Taco Salad brings my two loves together, Mexican food and salad. Seriously, I crave salad 80% of my life (but don’t be fooled, the other 20% I’m dreaming of chocolate chunk cookies or vegan Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Muffins).
When I got my first full-time job, I brought this for lunch nearly every day for a year. No joke. It got to the point, where my Taco Salad was the lunchtime joke. Laugh all you want co-workers, Taco Salad is what got me through hundreds of team meals without being tempted by the pizza and fried foods others were eating, because this salad is THAT good.
Despite being packed full of flavor and nutrients, perhaps my favorite part of Taco Salad is its versatility to be morphed into other meals throughout the week. If you prep the protein + pepper mix on Sunday, you can take it for a low-carb lunch over greens the next day, you can serve it over rice and beans at dinner for a heartier meal, and then on Tuesday, just stuff the filling into a taco shell and Instagram that ishhh for a hassle-free #TacoTuesday.
This recipe is seriously a cinch, and is a no-brainer for meal prep! We all need some go-to light meals going into the holiday season, right?! If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram! @ellen_whitney
- Yield: 4 servings
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
This recipe is quick, delicious, and adaptable to whatever your nutrition needs are! It can be made entirely vegan, or with ground beef, chicken, or turkey. You can keep it lean and low-carb, or always add beans and rice for additional volume!
- 1-2T avocado or olive oil
- 2 bell peppers - different colors if possible!
- 1 large red onion
- 2- 8 ounce packages tempeh OR 1lb ground meat
- Taco Seasoning - at least 2T, but more to taste
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic - optional
- sea salt - to taste
- salad greens (spinach, mixed, arugula)
- 1 jar salsa
- 2 avocados
- 2-3 lemons or limes
- Heat a large skillet with 1-2T avocado or olive oil.
- Wash + dice the bell peppers and onion. Add to a hot skillet, and saute ~5 minutes until they start to soften.
- Meanwhile, if using tempeh, remove from plastic and use fingers to break up into small "ground meat" like pieces.
- Once the peppers have started to soften, add the tempeh or ground meat. If using meat, break up until small pieces as you toss around the pan. Add taco seasoning to taste (I add a lot!), fresh garlic (if using), and sea salt to taste (depending on salt content of your taco seasoning- however, the leaner the meat, the more sea salt will add tenderness). Cook another 3-6 minutes, until all the pink is gone from the meat or the tempeh pieces are lightly browned.
- Divide meat and pepper mixture into 4 equal containers for meal prep.
- TO ASSEMBLE: In a medium bowl, add salad green base. Top with a quarter of the taco mix, add half an avocado (diced), then toss with ~1/4 cup of salsa and juice from half a lemon/lime as a salad "dressing". Season to taste. (If you don't want to eat as a salad, you can always serve this the same over a bed of rice or quinoa, or simply add rice or quinoa to the salad!)
- FOR MEAL PREP: The protein + pepper mix should already be divided into 4 containers. In 4 smaller containers, add 1/4 cup salsa, half an avocado, and the juice from 1/2 a lemon or lime. Prep the greens in a large container each day (this will serve as your bowl). When ready to eat, heat up the pepper + protein mix, pour over the greens, then toss with the container of salsa/avocado/citrus and you're ready to eat!