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In my kitchen, hot summers equal easy, one-pan dinners that avoid the oven and don’t require keeping the stove on for too long. Salads are perfect for checking those boxes, but of course you still need some protein in there to make it a full meal. That’s where this easy and healthy taco salad recipe with ground beef comes in — you’re going to love it!
What Is Taco Salad?
You’ve probably seen ground beef taco salad at restaurants before. It’s basically like an enormous Mexican taco in bowl form — no taco shell needed! Unlike most restaurant versions, my healthy taco salad recipe is low carb and gluten-free.
Is taco salad healthy?
Yes, this taco salad bowl is healthy! It uses natural and fresh ingredients.
Why You’ll Love This Taco Salad Recipe
- The best ground beef salad
- Healthier take on tacos
- Quick and easy
- Customizable taco salad ingredients
- Ready in 20 minutes
What makes this the best taco salad recipe is simple ingredients and minimal prep. After browning the meat and chopping the veggies, all you have to do is mix everything together!
Easy Taco Salad Ingredients
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for taco salad recipes, what each one does, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Ground beef – I prefer 85/15 for a ground beef taco salad, but you can use any kind you like. If you don’t like beef, you can also replace this with ground turkey, or even Mexican chorizo or shredded chicken.
- Avocado oil – Just a bit for browning the beef. Olive oil works fine as well.
- Taco seasoning – I like to make homemade taco seasoning, but store bought saves time and is convenient. Check labels to avoid fillers and sugar if possible. I like this store bought taco seasoning, but it does not contain salt, so you’ll need to add 1 teaspoon of salt if your seasoning is unsalted.
- Romaine lettuce – Romaine is my go to for ground beef salads, but you can use any kind of greens you like.
- Grape tomatoes – Served halved in the salad. You can also use cherry tomatoes, or chop up larger tomatoes, such as roma.
- Shredded cheese – I usually use cheddar cheese, but you can also try a Mexican cheese blend, or pepper jack if you like a kick. You can omit if you want to avoid dairy.
- Avocado – Avocado is a must for a healthy taco salad! You can also swap this with guacamole if you like.
- Onions – I used green onions, but any kind you like will work. Diced red or white onions also work great.
- Salsa – I like this pre-made one — medium heat and clean ingredients! Choosing different kinds is an easy way to get creative without adding complexity. Use mild salsa if you want it mellow, spicy if you want a kick, or go outside the box with more unique flavors like green chile or peach. You can totally make your own, too — try simple fresh tomato salsa or avocado salsa verde.
- Sour cream – Salsa and sour cream stand in lieu of a dressing here, which works out surprisingly well. Why spend time creating a complicated taco salad dressing, when these work just as well? When you mix it all up, it tastes like there’s dressing in there. If you need a dairy free option, swap this with coconut cream and a bit of salt.
You can easily customize this healthy taco salad recipe to your liking. Feel free to throw in any other veggies you have on hand, or omit anything you don’t like. That’s one of the great things about easy salad recipes – you don’t have to be that precise!
Ultimately, what goes in a taco salad is very much up to you, but no matter what combo you choose, the key to making taco salad healthy is using natural ingredients.
You really don’t need any store bought dressings or chips in there. But, for those that do want a little crunch, you can try adding tortilla chips (I make these low carb tortilla chips!).
How To Make Taco Salad
This section shows how to make taco salad with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
Possibly the best part of this taco salad recipe is that the whole thing is on the table in merely twenty minutes. The only cooking involved is browning the ground beef on the stove. So simple.
- Brown beef. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned.
- Add taco seasoning. Stir seasoning into the ground beef until combined. If you like, you can also add 1/4 cup of water when adding the seasoning and let it simmer a bit.
- Combine taco salad ingredients. Place the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, onions, salsa, and sour cream into a large bowl. When the taco salad meat is done, add it to the bowl.
- Toss and enjoy! Serve in bowls or plate individually.
This taco salad recipe also makes a generous amount – six large servings to feed even a larger family. But if you don’t need that many, don’t worry. It’s also super easy to adjust it to fewer servings if you need to, or store it for later if you plan ahead.
- To store: Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you know you’ll have leftovers, set extras aside without the sour cream, salsa, and avocado, as these are best added fresh. The beef is also best stored separately so that you can reheat it later.
- To reheat: Reheat ground beef taco meat in a hot skillet or in the microwave before adding to the salad.
- To meal prep: Brown the meat with taco seasoning and chop all your taco salad ingredients. Store in meal prep containers untossed, with the sour cream, salsa, and beef stored separately. Don’t cut the avocado ahead of time. Right before serving, heat the meat and add to the salad. Add sour cream, salsa, and freshly cut avocado, and toss together.
