Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad
Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad is something I never get tired of, and it’s ideal to prep on the weekend and eat all week for a quick meal.
Tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year, and I know lots of people start the year out with an increased resolve to watch their carbs. And for me prepping food on the weekend to eat during the week is the best tip I know for a healthy eating plan, which is why I have a Weekend Food Prep category on my blog.
So for this week’s Friday Favorites pick I’m featuring Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad that’s without a doubt the food prep dish I make most often. Of course, everyone has their own preferences about what makes a perfect Taco Salad, but this is the one that completely suits my tastebuds, and taco salad has been one of my favorites for many years.
Years ago when I taught school and had to take a lunch, I used to prep the ingredients for Beef and Black Bean Taco Salad on the weekend, store them in individual containers in the fridge, and I’d have Taco Salad for lunch several times a week. I loved that salad with beans back in those day, but now I’d make this low-carb taco salad without the beans every time.
What makes this Low-Carb Taco Salad perfect for my tastebuds?
Besides the spicy beef that I make with Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning the other things that make this a perfect taco salad for me are using a mixture of Iceberg and Romaine lettuce, using a generous amount of Ranch Dressing, and topping the salad with black olives, Mexican three cheese blend, and diced avocado. I usually skip tomatoes to avoid the added carbs, but you can add them if you’d like.
What ingredients do you need?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- ground beef
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- Spike Seasoning (affiliate link) or other all-purpose seasoning blend
- Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning, or other low-sugar taco seasoning
- Cholula Hot Sauce (affiliate link) or other hot sauce
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper
- Romaine Lettuce
- Iceberg Lettuce
- sliced olives, drained
- grated cheese
- diced avocado, optional
Two ways I make the beef for Low-Carb Taco Salad:
Usually I cook the beef in a frying pan, then add spices and some hot sauce and water and let the meat simmer while I prep the other ingredients. But if I want to make a larger amount of meat I’ll make easy Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat and use it for this salad. That Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef recipe makes extra meat to go in the freezer, and the meat browns right in the slow cooker so you can do other things while it cooks.
Preparing the meat for Low-Carb Taco Salad:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Heat some oil in the frying pan, then crumble in the ground beef and cook until it’s well-browned.
- Add the Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning, Cholula Hot Sauce (affiliate link), and 2 cups of water and let it simmer until the water has mostly evaporated.
- If you prefer (and want slightly more meat) you can make Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat to use in this recipe.
- When the water is mostly evaporated, season meat with a little salt and fresh-ground black pepper and transfer the meat you’re not using right away to the size container you prefer and let it cool to go in the fridge or freezer.
Preparing the lettuce for Low-Carb Taco Salad:
- I’m emphatic about using a Salad Spinner (affiliate link) to prepare the lettuce for Taco Salad. (You can find them all the time in thrift stores if you don’t want to spend much money on one.)
- I like a mixture of Romaine Lettuce and Iceberg Lettuce for Taco Salad.
- Tear the Romaine Lettuce apart with your fingers into small pieces, then soak in ICE COLD water in the salad spinner for a few minutes.
- Then remove the water and spin so it’s as dry as you can get it. Transfer to a bowl.
- Repeat the same process with the iceberg lettuce. Combine the two lettuce types in the bowl.
- I use a large plastic storage container with a snap-tight lid (affiliate link) to store the extra lettuce in the fridge. If you spin your lettuce quite dry it will stay crisp for at least a week.
Assembling Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad:
- When it’s time to assemble the Taco Salad, I am quite picky about how I do it.
- Start by putting the lettuce mixture in a bowl (2 large handfuls lettuce mixture for each salad you’re making.)
- Toss the lettuce with desired amount of salad dressing. (For me it would always be Ranch Dressing, and I confess I use the version you make with buttermilk and a package mix most of the time, but see below for some other dressings that would be good on this salad.)
- Then add desired amount of spicy beef (one cup per salad you’re making.) Toss the beef with the dressed lettuce until it’s well combined.
- Sliced olives (which I buy in a can already sliced), Three Cheese Mexican Blend, and diced avocado are my three must-have toppings for my idea of perfect Taco Salad, but use any toppings you prefer.
- Put salad in a bowl, add toppings of your choice, and enjoy.
- Store extra toppings separately in the fridge to use on salads during the week.
- This is a low-carb lunch or dinner option that I eat over and over and never get tired of!
More salad dressing suggestions for Taco Salad:
- 2 lbs. ground beef, thawed if frozen
- 2 tsp. olive oil (more or less, depending on your pan)
- 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning or other all-purpose seasoning blend (see notes)
- 1/4 cup Taco Seasoning (see notes)
- 2 T hot sauce (or more, to taste. See notes.)
- 2 cups water
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 head Romaine Lettuce
- 1 head Iceberg Lettuce
- 1 3.8 oz. can sliced olives, drained
- 1 cup grated cheese (see notes)
- Ranch Dressing or other salad dressing, use the amount you prefer
- diced avocado, optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the ground beef, breaking it apart with your fingers as you add it to the pan.
- Cook ground beef until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.
- Add the Spike Seasoning, Kalyn's Taco Seasoning, and Cholula Hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) with 2 cups water, stir, reduce the meat to medium low, and let the meat simmer until the water is almost all evaporated.
- While the meat simmers, prepare the lettuce. Tear Romaine Lettuce into small pieces with your hands, put in a Salad Spinner with ICE COLD water, and let the lettuce sit for a couple of minutes. Then remove water and spin the salad until it's as dry as you can get it.
- Remove Romaine Lettuce to a large bowl and repeat the tearing/soaking/spinning process with the Iceberg Lettuce. Combine the two types of lettuce in the bowl.
- Prepare salad dressing, drain olives, get grated cheese, and dice the avocado.
- When the liquid in the meat is all evaporated, season meat with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste and assemble the salad. Use about 2 big handfuls lettuce and 1 cup meat for each salad.
- Put desired amount of lettuce into a bowl and toss with 2-3 T dressing.
- Add desired amount of meat for how many salads you're making and toss again, until meat is well-combined with the lettuce.
- Put lettuce-meat mixture into a serving bowl and top with grated cheese, sliced olives, and diced avocado.
- For Weekend Food Prep, store the taco meat into containers in the fridge or freezer. Store the lettuce in a large plastic container with a snap-tight lid. Store olives and cheese separately, and don't dice the avocado until right before you're going to eat the salad.
I used grated Three Cheese Mexican Blend from Costco. If you prefer (and want slightly more meat to freeze) you can make Slow Cooker Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat to use in this recipe. You'll need 3 lbs. ground beef for that recipe.
Nutritional information does not include salad dressing of your choice or optional diced avocado.
Recipe perfected by Kalyn after years and years of making Taco Salad!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 578Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 14gUnsaturated Fat: 17.6gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 1210mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4.9gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 48g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Perfect Low-Carb Taco Salad is a great dish for low-carb diet plans, and for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. South Beach would recommend lean ground beef and reduced-fat cheese as well as lower-fat salad dressing, and other low-carb diets would prefer higher-fat ingredients.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes for more tasty salads like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe for my favorite low-carb taco salad was posted in 2019. It was updated with more information and featured for Friday Favorites in 2021, and last updated with more information in 2023.