Turkey Taco Salad

$11.29 recipe / $2.82 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.78 from 9 votes
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Winter is full of lots of heavy, slow cooked, or stewed comfort foods and right around this time every year I start craving something lighter and more fresh. Enter this super simple Turkey Taco Salad. It comes together quickly, it gives me all the flavors I need, and it’s still super filling. Oh, and did I mention how flexible it is? Read on for tons of ideas for substitutions and add-ins!

Creamy avocado dressing being poured over a turkey taco salad from a mason jar

Dressing Options

I used my homemade Creamy Avocado Dressing for this taco salad, but you can definitely swap that out with your favorite creamy salad dressing. A taco or chipotle flavored ranch, green goddess dressing, or even a tangy Catalina dressing would all be great.

Can I Substitute the Ground Turkey?

Yes, this recipe works great with ground beef or pork, or you can even make it vegetarian using tempeh. To use tempeh, simply crumble the tempeh into a skillet, add a cup of water, and let the tempeh simmer until the water mostly evaporates, then add the taco seasoning and continue to sauté for a couple minutes more.

Other Add-ins and Substitutions

Taco salads are so flexible! Here are some other ingredient ideas that you can use in place of or in addition to anything listed in the recipe below:

Close up side view of turkey taco salad in a serving bowl
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Turkey Taco Salad

4.78 from 9 votes
This Turkey Taco Salad is an easy, light, and fresh dinner that's flexible enough to feed all your family members, no matter how picky!
overhead view of turkey taco salad drizzled with creamy avocado dressing
Servings 4
Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing

  • 1 avocado ($0.89)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream ($0.24)
  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice ($0.50)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.20)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)

Taco Seasoned Turkey

Salad

  • 1 head romaine lettuce ($0.86)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.35)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.89)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes ($1.99)
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.18)
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.85)

Instructions 

  • Make the salad dressing first so the flavors have time to blend. Peel the avocado and remove the pit. Add the avocado to a food processor or blender along with the sour cream, garlic (minced), salt, lime juice, cilantro, and water. Purée until smooth. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.
  • Next, cook the taco seasoned turkey. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it into pieces as you stir. When it's about half-way cooked, add the taco seasoning and continue to stir and cook until the turkey is cooked through.
  • Thaw the frozen corn (I use the microwave). Wash and chop the romaine lettuce, rinse and drain the black beans, slice the grape tomatoes in half, slice the jalapeño, and shred the cheddar cheese.
  • To build the salad, lay a bed of the chopped lettuce in each bowl, top with beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, seasoned turkey, and a few slices of jalapeño. Drizzle the creamy avocado dressing over top and enjoy!

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Notes

*I used my own homemade taco seasoning, but you can use a store-bought taco seasoning packet, if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25recipeCalories: 476.45kcalCarbohydrates: 37.55gProtein: 32.93gFat: 23.2gSodium: 1044.28mgFiber: 11.95g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Half-tossed turkey taco salad in a serving bowl with salad tongs

How to Make Turkey Taco Salad – Step by Step Photos

finished avocado dressing in the food processor

Make the creamy avocado dressing first, so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 avocado (peeled and pit removed), ½ cup sour cream, 1 clove of garlic (minced), ¼ tsp salt, 2 Tbsp lime juice, ¼ bunch cilantro, and ¼ cup water. Process until smooth. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.

ground turkey cooking in a skillet with taco seasoning being sprinkled over top

Add ½ Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add 1 lb. ground turkey and break it into pieces as it cooks. When it’s about half-cooked, add 2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or one store-bought taco seasoning packet) and continue to cook and stir until the turkey is cooked through.

seasoned ground turkey in the skillet

Set the cooked, seasoned taco meat aside.

turkey taco salad toppings in bowls: beans, corn, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeño

While the turkey is cooking, you can begin to prepare the rest of the toppings. Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of black beans, thaw 1 cup frozen corn (I use the microwave), slice 1 pint of grape tomatoes in half, shred about 2 oz. of cheddar, and slice one jalapeño.

