Guilt Free Taco Salad ~ Part of a Low Calorie, Low Carb Lifestyle

Hmmm . . .Taco Salad . . . That doesn't sound so new, does it?

What's new about this taco salad is I've eliminated the parts that I don't need in my diet.   Like the deep fried tortilla bowls or the corn chips that come loaded with fat, carbs and calories.  Traditional taco salads aren't all that light with all those chips, tortilla bowls and refried beans, now are they?  Well, you don't need to include those ingredients to enjoy a completely satisfying taco salad.

I am really trying to eat healthy and lose some weight.  I don't want to call it a diet because my main focus is to actually change my habits and the way I look at food in general.  What I'm hoping to do is break the cycle of filling up on processed carbohydrates that seem to leave me feeling lackluster and only wanting more.  I would like to limit my overall carb intake to whole grains and unprocessed carbs.  As much as possible anyway.   Unfortunately removing carbs from your diet can leave you feeling deprived and limited in your choices.  There goes all the yummy breads, noodles, chips, and tortillas that make up so many of our go to meals, right?

What's really challenging is creating meals that will satisfy a need for variety as well as a desire for savory, spicy, crunchy, cheesy, sweet and tasty meals.

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite salads with you:


That's right...guilt-free.  Here are the stats:

                                                              calories     carbs     fat     protein
Cheddar Cheese, 1 oz114097
Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average, 1 wedge (1/4 of medium tomato)7100
Ground beef, lean, 3 oz22501815
Del Monte Sweet Peas no salt added, 0.25 cup30602
Salad, Spring Mix Salad, 2 cup20301
Rosarita Salsa Verde (Green Salsa), 2 tbsp10200
Master's Touch Vine Sweet Mini Peppers (3 peppers), 1 serving25501
Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor, 1 tsp/4g, 4 gram(s)5100
Baby Carrots, raw, 1 large5100
Cilantro, raw, 1 tbsp0000


Start by cooking low-fat ground beef...then reducing the fat content even more by draining and rinsing the meat after cooking.  (After draining the excess grease into my grease can, I rinse the ground beef with hot water and then drain again.  This removes a lot of excess grease that we don't need to be putting into our bodies.  You could prepare this with white meat ground chicken or turkey as well.)

While the meat is cooking, you can prepare your salad fix-ins in a bowl and set aside.
Today I used:
Spring Mix, Mini Sweet Peppers, Carrots, Sweet Peas, Diced Tomato, Diced Onion, Diced Cilantro  

Next add some flavoring and seasonings to the cooked beef. 
Knorr Tomato Bouillon (1 tsp), 
Chili powder 
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder 
Onion flakes 
 Red Pepper Flakes 
(I generally just guesstimate my spices since I've been making my own seasoned taco meat for years.  If you want detailed measurements for the seasoned meat you can check out the recipe at allrecipes.com.) 

There should still be a bit of excess water (from rinsing the meat) which will work well to mix and cook these seasonings into the meat.  If you drained out all the water just add a splash back in.  There is no need to add any additional salt because the tomato bouillon contains sodium and you probably won't want (or need) any more.

Add your seasoned ground beef on top of your salad fix-ins and sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese.
You could save yourself 114 calories by eliminating the cheese, but I appreciate this little splurge.  I make up for it by using Green Taco Sauce as my dressing and skipping any sour cream or other dressings containing fat.

You could substitute seasoned black beans for the meat, saving yourself another 111 calories but upping your carbs by 25g.  I'm not ready to give up my meat yet either.  ;)

Here are a few other options you might consider adding or substituting for something above.  I've included the approximate nutrition information for each so you can make good choices:

                                                             calories      carbs      fat    protein
Jalapeno Peppers, 1 pepper4100
Olives, Black, Sliced - 1 Tablespoons, 1 serving25030
Light Sour Cream, 2 tbsp40232
Beans, black, 0.5 cup1142008
Salsa, 0.25 cup18401
Cheddar Cheese Low Fat Shredded, 0.13 cup45168
Avocados, California (Haas), 0.5 cup, pureed19210182

Salads don't have to be boring or plain . . . enjoy your salad!

Don't forget we are having a healthy eating, weight loss and fitness link party.  So come link up . . . just click on the image below to be taken there:



  1. It definitely doesn't look like your depriving yourself. It looks like a very wonderful meal. If your like me I could eliminate half the meat and add lots more tomatoes. Then, just maybe, a few beans, black or pinto. You see, I am already planning to fix this dish.

  2. Yeah! Thanks. You could even eliminate the meat and cheese completely and just do seasoned beans if you wanted. I do keep my meat portion fairly large right now because I'm working out 4-5 times a week (both strength training and running) so I really don't want to scrimp on my protein. I want my muscles to feel well fed for my workouts :)

  3. Looks good! When my wife makes tacos, I always eat it as a salad, loading up on the veggies and meat, and leaving the shells for her to enjoy. Not a sour cream or refried beans fan, so no great loss. Good job!

  4. Sounds so yummy! I love taco salad! I'm with you, I just omit the tortilla/chips and enjoy the middle.

  5. I love salad. I'm with you, I want to lose weight but I don't want to call it a diet because I want to focus more on changing lifestyle. I'd love to join your link party. Meeting others who try to lose weight is really a boost of motivation.


  6. That looks delicious. I love the ingredient list - sweet peas are one of my favorite snacks. Thanks for sharing it!

  7. Sherry, this looks delicious! I love taco salads, but not all the calories! Thanks for the lighter version! Pinning! Hope you have a great weekend!

  8. This look really good - it's time for me to get back into salad mode, and away from the heavy fall /winter foods - thanks for sharing!