Our Family’s Favorite Taco Salad

Our Family's Favorite Taco Salad is a flexible recipe that your family can make to your liking. Add as little or as many toppings and vegetables as you would like to this Taco Salad to feed your family a healthy meal!

Taco Salad is a Real Meal 

In the hot days of summer, I love a fresh delicious salad. However, my husband doesn’t really think that a “salad” is a main dish. When I made him Taco Salad for dinner, I was so happy to find that he loved it. Of course, he piled on more meat than vegetables, but that is the great thing about this recipe: you can top it with whatever you like.

My kids love to assemble their own taco salad and add whatever toppings they desire. We have now made taco salad a couple of times because they are so simple to throw together and we all love them.

The meat is what makes this salad – a fun twist from your regular taco meat.

Healthy Taco Salad with Ground turkey

Replacing ground beef with ground turkey can be an even healthier alternative to this recipe. Using ground turkey will lower the fat and calories of this dish.

Ground Turkey cooks the same way ground beef does. We simply brown it in a pan over the stove. It has a similar texture, but a different color. This will be a lighter grayish-brown color, compared to a deep ground beef brown color, when it is done cooking.

Tips for Healthy Taco Salad:

I am not a calorie counter, but lately, I have tried to pay better attention to what I am feeding my body. I don’t eat my food or check products to lose weight, but rather, to be healthy and fuel my body with good food.

I have found that taco salads can have crazy calories and amounts of fats that are not always the best for the body and its health.

  1. Cut back on sour cream. For a lighter option, try using plain Greek yogurt instead.
  2. Add more guacamole. Guacamole is a great topping for taco salads. You can even use it in place of the sour cream. It won’t have the exact flavor, but it will have a matching texture and guacamole is loaded with nutrients and good-for-you fats.
    Here is our favorite Homemade Guacamole recipe!
  3. Beware of the dressing. Salad dressings can have more calories in them than the actual salad. They also contain a lot of sugar.
    Try making your own salad dressing (I love making salad dressing with olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey), or simply squeeze a little lime juice over your salad for a bit of a kick.
  4. Cut back on the carbs. Many taco salads are served with rice on them. Instead of white rice you could ask for brown rice, or just skip the rice all together, and get extra black or pinto beans.
    Hard taco shells are often deep fried. We recommend trying a whole wheat soft taco or tortilla for your taco salads or tacos.
  5. Cut back on the cheese. You don’t need a lot of cheese to get the taste you desire.

how to brown ground beef for Taco Salad

When purchasing ground beef, it’s important to understand that a higher fat to meat ratio means the meat is going to shrink up a little more as it cooks.

The store sells it cheaper and this may seem like the more budget friendly option, but you are also getting less beef out of it. Either way, you get what you pay for.

When browning ground beef, you will want to use a nonstick skillet or spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add the uncooked beef to the pan, and cook over medium high heat.

Use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to evenly break up the meat as it cooks (or my favorite kitchen tool – the ChopStir!).

Cook until there is no pink left in the meat. Browning ground beef usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

Use constant rotations and flipping to make sure the ground beef is evenly cooked.

Try these Ground Beef Recipes:

Serves: 6

Our Family?s Favorite Taco Salad

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans (drained)
  • 1 (16 ounce) bottle Catalina salad dressing (divided)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • 1 (13 ounce) bag tortilla chips
  • Toppings:
  • 3/4 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 2 tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 avocados (diced)
  • 1 cup sliced olives
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain excess grease.
  2. Stir in the taco seasoning, chili beans, 1 cup of Catalina dressing, and water.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Set out meat mixture, lettuce, chips, and all other taco toppings.
  5. Let everyone assemble their own salad.
  6. Top with Catalina dressing.



3985 cal


224 g


308 g


174 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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7 Responses to “Our Family’s Favorite Taco Salad”

  1. KatVonG
    Made it tonight and it was great! I doubled it (for 3 adults and 2 kids) and there's just a little bit left. Also heated the beans and put them on the side because my husband doesn't like them. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

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