If you’re trying to find a really delicious but Healthy Taco Salad recipe then you’ve come to the right blog my friends, because today I am spilling my secrets (and some step-by-step photos) on how to make the biggest boldest fiesta for your taste buds all for under 500 calories! 

An overhead view of a serving of healthy taco salad with a glass of white wine

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by La Tourangelle Artisan Oils . All opinions expressed here are my own. I was compensated for my time.

 

I find it fascinating when I look at the calorie counts for entrée salads on the menus at some popular chain restaurants. (Actually, I say fascinating, but I really mean depressing.) If you’ve ever done this, then you know that a taco salad can sometimes be shockingly high in calories. Take the Quesadilla Explosion Salad at Chilis, which banks 1400 calories. Or you could be much more conservative and order their Santa Fe Chicken Salad with Crispers for a mere 940 calories. Stats like those make the Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken from Panera (650 calories) seem angelic.

A side view of two bowls of taco salad with a bottle of dressing

This Healthy Taco Salad is far lower in calories, but still has that big cheesy taco salad flavor we all love, crispy tortilla chips and zesty chicken for less than 500 calories. Taco Salad lovers rejoice!

Drizzling orange chipotle dressing over a bowl of taco salad

Taco Salad Dressing

I’m going to get to the details on how I managed to shave down the calories on this Taco Salad in a sec, but first I want to cut straight to the dressing. Because, guys and gals, this stuff is BIG NEWS! This dressing, Citrus Chipotle, is one four new certified Organic dressings from La Tourangelle. The collection also includes Sesame Tamari, Classic Balsamic and Creamy Ranch. I love that the ingredients are simple, free of chemicals and include La Tourangelle artisan oils.

You know I love homemade salad dressings, but sometimes, life happens and you gotta grab a bottle off the shelf. I am so psyched to have these dressings as an option now!

 

cooking ground chicken in a skillet

Using Ground Chicken to Make Healthy Taco Salad

How to Shop for Ground Chicken: Did you know all US chicken is free from added hormones? So packages that say so may be trying to get your attention. Don’t fall for it. There is so much confusion when it comes to poultry labeling. That’s why, when I shop for ground chicken, I first look for the certified Organic label.

Certified Organic Chicken: I know that the chickens were fed organic, non-GMO, vegetarian feed. And I know they have access to the outdoors and they don’t receive antibiotics.

Support Local: If you have a local farm that produces organic chicken, all the better! I love the Organic ground chicken from Maple Wind Farm, which is right down the road from me. Supporting local farmers reduces your carbon footprint, and helps to maintain the beautiful working landscape.

Lower Fat: I love using ground chicken for taco meat, like for 20 minutes ground chicken tacos, but just keep in mind that some ground chicken is not as lean as others. In a recipe like this, we will be adding in seasoning and tomato paste, so the extra fat won’t make a big flavor difference. You’ll save about 45 calories per serving by choosing lean chicken!

 

How To Make this Taco Salad More Healthy

Adding in scallions to the skillet after the ground chicken comes off the heat for more flavor.

Add extra veggies: I used a red bell pepper (which is high in vitamin C), and a bunch of scallions to bulk up the portion size of these entrée salads. The veggies are lower in calories, but add bulk, vitamins, fiber and flavor. I used this trick in this Sweet Potato Hash I shared last month.

drizzling oil on tortillas

Bake the Tortilla Strips: Instead of using tortilla chips, bake your own tortilla strips in the oven. Simply brush a little oil (I used La Tourangelle avocado oil) over the corn tortillas, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Then cut them into strips and bake them until they’re crispy.

Go Easy on The Toppings: Though avocado is arguably the nectar of the gods, I’d recommend saving it for tomorrow morning’s avocado toast. Doing so will save you 60 calories (for a quarter of an avocado.) The same goes for sour cream. If you really want a dollop of creamy dairy, use Greek yogurt instead and save more than 40 calories.

Go For Big Flavors: Add extra flavor to your Taco Salad, and you won’t miss the extra calories. To do so, add in Mexican Seasoning, cilantro, salsa and scallions. Plus did I mention the 1-2 punch this Citrus Chipotle dressing has?! It’s got a kick!

