Healthy Taco Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

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Is there anything better than a delicious salad? They’re super easy to make and a great way to pack a variety of nutrients into one meal! This taco salad bowl is loaded with healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, and it’s packed full of veggies. You can even omit the meat to make it lighter, although the chicken does add something special to the dish. Not to mention the homemade cilantro lime vinaigrette – it’s the perfect addition to this Mexican inspired salad! It’s delicious, refreshing, easy to make, and doesn’t weigh you down. If you want to get creative, you can also choose from a few different variations. You can have it for lunch, or you can serve it as a light summer dinner. That’s not to say you have to wait until the warmer months to enjoy it! We all know we crave a little freshness in fall, too. It only takes about 20 minutes of prep time in total. win!

Is Taco Salad a Mexican Food?

While tacos are a traditional Mexican treat, taco salad is not. This is an American dish invented by the Fritos Company in the 1960s. Although the founder of Fritos is Mexican, he created this dish to use Fritos chips as a bowl.

Are their tortilla chips in the taco salad?

Our recipe doesn’t include tortilla chips, but you’re definitely free to add some if you like! We recommend using tortilla strips, or breaking up full-sized tortilla chips.

Some other recipes are made with nacho bowls! Here’s how to make them at home:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spray some soft tortillas with cooking spray and season with paprika, cumin, and garlic.
  • Bake tortillas in an oven-safe bowl for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp.

Protein alternatives:

The grilled chicken in our healthy taco salad recipe is made with a delicious marinade made with olive oil, lime juice, paprika, cumin, and a few other spices. While we love a good side of grilled chicken on our salads, here are some other protein options, including some suitable for vegetarians:

  • roast steak
  • grilled salmon
  • ground turkey or ground beef
  • chickpeas
  • baked tofu

Equipment suggestion:

To roast your chicken, we recommend using a cast iron griddle! This is a great solution if you don’t have a full-size grill at home, or if you end up preparing this dish when it’s too cold or rainy to stand outside.

Variety:

Here are some fun variations on our healthy taco salad recipe:

  • Add some cilantro lime rice to make this dish more filling
  • Eat more vegetable. Bell peppers, cucumbers, and jalapenos are all great choices!
  • Use Yogurt Dressing in place of our Cilantro Lime Dressing. You can use the same spices!

Service suggestion:

You can definitely enjoy this salad on its own, but if you want to make a bigger meal, you can pair it with:

Other tacos we like:

This healthy taco salad bowl is lighter than a taco because you don’t need a crust to eat it. If you’re looking for a more traditional taco recipe, here are some of our favorites: