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How To Make a Healthy Taco Salad Everyone Will Love!

This healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

This healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

So, I’m posting this healthy taco salad recipe on a Wednesday, instead of on Taco Tuesday, because I think tacos {or any form there of like this taco salad} should be eaten every day of the week.

Mexican food too, quite frankly.

And, my taco loving, Mexican food loving family, 100% agrees with me!

To tell you the truth, you have Big Tex to thank for this healthy taco salad creation, because he saw something similar on a Door Dash menu that he wanted to order. BUT, since it was his big sis’ week of eating vegan, and she couldn’t find any vegan items on the menu, we had to switch to another restaurant.

SO…I promised Big Tex I would try and make a similar salad for him one day, and boy did it turn out to be delicious!

This healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

And, you also have this month’s Recipe ReDux theme to thank for this yummy, healthy Mexican salad, because this month’s theme is…

Taco Tuesday

February 21 is a Tuesday. So show us your healthy, creative take on the taco. (Of course, this recipe can also be posted on February 22.)

I took a little liberty with the theme, turning “tacos” into salad, but I think you will agree with me, that this healthy taco salad is equally delicious. Of course, if you want to go old school, you can serve the flank steak + all the toppins’ in taco shells, and I’m, pretty sure no one will complain.

But, the real beauty of this recipe is that you serve it “taco bar style”, so everyone gets to put on EXACTLY what they want-which is pretty much how most meals are served around our house

No whining allowed.

Which makes mama happy, and when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy 🙂

his healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

Is taco salad good for you?

You bet! Especially when you ditch the big ol’ taco “bowl” that’s popular in restaurant taco salads, and opt for a sprinkling of homemade baked tortilla chips instead. You can even choose Siete Foods Grain Free Tortilla Chips (Big Tex loves the lime flavor!) for a paleo option, but my homemade chips are easy to make too.

I’ve also added heart healthy avocado and pumpkin seeds which are a good source of microbiome friendly fiber, plant based iron, and rich in magnesium-an important nutrient many of us aren’t getting enough of.

Tips for making a healthy taco salad.

  1. Load up on greens. I used romaine lettuce, but you can swap in arugula, baby spinach, or chopped kale for an even more nutritious version.
  2. Baked tortilla chips are a healthier version than store bought (although those are ok too!), and super easy to make.
  3. Make your own Caesar dressing (super easy!) that’s free of unwanted fillers typically found in store bought dressings. (Related post: Easy Homemade Vinaigrette + 5 Reasons to Ditch Store Bough Dressings)
  4. Cilantro lover? Pile it on high!!! Cilantro contains phytonutrients which may have potential antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Not a fan? Try Italian parsley or fresh oregano instead.
  5. Pumpkin seeds add a health bit of crunch to this taco salad, but you can swap them out with any favorite nuts or seeds instead.
  6. Following a vegetarian diet, like my SiSi? Serve all the toppings, including the flank steak, on the side, so everyone can make their own healthy taco salad to their liking.
This healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

Mexican Caesar Salad with Pan Seared Flank Steak, Avocado, and Pumpkin Seeds

This healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Caesar Dressing

  • Easy Homemade Caesar Dressing * or Your Favorite Bottled Caesar dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic omit for low FODMAP version
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Taco Salad

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce ~1 large head of lettuce
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup cilantro de-stemmed and chopped
  • 4 ounces queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1 pound flank steak {optional-omit for vegetarian version} omit for vegetarian version
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Make the dressing {if not using bottled dressing}: In a blender, combine lemon juice, egg yolks, 1 clove of garlic and mustard, and blend for approximately 30 seconds or until smooth. While the blender is running, add the olive oil slowly until it is emulsified. Season with salt to taste.
  • Brush tortillas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, stack and slice into strips. Place tortilla strips on baking sheet, and bake for ~7 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven, and set aside.
  • Prep the lettuce and toppings: Chop lettuce and place in a salad bowl. Chop cilantro, place in a small bowl, and set aside. Peel avocado, cut into slices, place on a small serving dish, and set aside. Crumble cheese, place in a small bowl, and set aside. Place pumpkin seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a large cast iron or saute pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Place flank steak in pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for ~ 3-5 minutes, depending upon desired level of doneness. Turn steak over, sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow steak to cool in pan for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Toss salad greens with caesar dressing {if using the homemade dressing, you will have leftover dressing}. Place salad greens on 4 serving plates, and serve "taco bar" style, allowing everyone to top their salad as desired with steak, avocado, cheese, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro.

Notes

For a low FODMAP version: 1. Omit garlic cloves from Caesar dressing, and add garlic oil to taste if desired. 2. Limit avocado to 1/8th per serving.
For a vegetarian version: Omit flank steak. Top w/ black beans for additional protein if desired.
Easy ingredient swaps: Substitute romaine lettuce w/ baby spinach, arugula, or chopped kale. Use any nuts or seeds in place of pumpkin seeds. Try w/ grilled chicken or pan seared salmon in place of flank stead. Swap cilantro for parsley or fresh oregano. Top with any favorite cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 649kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 446mg | Potassium: 961mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5465IU | Vitamin C: 14.4mg | Calcium: 227mg | Iron: 4.4mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Gluten Free, Low FODMAP option, Salad
Cuisine Gluten Free, Low FODMAP Option, Mexican, Vegetarian Option
Keyword taco salad recipe
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Tried this recipe?Mention @thespicyrd or tag #thespicyrd ~ I love seeing my recipes that you recreate!
his healthy taco salad with easy homemade Caesar salad dressing, creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and {optional} pan seared flank steak is a delicious new twist for #TacoTuesday !

Craving more taco recipes???

You’ll love this family favorite: Crunchy Lentil Tacos with Avocado Feta Guacamole | Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Crunchy Lentil Tacos with Avocado Feta Guacamole

Or these Sea Veggie Tacos with Asian Sesame Dipping Sauce | Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo. Yum!

Sea Veggie Tacos with Asian Sesame Dipping Sauce

Now, go check out all the other yummy taco creations my fellow Recipe Redeuxers are whipping up this month!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you purchase any of these products, at no additional cost to you. I only share products I personally use or recommend. Your purchases help support the cost of running The Spicy RD blog. Thank you so much!

Let’s chat!

Do you do Taco Tuesday? Taco Salad Wednesday? What are your favorite taco fixins’? What’s a favorite meal everyone in your household loves????

9 thoughts on “How To Make a Healthy Taco Salad Everyone Will Love!”

  1. I rarely eat meat these days but I must say in truth that this would be the meat recipe I’d make at home to please hubby and me. He never met a taco he didn’t like! Love the simplicity of it all too, and of course the avo. A great weeknight meal, full of iron.

    1. Confession: The only time I cook beef at home is when we do ground beef in meat sauce, or occasionally hamburgers. More often though, we do lentil tacos. I never cook steak, but leave that to Mr. Spicy to grill when we have friends over for BBQs. I used grass fed flank steak, and surprised myself with how tender it turned out to be 🙂 Cheers!

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