Listen up TACO LOVERS: this low carb taco salad recipe is so delicious you won’t want to wait until Taco Tuesday!
Low carb recipes and low carb salads can be sooooo aburrido (boring) but this isn’t your average TexMex recipe…
It’s one of those finger-lickin’ taco recipes that can’t be beaten, with its grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, creamy avocado, salty cotija cheese, and addicting cheese chip toppings. Make this for dinner or for your low carb lunch ideas!
It’s an amazing weeknight recipe that’s sure to please! Break out the margaritas, it’s TACO SALAD time!
I want to TACObout why I love to make this low carb taco salad recipe so much:
- It’s fast! If you have 50 minutes, you have a low carb taco salad on your dinner table! It can be made even faster with some of the recipe variations below! Check them out!
- It’s MEXICAN food. Say no more. I’m here for it, always. 365 days, 24/7!
- This salad is loaded with fresh veggies, seasoned chicken, two different cheeses, creamy avocado, and crunchy pepitas!
- Like any good salad, you can customize this one to whatever you have on hand! Add more veggies, swap out the meat, make it vegetarian, create a cheese taco for it, change up the salad dressing, etc. The options are endless!
Check out what you need to get in order to make this healthy taco salad pronto:
See the ingredients needed for this salad below but remember, just use what you have, skip what you want! That’s the great thing about salads, they’re so customizable! Make them work for you!
Pepper Jack Cheese: This is a spicy cheese flavored with sweet peppers, rosemary, habañero chilies, garlic, and jalapeños. You’ll be making the cheese chips with this cheese.
If spice isn’t your thing, just use cheddar or white shredded cheese in its place.
Chicken Breast: Choose Boneless, skinless options and pound them thin.
You can also purchase pre-cooked chicken breast to save yourself some time. Serve the chicken however you like it best, you can slice it thinly, you can shred it (use the leftovers to make shredded chicken tacos) or use ground chicken (again, use the leftovers to make ground chicken tacos!)
Low Carb Taco Seasoning: Use your favorite low carb taco seasoning. I love Trader Joe’s taco mix but it’s also insanely easy to make your own too!
Bell Peppers: Use whatever bell peppers you like the most. I personally loveeee to use ALL the colors- yellow, red (my FAVE!), green, orange. It looks like a rainbow AND you get a variety of nutritional benefits.
Fun fact: Red peppers pack the most nutrition because they’ve been on the vine longest. Green peppers are harvested earlier, before they have a chance to turn yellow, orange, and then red.
Romaine Lettuce: Adds a fantastic CRUNCH factor! You can use any lettuce you want though.
Cherry Tomatoes: Choose heirloom cherry tomatoes for a beautiful pop of color. However, if you’re on a strict low carb diet, use tomatoes sparingly.
Hack: You can also slice the tomatoes in half so you feel like you’re getting more than you are!
Avocado: YUM. Avocado adds the perfect amount of fat to this salad to help you stay full longer. You could also whip up this guacamole to add to this recipe too!
Pepitas: You can also sub pumpkin seeds for pepitas. Either one brings great flavor and crunch!
Tools To Make
Here’s what you need to make this low carb taco salad recipe:
- Oven: for baking cheese chips (you’re going to obsess over these!)
- Baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat: for baking the cheese chips on
- Pizza cutter: for slicing cheese into strips (You can also use a knife to accomplish this.)
- Large skillet with lid: for grilling chicken and sauteing peppers. If you want to skip the step of grilling the chicken, you can also make slow cooker taco meat — Come home to the meat cooked and ready to eat! You can use that same chicken to make grilled chicken tacos too. MmmmMmm good!
- Large bowl: for serving the prepared salad with all ingredients mixed into it
Store all leftovers in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it again.
Meal Prepping Tips
I love me some healthy lunch ideas and this low carb taco salad recipe is lunch GOLD. Meal prepping healthy recipes makes it super easy to prepare for the week ahead’s meals…
A great way to meal prep this low carb taco salad recipe is to turn it into a mason jar salad. Never made one?
It’s super simple and can make your premade salads last 4-5 days in the fridge. Since you are stacking the ingredients in the mason jar, this helps to maintain your salad’s freshness and avoid salad sogginess!
Here’s how to easily make a mason jar salad:
- Add your salad dressing of choice on the bottom of the mason jar (if adding to the recipe)
- Add your protein next (in this case, the grilled chicken)
- Now add the veggies (the bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado)
- Add the cheese & the pepitas
- Add the romaine (or whatever lettuce you’re using) at the top
- Usually, the lettuce is the last layer but for this recipe, add the cheese chips on the top since you don’t want them to get soft
When you’re ready to eat the salad, simply flip the jar upside down to let the dressing run throughout the stacked salad ingredients. Shake the jar a couple of times, remove the lid and chow down!
