Turkey Taco Salad

SaladQuick and EasyGluten-FreeGround Turkey

Taco Salad made with healthy ground turkey, black beans, and corn. Serve warm or cold over romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes, avocados, and shredded cheese. Perfect for a mid-week meal or make-ahead lunch.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

For a quick supper, especially in warm weather, you can’t beat a big taco salad like this one.

Make the bean (canned or homemade) and turkey topping in a big skillet, and serve it warm over lightly dressed crisp romaine. Or make it ahead and serve it cold. It’s up to you.

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To finish off your salad, add a few crunchy fresh vegetables and top with some sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.

Actually, this salad has everything but actual tacos! You could always serve tortilla chips on the side, but who needs them with this saladpalooza?!

Not too many pots and pans, not too much effort. That’s the way summer should be.

Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

For a lighter version of this salad, skip cheese or swap the sour cream for yogurt – or both!


For the bean and turkey topping:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder (or substitute regular chili powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

For the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 hearts of romaine, chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey jack cheese, or more, to taste
  • Handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1 Cook the onion, garlic and spices: In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the onions soften.

2 Add the ground turkey and continue cooking. Break up the meat into small bits as it cooks using a stiff spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the turkey is no longer pink.

3 Stir in the diced tomatoes, black beans and corn. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 more minutes to allow the flavors to mingle and the mixture to thicken. If the mixture seems dry, add water 2 tablespoons at a time.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Cool briefly.

This topping can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to 5 days. Serve cold, or warm briefly in the microwave or a warm skillet before serving.

4 Dress the greens: In a bowl large enough to hold the lettuce, whisk together the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing looks combined.

Add the lettuce to the bowl. Toss to coat it with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

5 Assemble the salad: Divide the lettuce among 4 to 6 plates. Divide the filling between the plates, and garnish with the tomatoes, onions, avocado, radishes, shredded cheese and cilantro. Top each salad with spoonful of sour cream and a lime wedge, and serve.

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Turkey Taco Salad

Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

More from Sally

4 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Karen Celestine


  2. Carrie Havranek

    This dish is so flavorful and comes together pretty easily. We also had some leftovers which made for a good lunch the next day.

  3. Laura Wallan

    I tried this yesterday and it’s great.

  4. Kathleen

    Yum! Another version of taco salad and it’s a Winner!! I almost always use turkey for my taco salad and am making this now for lunch! I make a chicken one like it with cilanrto lime ranch dressing using Bolthouse dressing and Greek yogurt and so good also. Thanks

Turkey Taco SaladTurkey Taco Salad