Recipe // Updated Taco Salad

Do you remember that taco salad from childhood? You know, the one with Catalina salad dressing? Taco meat, cheese, tortilla chips, ice burg lettuce. Mm, mm. I especially remember it at volleyball tournaments in high school. I still make it from time to time, but with some upgrades to kick it up a notch. I also ditch the Catalina salad dressing (it surprisingly has a lot of fat and calories in it). It’s a pretty easy recipe and makes excellent leftovers. (It’s great for work lunches!)


1 Ib ground turkey (94% or 99% fat free)
2 Tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more, if you like heat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 small avocado, sliced
2 heads of romaine, chopped
Tortilla chips
Mexican blend shredded cheese
Fresh cilantro
Taco sauce or salsa

Brown the ground turkey in a skillet. Once cooked through (no more pink pieces), drain any fat. Add the spices and water. Heat through for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can use the taco meat hot or cold in the salad. If using later, remove from heat and let it cool before putting it in a container. Cover before putting in the fridge.

To assemble, I use a big handful of the chopped romain lettuce, about 6-8 tortilla chips (crushed with my hands), 1/2 cup taco meat, tablespoon of shredded cheese, and top with diced tomatoes, 1/4 of the diced avocado and cilantro to taste. I love to use a drizzle of taco sauce as the “dressing” for an extra kick. Salsa works great, too.

To pack for lunch or to store leftovers, keep all parts of the salad separate until you are ready to eat. This keeps the lettuce and chips from getting soggy.

The tomatoes, cilantro, tortilla chips, etc., are all suggestions. This is what I like to use. Adapt to what you like on your tacos. Black beans or corn would be awesome in this recipe. (Now that I think about it, I’m going try them next time!). You can stick to the Catalina dressing if you like the added sweetness. I sometimes add green onions if I have them on hand. The combinations are endless!


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