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Healthy Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

This healthy taco salad has it all: warm spiced beef (see below for a vegetarian option!), cool romaine lettuce, a slew of crunchy toppings and a creamy cilantro lime dressing. The creamy dressing, which uses Greek yogurt as its base, is SO GOOD (try it over tomatoes, or toss it with chickpeas for a healthy chickpea salad). The dressing gets made right in a food processor, but you can use a blender instead. The recipe calls for lean ground beef (or turkey), but you could go for meat-free crumbles or 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans for a vegetarian version. I like to set out all of the toppings and let my family build their own salad bowls (or you could do tacos instead!). You can choose whichever toppings you like, but as for me, I go for it all!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cilantro lime dressing recipe, healthy taco salad recipe, taco salad recipe
Servings: 4 people


Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ medium jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 large scallion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (preferably 2% fat content)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or safflower
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Taco Filling

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or safflower
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (preferably grass-fed), or ground turkey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ cup water

Bowls (pick your toppings!)

  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • Halved grape tomatoes
  • Fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Crushed tortilla chips


Make the dressing

  • In a food processor with the blade running, drop the garlic clove and jalapeño through the feed tube, and process until finely chopped. Scrape the sides, and add the cilantro and scallions. Process until chopped. Add the yogurt, honey, lime juice, water and oil, and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, stopping and scraping the sides occasionally. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a bowl or jar, and refrigerate at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Make the taco filling

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon off any fat. Add the chili powder, cumin and coriander. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the water, and cook, stirring often, about 30 seconds. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Build the bowls

  • Pile the romaine into large serving bowls, and top with the taco meat. Add the toppings of your choice (everything for me, please!), and drizzle with the dressing. Serve additional dressing at the table.