 

Tips for Making this Taco Salad

Use a Non-Stick Skillet: In order to save on calories, I used a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray. La Tourangelle makes a Non-GMO propellant free olive oil cooking spray that should be in every cook’s cabinet. Just Sayin’! Bonus: using this spray instead of oil saves 30 calories per serving! Cook the red bell pepper, scallion whites and Chicken in the skillet, while breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

Bloom The Spices: Once the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are softened, add in the spices to bloom their flavor. I tested this with two different purchased Mexican seasonings, and I also made my own version too. Mixing the spices into the skillet before adding in any liquids will bloom them and make their flavors more pronounced. This is a technique I highly encourage you to apply throughout your cooking. You can read more about it in this 5-Spice Sweet Potato Recipe

Make it Saucy: I tried this with fresh tomatoes, and everyone in my family preferred this version better. I used tomato paste to coat the chicken mixture, then water. The texture ends up like that of old school taco meat with the seasoning packets of my youth.

ground chicken in skillet with spices and red peppers

Build the Salads: Start with your base of Romaine (it’s sturdy crunch will hold up to the heat and weight of the toppings.) Then add on the chicken mixture followed by the cheese. The heat from the chicken will start to melt the cheese. (Can you say yum!) And then arrange the other topping on as you like. We just passed the bottle of dressing and jar of salsa at the table so everyone could add to their tastes.

 

More Entrée Salads To Try

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs – This is one of my family’s all time favorite salads.

Green Salad with Chicken Strawberries and Goat Cheese – I dare you to find a more springy salad!

Wasabi Glazed Salmon Power Salads. Love this review from Eve “If you are considering making this salad – DO! Made it tonight and just served it for dinner. Salmon is sweet with a hint of wasabi heat and salad is crunchy and full of texture. I practically drank the sesame dressing at the bottom of the bowl at the end!”

 

Thanks so much for reading. If you try this recipe, make sure to come back leave a rating and review! It helps a ton!

Happy Cooking!

~Katie

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healthy taco salad overhead

healthy taco salad

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: stove top,oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

If you’re trying to find a really delicious but Healthy Taco Salad recipe then you’ve come to the right blog my friends, because today I am spilling my secrets (and some step-by-step photos) on how to make the biggest boldest fiesta for your taste buds all for under 500 calories!


Scale

Ingredients

3 corn tortillas

1 teaspoons La Tourangelle avocado oil

1 ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided

La Tourangelle Cooking Spray

1 pound ground chicken

1 diced red bell pepper

1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated

1 tablespoon Mexican seasoning *see ingredient note

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup water

2 hearts of romaine, chopped, washed and spun dry

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

½ cup La Tourangelle Ranch Dressing or Citrus Chipotle Dressing

½ cup salsa


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay tortillas on cutting board. Brush oil over the tortillas. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and cut into strips. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until crispy and just starting to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add chicken, red pepper and scallion whites and cook, crumbling the chicken with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with Mexican seasoning and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and stir to coat. Add in tomato paste and stir to coat. Add in water and stir until the mixture becomes saucy. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallion greens.
  4. Divide romaine among 4 large pasta bowls or plates. Top with the chicken mixture and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Top with chips, cilantro and salsa on top.

Notes

Ingredient Note: Look for Salt Free Mexican or South-west seasoning in the spice section of the supermarket alongside other spice blends. You can also make your own by Mixing 4 teaspoons Chili powder, 4 teaspoons ground cumin, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder. Alternatively, you can use Taco seasoning, which is sold in the Mexican section of the supermarket. Taco seasoning contains salt, and no added kosher salt should be added to the chicken mixture.

Tip: Ground turkey or beef can be substituted for the ground chicken. If you prefer a meatless main course, cook the peppers and scallion whites in 1 tablespoon oil until softened. Then add in 1 cup drained canned black beans and 1 cup frozen and thawed corn kernels. Cook, stirring until heated through. Then remove from the heat and add in the scallion greens.

Make Ahead: The chicken mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead and rewarmed in the microwave or in a covered saucepan, with a couple tablespoons water.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salad
  • Calories: 477
  • Fat: 28 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26
  • Fiber: 6
  • Protein: 32