Where I live in San Francisco is a few blocks off Mission street, which runs for miles and is dotted with taquerias all along the way. I can get my hands on freshly made tortillas, bright salsas, and sizzling carnitas in a matter of minutes if the desire strikes. And while such traditional Mexican food is always crave-worthy, I sometimes get a hankering for the kind of tacos I grew up on. Old-school tacos, the type with a hard shell sold in a yellow “Old El Paso” box , topped with lettuce and tomatoes, and most importantly, filled with “taco meat”. That’s what we called the ground beef spiced with a mysterious blend that came in a foil packet labeled “taco seasoning”. 

Today’s recipe is inspired by that old school-style taco, only done in salad form. The foundation is chopped Romaine lettuce. Instead of tomatoes alone, I’ve added cucumber, radishes, and avocado. And the crunch in the salad comes from tortilla chips instead of taco shells, whatever kind you fancy. The whole thing comes together with a dressing of lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and cumin. For the finishing touch, it’s all about that “taco meat”, made here with ground turkey instead of beef. For the vegetarians in the house, I set out a bowl of warm black beans instead.  

It is a good (and darn healthy) fix for that old school taco craving. Everyone at my table is a fan. 

If you’re looking for more south-of-the-border inspiration, you might try this Everyday Mexican Slaw. And if you’ve got leftover ground turkey, head over to this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili.

Healthy Turkey Taco Salad

And if you’re at all in the mood for dessert after your taco salad, these Cafe Con Leche Ice Pops make a fine way to finish a meal.

Turkey Taco Salad
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Turkey Taco Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

This takes all the essentials of old school, hard shell tacos and turns it into a bright, flavorful salad. When buying taco seasoning mix, read the label to make sure there are no unsavory additives or mystery ingredients. Simply organic and Bearitos are the two brands I typically buy.

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Calories 375 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced (1 cup)
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oile
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Handful corn tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Follow the instructions on the taco seasoning mix packet for cooking 1 pound of ground meat.

  2. Wash, dry, and chop the Romaine lettuce. Transfer 4 generous handfuls to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, avocado, and cheese. Toss well.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, cumin, and several grounds of black pepper until smooth. 

  4. Break the tortilla chips over the salad and toss with enough of the dressing until lightly coated. Serve with the turkey on the side to be added at the table.