You can eat it directly out of the jar or dump the salad into a bowl. How neat is that?!
If you want to think outside of the salad bowl, you can serve your salad in these EPIC cheese taco shells. With only 2 ingredients, you can make your very own taco “shell” without the carbs!
If you want to make some chips to go with your meal because honestly, who can eat Mexican food without the chips?! Bake up these low carb tortilla chips. There are minimal ingredients in this recipe, and it yields the saltiest, most crunchy tortilla chips!
This recipe is crazy convenient since you can alter it to your liking. See below how to shift things around to make it work for you:
Can I Use Other Kinds Of Meat?
Yes, use whatever kind of meat you want in this low carb taco salad recipe!
Other meat ideas to incorporate into this taco salad recipe are: beef, pork, or turkey. These will also make killer leftovers for ground beef tacos, pork tacos, turkey tacos or carne asada tacos!
I love that Mexican food can be repurposed so easily!
What Kind Of Dressing Can I Use?
This recipe is fantastic because switching up the dressing totally changes the flavor profile of the salad!
I usually eat this salad without dressing, as there are so many flavors and textures to enjoy instead.
If that isn’t your style, check out these other notable dressings: homemade ranch dressing, caesar dressing or this homemade italian dressing to really dress up your salad right!
Can I Turn This Into A Casserole?
Ooooohweeee, I LOVE casseroles. They’re SO easy, it’s laughable!
Make your life a breeze and turn this recipe into a low carb taco casserole by plopping all the ingredients into a casserole dish (minus the lettuce, and sprinkle the cheese on top instead of making cheese chips!) and baking it in the oven!
I do recommend turning the strips of chicken into a ground chicken casserole to make it easier to eat.
Can I Make A Vegetarian Taco Salad?
If you don’t eat meat, aren’t feeling it this week or are looking for some different Meatless Monday options? You can totally make this low carb taco salad recipe without the meat. I’d just load up on extra veggies!
If you want some ocean options, try salmon, shrimp or tuna!
And like above, you can use the leftovers to make salmon tacos, shrimp tacos, and tuna tacos… seafood tacos are always such a light and delicious choice!
Low Carb Taco SaladPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 Cups Pepper Jack
- 1 Lb Chicken Breast boneless, skinless, pounded thin (or purchase thin chicken breast)
- 2 Tablespoons Low Carb Taco Seasoning can use whatever taco seasoning you'd prefer
- 2 Bell Peppers julienned
- Romaine Lettuce chopped
- Cherry Tomatoes sliced
- Avocado sliced
For the Cheese Chips:
- Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread a thin and even layer of pepper jack over the parchment paper.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the cheese begins to look crispy. Take baking sheet out of the oven, set aside and allow it to cool.
- Once it has cooled enough to handle and has completely stopped bubbling (if you do this too soon, the cheese will stick to the paper towels), place paper towels over the top to sop up some of the grease.
- Flip the cheese onto a cutting board (with paper towels between the cutting board and the cheese.)
- Replace the parchment paper on top with paper towels to absorb some excess grease on this side.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the cheese into long and thin strips — similar to tortilla strips.
For the Salad:
- Meanwhile, season chicken on both sides with low carb taco seasoning and pat the seasoning into each breast.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I used a grill pan cast iron to get the grill marks).
- Add julienned bell peppers to the pan and saute until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- Add chicken breast to pan and sear each side for about 3 minutes.
- Cover the skillet and continue cooking the chicken for about 10 minutes (until no longer pink in the center).
- Set the chicken aside with the peppers to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, assemble lettuce and sliced cherry tomatoes. Add bell peppers and chicken. Cover with sliced avocados, cotija, pumpkin seeds and cheese strips.
- Serve with your favorite low carb dressing and enjoy!
Lettuce celebrate (and make) these tasty, never boring Salad Recipes:
- Grilled Chicken Salad. Full of (you guessed it) grilled chicken!
- Mexican Chicken Salad. So many zesty flavors packed into a salad.
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad. Bacon, cheddar, green onions, oh my!
- Tarragon Chicken Salad. A classic for a reason.
- Avocado Chicken Salad. No need for mayo when you’ve got nature’s creamy equvilant.
I think you are going to dig how easy and yummy this low carb taco salad recipe is! I know it’s certainly in my weekly rotation of meals to make.
I can’t wait to hear what you think… Let me know how you prepared it in the comments section below!