The secret to every best Taco Salad is a classic dressing. It’s a dish that everyone should be able to prepare. It’s a dinner that everyone can agree on, young and old! It’s quick, flavorful, hearty, and a breeze to make!
It doesn’t take much to put together a satisfying meal, especially when you know the perfect dressing for your taco salad for every occasion. This is a dish you’ll want to make again and again!
If you are on a diet because obviously quarantine was not good for your extra kilos and trying to cut some calories, it isn’t exactly a welcoming feeling. Especially if you’re just getting started. Believe us when I say that we are well aware of the situation. But did you know that increasing your fiber and protein intake can be a lot of fun especially when it’s your favorite Taco Salad we are talking about?
Basics of Taco Salad Dressing
This is up to you. You’re the boss of your Taco Salad. It’s a salad, and salads are made to be tinkered with and customized to your liking. But for starters here are the basics, and then we’ll talk about how you can switch it up.
Lettuce- Usually the base of any salad dressing
Cheese – Shredded cheddar cheese – who doesn’t want some protein bonus points in your healthy diet?
Avocado and/or guacamole
Tomatoes- preferably cherry tomatoes
Beans- Salad dressings taste delicious with a handful of black or pinto beans.
Red and green onions
Doritos – They’re what makes this salad so delicious, but feel free to leave them out if you prefer. If you wanted to spice things up a little, Fritos would be a great addition.
Dressing- Classics are always a go-go, but feel free to experiment with cilantro, jalapeno, chopped bell peppers, or whatever else strikes your fancy!
Corn – Corn well because it goes with everything, everybody loves some crispy or sweet corns
Cilantro- Some fresh leaves for aroma and leafy taste goes good with taco salad dressings.
Sour cream- goes a long way for way with taco salad dressings. For vegans a brownie point too.
Adding a protein- Salads are incomplete without some good amount of protein. These would be great with cooked chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, salmon, or tofu will are great protein supplements.
Sliced jalapenos- Who doesn’t like their tacos spicy sour and sweet!
Fresh vegetables: Bell peppers, cucumbers, jicama, radishes, and corn, whatever is your happy veggie. Sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or artichoke hearts are examples of extra jarred vegetables.
Fruits like diced fresh mango, pineapple, orange, or grapefruit can be added.
Just live your life, toss whatever makes you happy in your taco salad dressing. Okay, people.
Things to keep in mind while preparing Taco Salad Dressing
Everything can be completed in advance.
Tomatoes will be the most difficult to work with. Overnight is fine, but if you’re planning to eat it for the entire week, chop your tomatoes and put them in your veggie container the night before you plan to eat it.
Last but not least, toss in the chips, dressing, salsa, and sour cream. The ideal healthy meal to last you the entire week!
Chop your lettuce and mix in the green onions and cilantro, making sure they are completely dry. Place in a ziplock bag after wrapping in a paper towel.
Place all of your meat or beans in a single microwave-safe container. Then, in a separate container, combine all of your other vegetable toppings.
For lettuce forget about fancy microgreens or even a spring mix here. They’ll be trampled by the rest of the salad toppings. To withstand all of that, you’ll need tougher lettuce. Choose romaine lettuce, romaine hearts, leaf lettuce, or plain iceberg lettuce.
Different types of Taco Salad Dressings
The best part about taco salad dressing is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach! You can change up the ingredients, substitute chicken for taco meat, and make it spicy or mild. Taco salads are well-loved and delicious no matter how you prepare them.
1. Balsam and vinaigrette dressing
This dressing is a classic. The kind that we like to shake up and store in a jar to use later. And it works with several different kinds of salads. Here’s the recipe-
- 3/4th cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4th cup balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
In a jar, combine all of the ingredients and shake them. Check to see if the dressing needs to be adjusted. Add more oil if the dressing tastes sharp. Add more balsamic vinegar if it’s too thick. Mustard, garlic, herbs, honey, or brown sugar can also be added.
2. Classic Mayo dressing
This dressing is for you if you’re a mayonnaise fanatic, but with a twist.
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1/2 teaspoon chives (dried)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
A quarter teaspoon of onion powder
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Whisk them together until they’re thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes after covering. Allow cooling before serving.
3. Honey and mustard dressing
A rather versatile dressing, this one goes equally well with green salads, steamed veggies, chicken, fish, and meats. Here’s how to make it:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard + 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (kosher)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup
Combine the mustard, vinegar, honey, and salt in a medium to large mixing bowl. To make the dressing creamy, slowly sprinkle in the oil while whisking. Refrigerate for up to three days before using.