Chopped Romaine lettuce in a serving bowl

Also, wash and chop one head of Romaine lettuce. To begin building your salad, place the chopped lettuce in the bottom of a large serving bowl (or you can create four smaller single-serving salads).

Beans being poured onto the salad with corn, tomatoes, and cheese

Start adding the toppings: corn, tomatoes, shredded cheddar, and black beans.

turkey taco meat and jalapeños added to the salad

Top with the turkey taco meat and sliced jalapeños…

Creamy avocado dressing being poured over the salad

And finally, drizzle your creamy avocado dressing over top and enjoy!

Side view of turkey taco salad in a serving bowl with the jar of dressing in the back
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  1. Another 10 out of 10. This came out sooooo good. I didn’t have an avocado, but I did have those little avocado mash cups from Costco, so I used one of those in the dressing instead. DELISH! (I only made a 1/2 recipe since it was for 2 people, but for the full recipe, you’d probably use 2 of those little avocado cups.) I also added a little cooked wild rice under the toppings. This one’s going into regular rotation — Thank you, Beth!

  2. Holy cannoli. I got inspired by a lack of ingredients to turn this into a Lamb Gyro Salad/Tacos.
    Dressing added cucumber and subbed Greek yogurt, swapped spinach for cilantro.
    Lamb, seasonings were swapped to oregano/cumin/thyme/garlic/salt/pepper.
    Then romaine, tomato, peppers or cukes, feta or whatevah, scallions for fun.

    Make it salad or taco/gyro. Yummers.

    Beth, you are the best. And next time when I have all the right ingredients, I’m going to cook it your way.

  3. I made this salad with the homemade taco seasoning but used a store-bought green goddess dressing, and it was absolutely delicious! The turkey turned out so juicy and flavourful. The taco elements made it feel like healthy comfort food.

  4. Another hit from Budget Bytes!  I made the dressing per the recipe, as well as the taco seasoning.  Everyone loved it.  A delicious, fairly light and definitely healthy meal.  We talked about getting some of those tortilla bowls to serve it in.  

  5. This is one of my favorites!  I’m trying to get my fiance to try ground turkey more and this is the only recipe I’ve found so far that he likes.  Thank you for that.

    1. Try the Thai Turkey meatloaf recipe out on him. My husband LOVES that one (and so do I)!

  6. This was a great weeknight dinner – and the dressing was an instant hit! We have a similar dressing from the grocery store that I keep on hand because my dad loves it, but for our family, this version was waaaay better. Can’t wait to make it for my dad next time he’s in town.

  7. This looks delicious but I can’t have dairy!!! Is there anything you’d suggest that use to replace the sour cream? 

    1. No, unfortunately, sour cream is one of the main ingredients so you don’t want to substitute that.

    2. I would recommend that you look up “vegan sour cream” on Google – there are a bunch of recipes that I found, that feature raw nuts (soaked – either cashews or cashews + slivered almonds), acid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar), salt, dijon mustard and water. Some were nut-free, and used silken tofu as the base. Just FYI.

      This avocado dressing is just too good to miss out on!

  8. Made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit! The dressing is amazing and just elevates the salad so much. Super easy to pull together with all of the fresh ingredients! Will for sure be making again as an easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

  9. Great recipe! Would you please add black beans to the ingredients list? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for catching that! It was on my paper version, must have missed it when I was typing it up. :P All fixed now!

  10. I’ve been following your blog for years and this is the first time I’ve left a review. I miraculously had every ingredient to make this recipe before I even saw it. The avocado dressing is genius! I make the original lime crema all the time and this was a major upgrade to an already great topping. I left out the ground turkey and instead cooked black beans with the taco seasoning and used mixed greens instead of lettuce. It turned out amazing and was super filling. Don’t forget to add some tortilla chips!

  11. Turkey taco salad is exceptional, even without the black beans! Don’t care for them!