe include:

  • Ranch dressing
  • Catalina dressing
  • French dressing
  • Chipotle vinaigrette
  • Sour cream or guacamole
  • Or make up your own dressing!
ground beef taco salad ingredients

What you need for this easy recipe

ground beef taco salad

How to make ground beef taco salad

Scroll down to view the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, nutrition facts, and step-by-step instructions.

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the corn and sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the corn has a little color. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. In the same heated skillet, add the ground beef and saute, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Cook beef until it is no longer pink, add the taco seasoning, and stir to combine. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. To build your taco salads, you can either add everything into a large bowl or serve individual servings.
  4. Start with a base of chopped lettuce, then add the tomato, green onion, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, minced cilantro, as much or as little jalapeno as you’d like, and tortilla chips. Crush the tortilla chips for a crouton-like effect. Drizzle the cilantro lime sauce over your salad, toss, and enjoy!

Watch me make this easy taco salad recipe

The full how to video can be watched below, or on my YouTube channel!

What can I use in place of taco seasoning?

We love and use our homemade taco seasoning all the time! If you don’t have it ready to use, or don’t want to make it, here are the individual spices and amounts you’ll need for 1 lb of ground beef.

  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
easy taco salad for meal prep

How do you meal prep this classic taco salad recipe?

Taco salad is awesome for meal prep! Simply cook the corn and ground beef in steps 1 and 2, and be sure the rest of the ingredients are chopped up and ready to go.

Store the fresh ingredients in separate containers in the fridge. I love my glass Pyrex storage containers for this!

When it’s time to make your taco salad, build from the containers and enjoy your super-easy meal!

Can this be made low-carb?

Absolutely! To make this salad low carb omit the chips and beans.

The meat mixture and all the vegetables, along with the salad dressing will leave you with a super tasty salad!

Can this be made dairy-free?

Yes! Here’s how you can make this classic taco salad dairy-free but still with lots of flavors.

Omit the cheddar cheese that is included, and follow the substitutions in the cilantro lime sauce recipe to remove the kefir from the dressing.

Another great dressing option is a vinaigrette with chipotle powder added in for some spice and heat.

healthy taco salad with beef

Substitutions

Below you’ll find a list of substitutions that will work well in this healthy taco salad recipe. 

If you try something different out, please leave a comment below letting us all know how it turned out!

Ground beef – Use any ground meat in place of the ground beef in this recipe. Lean ground turkey, ground chicken, ground bison, and ground pork are all great options.

Romaine lettuce – Lettuce with a nice crunch, like iceberg lettuce, is a good alternative to romaine lettuce. Green leaf or red leaf lettuce will make a good base for your salad as well.

Tomato – Instead of diced tomatoes, use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.

Green onion – Amp up the onion flavor and try red onion or yellow onion instead.

Pinto beans – Black beans and chili beans would both be good alternatives here.

Avocado – While no other food can replace the flavor of avocado, a good substitute for the healthy fats would be black olives.

Cheddar cheese – Colby jack, pepper jack, and Monterey jack would be delicious substitutes for cheddar cheese.

Tortilla chips – If you’ve never added nacho chips or Doritos, let me tell you this, it’s a fun swap for the tortilla chips!

Japaleno – Sub in or add in green peppers or red bell pepper for a fresh veggie taste, but without the heat from the jalapeno. You can also add spicy salsa if you don’t have jalapeno on hand to give your taco salad a kick of heat.

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healthy classic taco salad recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Healthy Classic Taco Salad Recipe

This classic taco salad recipe is fresh, flavorful, and packed with so much goodness! From the crunchy romaine lettuce base to the spiced ground beef taco meat, to the juicy tomatoes and other veggies, plus creamy cilantro lime sauce – this taco salad has it all! Serve it up your next taco Tuesday night buffet style and let everyone build their taco salad the way they like it.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef, ground beef, salad, taco salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 592kcal
Author: Heather

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn if frozen, defrosted
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 cup tomato diced
  • ¼ cup green onion minced
  • 1 cup pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded (white or yellow)
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro minced
  • 1 jalapeno sliced
  • 8 ounces tortilla chips
  • ½ cup cilantro lime sauce dressing

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the corn and sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the corn has a little color. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • In the same heated skillet, add the ground beef and saute, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Cook beef until it is no longer pink, add the taco seasoning, and stir to combine. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • To build your taco salads, you can either add everything into a large bowl or serve individual servings.
  • Start with a base of chopped lettuce, then add the tomato, green onion, pinto beans, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, minced cilantro, as much or as little jalapeno as you’d like, and tortilla chips. Crush the tortilla chips for a crouton-like effect. Drizzle the cilantro lime sauce over your salad, toss, and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to tag me @fitmamarealfood or tag #fitmamarealfood!

Nutrition

Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 509IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 3mg
easy taco salad recipe

If you try this easy and healthy taco salad recipe, I’d love it if you left a star rating and comment below letting me know how it turned out!

XO

Heather

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