4. Coconut greens
This slightly sweet, slightly tart dressing will spice up your greens. Chop Chop, we go
1 can coconut cream
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
20 gms Italian salad dressing mix (dry)
In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Continue to mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use, then serve chilled.
With this simple salad dressing, you can add zest and flavor to your salad with a hint of Italian cuisine. Here’s how to make it:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp White wine vinegar,
2 tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 of lemon juice
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon basil (dried)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (dried)
In a small to medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Then add Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours and use as needed.
6. Zingy Lemon
To your taste buds, a light sprinkling of grated lemon peel is all you can ask for in a taco salad. When combined with the freshness of a homemade salad, this citrusy dressing is a winning combination!
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (rice)
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder
a quarter teaspoon of dried celery
Get a bottle or a jar with a tight lid. Put all the ingredients in the bottle and shake it well.
7. Sweet and Sour dressing
This is a perfect dressing for you if your taste buds crave a sweet and sour taste. It is a delicious salad dressing. It’s made with vinegar, red wine, sugar, and garlic, and it’s one of the most addictive flavor combinations if done correctly. The flavor balance in this dish is quite difficult to achieve, but it is well worth the effort.
3 teaspoons of sugar
3/4 cup red wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
A quarter teaspoon of black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon rosemary leaves, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
2 teaspoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
- In a small saucepan, dissolve 3 tablespoons of sugar. Don’t stir, just shake the pan over high heat.
- Do this for 3 minutes, or until the sugar liquefies and turns a different color (light brown).
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar and dry red wine. The sugar will harden at this point. Return the pan to the flame.
- Combine the garlic, black peppercorns, rosemary leaves, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Stir for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has melted and the mixture has been reduced to about 3/4 cup.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for about 2 hours.
- Using a fine strainer, pour it into a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lime juice.
- Serve immediately. yummm!
8. Dressing with Apple Cider Vinegar
This dressing is a hit! Thanks to the goodness of apple cider vinegar.
It can also be used to marinate foods. Take a look at this universal favorite apple vinegar salad recipe.
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper –
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. You can also combine all of the ingredients in a jar and thoroughly shake it. Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate in a jar.
9. Avocado- lime dressing
Aren’t salads incomplete without avocados? They sure are! Here is an ideal combination of tangy, creamy, and nutritious. This is one of the simplest salad dressings to make for any salad. It can be used as a dip as well. Follow the steps outlined below.
1 avocado peeled
1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 bunch cilantro leaves only
1/2 garlic powder
A half teaspoon of salt
A quarter-cup of lime juice
In a blender, blend the avocado, plain Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro leaves, garlic powder, sea salt, lime juice, and almond milk. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk if the consistency is too thick.
10. Turmeric and Ginger dressing
The health benefits of ginger and turmeric are numerous, and they make a zesty salad dressing. Bean salads, vegetable bowls, and mixed greens go well with this dressing. For the recipe, follow the steps outlined below.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar,
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
Toss all of the ingredients together until well combined, and sweeten with honey if desired. Keep the dressing refrigerated in a jar.
11. Everyday Mexican Salad
5 spring greens onion
1 avocado – pitted and sliced
2/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
half a small red onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/3 cup pepitas
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
optional: 1/2 cup crumbled fresco or cotija cheese
Ingredients cumin-lime dressing:
3 tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed (or red wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, fine
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
1 pressed or minced garlic clove (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl (or shake in a mason jar) until well combined. Use right away or keep refrigerated for up to 3 days in a sealed container.
To make the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss all of the ingredients in a large salad bowl with the salad dressing until everything is evenly coated. Serve right away and enjoy!
How long does taco salad dressing last?
A taco salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days if properly stacked.
Yes, only five days! Isn’t it incredible?
Make sure you stack your taco salad correctly if you’re making it ahead of time. Begin with the dressing on the bottom, and then add the harder vegetables, protein, softer vegetables, cheese, and greens. It’s ready to go into the fridge once you’ve sealed it tightly.
Can I prepare it in advance?
Because it can be made ahead of time, this Healthy Taco Salad is a great addition to your meal prep. Woohoo! The only thing you need to remember is to store it properly in the refrigerator.
Make sure the salad stores well by storing it in a mason jar.
Keep in mind the basic rules of layering! The salad dressing should go in the bottom of the jar, and the greens should go on top.
This keeps your greens fresh (read: not soggy or wilted) until you’re ready to eat them.
