Made with taco-style spices, ground beef and a creamy avocado dressing, this tasty taco salad is a hearty one-dish meal.
Taco salad is the quintessential example of Tex-Mex cuisine, and there are probably as many recipes for this tasty main dish as there are people who make it.
Our version of a taco salad uses sliced avocado in the salad itself, and mashed avocado in the dressing. The buttery flavor and creamy texture it adds serves as a delicious contrast to the spices in the meat and the cool, crisp texture of the greens.
The finishing touch is to serve the salads with a few tortilla chips to add just the right amount of crunch to pull everything together.
Shopping List: Taco Salad with Avocado Dressing
Dinner salads are generally comprised of three main elements, a protein of some sort, the dressing, and the salad greens and accompanying vegetables.
This makes the ingredient list look a bit lengthy, but don't let that deter you. Main dish salads like this one are generally quick and easy to prepare.
To make a taco salad, you'll need to have a few Tex-Mex style spices like cumin, coriander and chili powder on hand. These spices are great for seasoning all kinds of foods. and are used in certain Asian-inspired dishes as well.
Aside from the spices and some common ingredients you most likely have in stock, you'll need to pick up some ingredients specific to this dish. Here's an overview:
- Ground beef, turkey or chicken
- Low-sodium canned black beans
- Tomato sauce
- Hass avocados
- Plain yogurt (we use fat-free)
- Fresh limes
- Fresh cilantro
- Romaine lettuce
- Sweet onion
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Tortilla chips (we bake our own using corn tortillas – see the recipe notes to learn how)
- 3/4 lb ground beef (or turkey, chicken)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 can low-sodium (15-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
For the dressing:
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, mashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (1 medium lime)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 small clove garlic, very finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
For the salad:
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
- 2 thin slices sweet onion, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
- Tortilla chips (see notes)
- 4 lime wedges
- Start by making the dressing. Place the avocado, olive oil, yogurt, lime juice, milk and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro. Cover and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- Drain any excess fat from the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes more.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and black beans, then add the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Allow to cook for a minute or two, season to taste with salt and pepper, add a pinch of cayenne and adjust the chili powder if desired.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- To assemble the salad, divide the lettuce between 4 plates, top each with sliced onion and arrange the cucumber and tomatoes around the edges of the plates.
- Scoop the avocado halves from the skin, cut them into slices and add a portion to each plate.
- Spoon about 3/4 cup of the meat mixture into the center of each salad and top with grated cheddar.
- Arrange some tortilla chips around the edges of each plate and drizzle with a small amount of dressing. Serve with lime wedges and extra dressing on the side.
To make your own tortilla chips:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut four 6-inch corn tortillas into 6 wedges each. Brush both sides of each wedge with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle the tops with a bit of sea salt. Bake until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 777 Total Fat: 44g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 27g Cholesterol: 123mg Sodium: 707mg Carbohydrates: 57g Fiber: 16g Sugar: 22g Protein: 45g