Healthy Taco Salad Recipe


To mix things up a little bit from time to time we like to have Taco Night. Sometimes we’ll have tacos one night and then make taco salads with the leftovers the next day. Other times we go straight to the taco salad.

One thing that struck me with many online taco salad recipes is how high in calories they are. Some recipes use Doritos in the place of broken taco shells. Tasty I’m sure but at just 50 calories per shell I’m sticking with broken taco shells. The other thing I noticed was several recipes used an entire bottle of Catalina dressing! I shudder just thinking of all the empty calories.

My plan with this recipe was to create a yummy lower calorie healthy taco salad. Using low fat cheese and sour cream helps to keep the calorie count down.

Adding slow cooker refried beans (link to the recipe further down) to the ground beef enhances the flavor and makes the mixture more moist. In fact, the seasoned ground beef mixture, sour cream and salsa add so much flavor and moisture that there is no need for additional dressing.

This taco salad is fairly easy to put together, especially if you’ve already got a batch of refried beans handy in your freezer. Otherwise, I recommend making the beans the day before since they require 8 hours in the slow cooker and one hour of resting time.

Seasoned Ground Beef Mixture

Makes enough for 8 – 10 salads (or 7 – 8 tacos and 4 salads)


Chop the onion and add to a skillet with the grapeseed oil. Once the onion has started to soften add the ground beef. Cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked and browned. Add the refried beans and stir until well combined.

Healthy Taco Salad Recipe

Makes 1 large meal-sized taco salad


  • Romaine lettuce, 5 cups
  • Seasoned ground beef mixture, ~3/4 cup
  • Taco shells, 2
  • Cucumber, cubed
  • Low fat mozzarella cheese, grated, 1 small handful
  • Salsa, 1/4 cup
  • Low fat sour cream, 2 – 3 tbsp

Wash the romaine lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large 2.5 quart (2.4L) bowl. Add the cubed cucumber and seasoned ground beef mixture.

Break the taco shells into pieces and add to the salad. Sprinkle with grated cheese and drizzle with salsa. Add the sour cream.

As I’ve said, this salad is so moist that there is no need for additional dressing. But, if you are so inclined, you could add a few tablespoons of a low fat Catalina dressing.



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