Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef

This Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef is a quick and easy dinner recipe! Packed with protein and flavor, this layered taco salad recipe is a favorite on busy weeknights.

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Overhead image of a healthy taco salad.

Salads can most definitely be made into a hearty meal. Besides this Taco Salad Bowl, we also love this Easy Chicken Taco Salad and this Chicken and Rice Salad. Check out all of our Healthy Salad Recipes for more inspiration.

Why YOU will love this recipe

  • This dinner staple requires very little prep time and can be on the table in under thirty minutes.
  • Super easy to customize with your favorite toppings.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free. Bonus!
A healthy taco salad in a bowl.

Ingredients

Find the full ingredient list, with measurements, in the recipe card below.

  • Ground beef – We typically choose extra lean ground beef for less saturated fat.
  • Olive oil – For sauteeing the garlic.
  • Garlic – A little bit of freshly minced garlic adds a lot of pungent flavor.
  • Salt and pepper – A pinch of salt and pepper really brings out the flavor of your ingredients.
  • Taco seasonings – This consists of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. It is so easy to make your own homemade taco seasoning if you want to have it on hand.
  • Water – This mixes with the seasonings to create the sauce.
  • Lettuce – We recommend using romaine lettuce but chopped iceberg lettuce or even baby spinach also tastes great.
  • Tortilla chips – This adds crunch and texture to the salad. You can also make homemade tortilla strips using corn tortillas.
  • Toppings – These can include shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, black beans, cherry tomatoes, sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, and guacamole.
Ingredients on a counter.

Equipment

  • Large skillet – This is for browning the beef. You could also use a saucepan with a wide bottom.
  • Bowls – For serving your delicious salads. Pick a cute and colorful bowl set for a fun presentation.

Instructions

Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the FULL recipe details.

Step 1

First, start by cooking the beef. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the minced garlic and stir for one minute.

Step 2

Next, add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon.

Season it with salt and pepper and cook until the beef is browned and cooked through. Then, add in the taco seasonings.

Seasonings sprinkled on a pan of cooked ground beef.

Step 3

Next, add the water and give it all a good stir. Bring the mixture to a quick boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes for the flavors to develop.

Step 4

Then, assemble the salad.

Start with a bed of lettuce in a bowl.

Lettuce in a bowl.

Step 5

Next, top with the cooked beef.

Spiced ground beef on top of a bed of lettuce.

Step 6

Then crumble on the tortilla chips.

These add crunch and texture to the dish. They are our favorite component of this recipe.

Tortilla chips crumbled on top of a bed of lettuce and spiced beef.

Step 7

Finally, add all of your favorite toppings.

We like salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

A loaded taco salad bowl with toppings.

Expert tip

Make this recipe dairy-free by using Daiya Cheese and Cashew Sour Cream.

A healthy taco salad topped with guacamole.

Recipes with ground beef are perfect for weeknight meals. Another delicious option using a pound of ground beef is this Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers recipe. It is a family favorite.

Recipe variations

  • If you want a lower-fat recipe you can choose leaner meat for your taco meat like ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Bump up the veggies by incorporating corn kernels, chopped bell pepper, sliced black olives, diced red onion, and shredded red cabbage.
  • Consider using black beans, pinto beans, or seasoned tofu as a meatless protein source.

Serving suggestions

FAQS

Can I prepare this healthy taco salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare components in advance. It is a great recipe for meal prep! Keep the taco meat, lettuce, and toppings separate until you’re ready to assemble the salad to prevent it from becoming soggy.

How can I add a spicy kick to my taco salad?

You can add some heat by including ingredients like sliced jalapeños, and hot salsa. Hot sauce is another great option for those who enjoy spiciness.

Storage tips

Store any leftover cooked taco meat in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature before storage. Keep the toppings separate and store them likewise in their own containers. Use everything within 2-3 days.

Close up image of a healthy taco salad with ground beef.

More easy dinner recipes

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Healthy Tuna Casserole Recipe

A taco rice bowl topped with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Taco Rice Bowl Recipe with Ground Beef

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Taco Potato Casserole with Ground Beef

**This recipe was originally posted on September 13, 2016, and updated on June 5, 2020, and again on October 23, 2023, with recipe notes, writing, and photos.**

If you tried this Healthy Taco Salad recipe, please rate it and let us know how it turned out by leaving us a comment below. We’re always interested in feedback!

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As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Overhead image of a healthy taco salad.

Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef

Sharon Rhodes
This Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef is a quick and easy dinner recipe! Packed with protein and flavor, this layered taco salad recipe is a favorite on busy weeknights.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 211 kcal

Ingredients
  

Topping Ideas

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  • Add in the ground beef, and season with sea salt and pepper. Break it up with a wooden spoon and brown until completely cooked through with no pink left.
  • Add in the taco seasonings and water and stir well. Bring to a quick boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  • Assemble your salad. Portion out the lettuce into bowls and top with the cooked ground beef. Add your toppings and enjoy.

Video

Notes

Storage tips

  • Store any leftover cooked taco meat in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature before storage. Keep the toppings separate and store them likewise in their own containers. Use everything within 2-3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 211kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 177mgPotassium: 536mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1798IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 5mg
Keyword healthy taco salad
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just tried this taco salad and I loved it! It was so easy to make and easy to customize. Aside from beef, I also added some chicken because… why not! Haha! It turned out great, so delicious. thanks for your recipe 🙂

  2. No, you’re not alone with trashy TV! I love Millionaire Matchmaker. Patty is such a bitch but it’s kind of hilarious.

    This taco salad looks perfectly satisfying. I may have to make it with some faux veggie crumbles! I try not to eat them often because they’re so processed but this looks like a good excuse. 🙂

    1. Oh Patty … we love to hate her 🙂 I do prefer the Housewives, however. I hear ya with the faux meat. I’ve tried some but they are a bit of a chemical cocktail. Maybe try seasoning some organic, non GMO tofu?

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