The College Housewife » Recipes » Salad » Healthy Taco Salad

Healthy Taco Salad

This Healthy Taco Salad is a layer-upon-layer of crisp, crunchy vegetables, beans, cheese and seasoned ground turkey all tossed with a homemade creamy avocado dressing. Enjoy it as a light lunch or dinner, or store it for meal prep throughout the week!

taco salad with ground turkey on large plate with fork

Why you’ll love this ground turkey taco salad

Piled high with all your taco classics! You heard that right. This taco salad has got all the fixin’s. I’m talking beans, cheese, sour cream, jalapeno, diced onions, tomatoes – it’s all there! But the best part is the super simple yet highly flavorful seasoned ground turkey, which requires nothing more than a packet of taco seasoning and some water.

Filling and satisfying! Thanks to plenty of protein from the turkey and black beans, along with fiber-filled vegetables like romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado, this is one of those entree salads that will leave you energized and satisfied. You won’t even miss the tortilla. Plus, it’s got a mix-and-match of flavors and textures that’s delicious and fun to eat.

Perfect for meal prep! This taco salad with ground turkey is so easy to pack away for meal prep. I cover plenty of storage tips below, just make sure to have plenty of meal prep containers so that the components can be stored separately for maximum crispness. Your future self will thank you.

taco salad recipe on large plate with fork

Ingredients

The ingredients for this healthy taco salad recipe have been broken down into three parts – the dressing, the meat and the salad. Most can be found in the produce section and global or international aisle in the grocery store.

black beans, cilantro, romaine, ground turkey, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, red onion, spices, sour cream

Creamy Avocado Dressing

  • Avocado (the riper the better!)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime juice
  • Water

Seasoned Ground Turkey

  • Olive oil
  • Ground turkey
  • Taco seasoning, homemade or store-bought
  • Water

Salad

  • Romaine
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Red onion
  • Black beans
  • Tortilla chips
  • Jalapeno
  • Sour cream, for topping!

Ingredient Substitutions and Notes:

  • Swap out the ground turkey for ground beef instead.
  • Use your favorite package of taco seasoning mix or make your own!
  • Go for white or yellow cheddar cheese, or opt for crumbled Cotija, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or Colby Jack instead.
  • Tortilla chips add a layer of crunch, but you can leave them out for an even healthier spin.
  • Skip the jalapeno if you don’t like spice or try pickled jalapenos for a tangy kick.

How to make healthy turkey taco salad

I like to start with the dressing before moving on to the meat and vegetables. That way, the ground turkey is still slightly warm as soon as I am ready to toss and enjoy. Here’s how to do it:

four step grid making taco salad recipe

  1. Make the dressing: In a food processor, blend together avocado, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and lime juice. Gradually pour in water to thin the dressing out a bit until it has reached your desired consistency. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  2. Cook the turkey: Set a medium saute pan over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and add ground turkey, stirring to break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook about 4-5 minutes, or until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning and water. Then, cook for 3-4 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated. Set aside until ready to add to the salad. 
  3. Assemble salad: In a large bowl, add romaine, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black beans, and tortilla chips. Gently mix together, then toss with ¼ cup or so of dressing. Or, serve all the dressing on the side. Top with seasoned turkey, jalapeno, and sour cream before serving.

Serving suggestions

Nothing says tacos to me more than a classic margarita to wash it all down. Plus, I feel like the healthy part of this salad negates any tequila in your margarita. I love to serve this as:

Mexican taco salad on large plate with fork

Meal prep and storage instructions

This taco salad with ground turkey keeps for days in the fridge, as long as it’s undressed and the dressing is kept in a separate container. Here’s how I like to do it:

  • Dressing: Store in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Ground Turkey: Cool completely, then transfer to its own container to store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Salad: Prep all the veggies and individual ingredients. Store the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onions, black beans and jalapeno in a large bowl covered with plastic or individual airtight containers in the fridge. Store the cheese in a separate container and keep the tortilla chips on the kitchen counter for last-minute topping (or late-night snacking!).

Recipe Tips:

  • Gently stream the water into the dressing. The quantity of water will vary based on how thick or thin you would like your salad dressing. I usually go until it is pourable.
  • Cook the turkey all the way through before seasoning. I find it’s easier to check for any pockets of raw meat before adding the taco seasoning since this will instantly turn the turkey a deeper shade.

Healthy Taco Salad FAQs

Is a taco salad healthier than a taco?

Since we are omitting the tortilla, I find this taco salad recipe with ground turkey to be a lighter, healthier and low-carb option. Omit the tortilla chips as well, for an even healthier option.

How many calories are in a bowl of taco salad?

This is a low-calorie taco salad as one serving is only 465 calories! That, along with the lean protein, healthy fats and nutritious fresh veggies, make it a meal to make over and over again.

Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes? Check these out!

If you make this Healthy Taco Salad recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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taco salad with ground turkey on large plate with fork

Healthy Taco Salad

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Salad
  • Method: Food Processor, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Healthy Taco Salad is a layer-upon-layer of crisp, crunchy vegetables, beans, cheese and seasoned ground turkey all tossed with a homemade creamy avocado dressing. Enjoy it as a light lunch or dinner, or store it for meal prep throughout the week!


Ingredients

Scale

For dressing:

½ avocado

¼ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup sour cream

1 cup cilantro leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp kosher salt

Juice of one lime 

¼½ cup water, depending on consistency preference

For meat:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground turkey

1 tbsp taco seasoning

¼ cup water

For salad:

12 medium heads romaine lettuce, chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, diced

½ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup finely diced red onion

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup tortilla chips, crumbled

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced, optional

Sour cream, for topping, optional


Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: In a food processor, blend together avocado, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cilantro leaves, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and lime juice. Slowly stream in water to thin the dressing out a bit. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to top salads. 
  2. For the turkey: Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add ground turkey, stirring to break up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the taco seasoning and water. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed. Set aside until ready to top on salad. 
  3. Assemble salad: In a large bowl, mix together romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black beans, and tortilla chips. Mix together salad with ¼ cup of dressing or serve on the side. Top salads with ground turkey, jalapeno, and sour cream, if desired, before serving. 

Notes

  • Salad Dressing: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Ground Turkey: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Salad: Prep all the veggies and individual ingredients. Store in a large bowl covered with plastic or individual airtight containers in the fridge. Keep the tortilla chips on the kitchen counter.

Keywords: ground turkey, easy, taco seasoning

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