Wondering what to serve with taco salad? I really like 4-ingredient almond flour biscuits on the side. But you really don’t need anything — it’s an easy one bowl dinner on its own!
More Healthy Mexican Recipes
If you have Mexican night (or Taco Tuesday!) at your house, this low carb taco salad will fit right in. When we do it, we often have:
- Wraps & Tacos – Made with my low carb tortillas or crispy cheese taco shells
- Taco Stuffed Peppers
- Chicken Fajitas
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Mexican Beef Casserole
But this easy taco salad is even simpler than all of those, and it’s still packed with all your favorite Mexican flavors.
Tools To Make Ground Beef Taco Salad
- Heavy Bottom Skillet – One of my favorite sets! The larger one is the perfect size and has a heavy bottom for browning the beef evenly for this taco salad recipe.
- Nesting Bowls – This set of bowls includes all different sizes. The large bowl will be perfect for mixing your salad.
Healthy Taco Salad Recipe
Easy Healthy Taco Salad Recipe with Ground Beef
Learn how to make taco salad in just 20 minutes, using common ingredients! The whole family will love this EASY, healthy taco salad recipe with ground beef.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Stir taco seasoning into the ground beef until well combined. If you like, you can also add 1/4 cup of water when adding the seasoning and let it simmer a bit.
Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the ground beef. Toss everything together.
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Nutrition information is estimated based on 85/15 ground beef and typical tomato salsa.
Serving size: 1/6 of entire recipe
Recipe from The Easy Keto Carboholics’ Cookbook.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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This is a fantastic recipe! And so easy too which is a plus. I didn’t have any avocado handy so I substituted some sliced black olives. Delicious.
I was looking to find ideas to make a healthier taco salad. This worked for me and the flavors were great. I pretty much followed the recipe with a few exceptions. I used ground turkey in place of beef and added corn and olives for some additional flavor. I crumbled tortilla chips and added on top. Flavorful and simple.
I added two containers of sliced flat steak to the meat, used hot pepper cheese, sauteed jalapenos, baked a ruffled shell (one ruffled pan on the bottom/with one on top to hold it in place and give it shape)…to hold everything, melted some of the cheese in the tortilla before I put the meat in (to keep the juices from flowing through the shell, and topped the salad with those colorful strips of corn tortillas.
So quick to put together and so tasty!!
Love this salad! Can the taco meat be frozen for later use?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Donna, Yes, it can be frozen.
How many does this serve as a side?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Cheryl, This salad makes 6 servings.
I wanted something ‘different’ for dinner – something to get excited about. Well, this filled the desire – there are just the two of us but I cooked a full pound of ground beef and I am so happy I did – I’m looking forward to another salad today! Be sure to make Maya’s Taco Seasoning mix – make lots of it, you will be using it for her Mexican recipes, I promise!
Delicious and quick; very tasty!!
I cook with ground turkey. I haven’t used ground beef in decades.
How would that change the recipe, if at all?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Jo, You could make that swap without any issues.
This sounds so good! I was thinking of making Tacos with the salad.
My whole family loved this salad. I will make this again!
Everyone, including my husband and my grandson liked it! That never happens. They even agreed this would go into the weekly rotation of meals! So glad I found this site! Looking forward to trying more!
This is a really good salad! Its easy to make and it is so flavorful. My family loves it! I make it often.
I made this salad and it is delicious!
I made this for lunch on the Day 1 challenge. It is very tasty. I subbed the green onions for diced bell pepper as we didn’t have any green onions. Even my husband liked it. A winner. I will make this recipe again.
I always seem hungry with these portions.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Joyce, Feel free to adjust the serving size to your preferences.
I am doing the ketogenic diet. This meets all the requirements I just think this recipe lacked taste. I prefer onion over green onions in this case. Also it needs more of the amounts of seasoning, sour cream, cheese etc cos the lettuce just takes all the flavor away with the 8 oz. I personally think it would be better tasting if you put the lettuce in the bottom and kind of layer the rest of the ingredients rather than tossing them altogether. I tried this recipe and I’m not very impressed, sorry …
Hiding the lettuce at the bottom doesn’t magically make it go away lol. With all of the changes you’re suggesting, you might as well take out the lettuce completely and try making a taco casserole instead.
I found this recipe to be delicious. Loved the green onions in place of onions. Additionally, the serving size seems adequate for a keto diet and was filling (I made two servings, me and my husband loved it) Would definitely recommend it!
Simple and delicious! The whole family loved!
Linda G Ridenhour0
This Taco Salad recipe was really yummy! Everyone loved it. It was light and fresh tasting but very filling. It was really easy to make and will be added to our family favorites.
You forgot to add the corn chips I personally have added nacho Doritos or just regular corn chips to the salad.
Then it won’t be keto/low carb.
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