Most people love taco salad. But let me tell you, just because the word “salad” is in the sentence does NOT mean it’s good for you!! I did some research and on average, a taco salad at your local restaurant will cost you almost 1,000 calories!! Not to mention about 57g of fat and almost 2,000g of sodium!!! If you’re familiar with weight watchers, that’s about 23 points! Absolutely disgusting!! Who needs all of that when you can make a healthier, less calorie and fat version at home? And let me tell you, it will taste better than the one you buy at the restaurant! Not to mention it’s super easy to make and you will save money and have left overs!
To get started, preheat your oven to 350°. Take your shells out to make them closer to room temperature. I chose to use Jimmy Dean‘s sausage turkey crumbles as my meat choice. It’s much lower in fat and I think it has more flavor than ground beef. Once it’s preheated, bake the shells as directed, the instructions are very easy to do! 8-10 minutes (i think mine was closer to 12 because I like my shell crispy, but be careful not to burn it!!)
In a skillet, cook your turkey crumbles, no need for any oil or pam with these. Next add your seasonings, you can use taco seasoning or i use my own mix (pretty much the same as taco seasoning) which is cajun, cumin, cayenne, chili, onion, garlic powders, and pepper. Add your salsa, I also added a little queso for some texture and flavor and a little bit of shredded Monterrey jack cheese last until it melts.
Once your shell is cooked let sit for a few minutes (it’s very hot and you don’t want your lettuce to wilt!) Build your salad by adding your lettuce, then turkey mixture, then a dallop of sour cream on top! My picture is a little messy looking because I was very hungry and I built my salad backwards! Lettuce ended up being on top so then I just mixed it all together. Needless to say I need to start working on my presentations more! You can use your favorite type of lettuce, I chose red leaf lettuce because that’s my favorite! It lasts longer and it carries many more nutrients than iceberg.
I did the math and this salad will run you about 340 calories. This is also depending on how much of the toppings you use, the more toppings the more calories. In my opinion, this salad tastes better, fresher, and healthier than the one you would buy at a restaurant. Not to mention the average calories you would save are about 660! Half of the recommended daily calorie allowance, that’s pretty insane! Now you have room for that dessert you always crave or that glass of wine you now have room for 🙂
What you’ll need:
- Azteca taco salad shells (you can find these by the butter and cream cheeses in the refrigerated section)
- Jimmy Dean’s sausage turkey crumbles (in a bag) or your choice of meat 1/2-1 cup
- (I don’t ever measure my seasonings so this is an estimate) 1 tsp each of cumin, cayenne, cajun, chili, garlic, and onion powder and pepper to taste
- your favorite salsa, I use Pace
- Newman’s Own salsa con queso 2 tbsps
- Shredded Monterrey jack cheese a small hand full
- Daisy Light sour cream 1tbsp
- As much as you can fit of your favorite kind of salad, I used red leaf lettuce (packed with vitamins!)