By stacking all of the ingredients in a specific order (dressing, hard vegetables, proteins, softer vegetables, cheeses, greens), you can keep each ingredient fresh until it’s time to pour it all into a bowl and eat it.
And, yes, do pour it out into a large bowl or plate to enjoy when you’re ready to get all the ingredients mixed up and coated in the dressing.
Here are some best dishes to serve with taco salad dressing:
A taco salad depending on the dressing can be used as a side dish or a main course. Depending on how you intend to serve it, the additional dishes will vary.
Taco salad goes well with grilled chicken, burgers, steak, seafood, or kabobs as a side dish.
If taco salad is the main course, soup or chips and queso can be served as an appetiser. Try refried beans, cowboy caviar, flatbread, or cilantro rice as a side dish. Desserts like spicy chocolate ice cream, elephant ears, and strawberry nachos would be delicious.
Here are some famous dishes that go well with various taco salads depending on their dressings.
This nutritious coleslaw is delicious on the side or heaped on top of tacos. The cilantro and lime add a burst of fresh summer flavor, the onions, carrots, and cabbage add a nice crunch to this side dish. When you add the jalapeno, you’ve got yourself a spicy dish. Serve this slaw alongside crispy taco salad with crispy veggie dressing.
Do you have a craving for some spicy sides with your Taco salad dressing? How about Mexican restaurant rice? Make this simple Mexican rice recipe at home to save yourself a trip and some bucks. Even your pickiest eaters will enjoy it. For a classic restaurant-style meal, pair it with this double-decker taco-dressing.
Beans in a pot
It’s one of Mexico’s most popular dishes, and it goes well with any taco salad recipe. This is an authentic Mexican meal when served with Oaxacan tacos dressing.
Dip in Seven Layers II
Very tasty and can be even eaten with fat-free sour cream and easy to make. Refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, veggies, and cheese are layered in this dip. It’s like having all of your favorite foods rolled into one. Serve alongside a lighter taco salad dressing, such as Mexican veggie taco salad.
Refried beans are a traditional Mexican side dish. This dish is flavorful and fat-free because it is made in a slow cooker. All you’ll need now are some chipotle shrimp taco dressing.
Black Bean Soup
To make this simply delicious soup, all you need is a couple of cans of beans, an onion, bacon, and spices. It’s the ideal warm, spicy complement to your fries Italiano taco salad dressing.
Salad with salad, sounds healthy right? Quinoa salad goes with any taco salad dressing and trusts us, it’s mouthwatering. Try this new light and a refreshing side salad. It’s light and citrusy but packed with protein from beans and quinoa.
Rice with Lime and Cilantro
This rice is so easy to make, but it’s delicious. If you’re looking for a light side dish to go with your heavy taco salad dressing, this recipe is ideal. This dish’s flavor is carried by cilantro and lime, which do not overpower your taste buds. All you need are some spicy turkey tacos to make a flavor-packed dish.
Vegan Taco Salad
Taco-seasoned chickpea-walnut crumbles; black beans, fresh veggies, and taco-seasoned chickpea-walnut crumbles make for a healthy, filling Vegan Taco Salad Dressing!
Toss it in a quick and classic southwestern dressing and gulp gulp!
(This taco salad dressing recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.)
1 Romain lettuce head (4-5 cups finely chopped)
Red onion, 1/3 cup (or 2-3 green onions)
3 cups black beans (from a can)
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 batch crumbled chickpea-walnut tacos
1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes (about )
Tortilla strips, avocado/guacamole, and cilantro are some other options for serving.
For the dressing:
1 cup plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt (about 10 oz.)2 tbsp (about 1 lime)
lime juice, 1 + 1/2 tbsp
apple cider vinegar,
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon powdered onion
a teaspoon of garlic powder
a teaspoon of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
Additional information is optional. chipotle, fresh cilantro
This fresh and heart-filling Vegan Taco Salad is high in protein (approximately 23 grams per serving) as well as a variety of plant-based nutrients.
- Crumble the chickpea-walnut tacos.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking or stirring together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. If desired, adjust the flavors.
- Chop the romaine lettuce finely. Grape tomatoes should be quartered or halved, and red onion should be finely diced.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all salad ingredients (including taco crumbles when finished baking). Toss everything together.
- Fill serving bowls halfway with salad and top with the desired amount of dressing. If desired, garnish with additional ingredients. (For crunch, I like crumbled tortilla chips.)
- To keep the salad and dressing fresh, store them separately in sealed containers in the refrigerator.
Bonus Nutrition Chart –
Calories: 517 kcal Carbohydrates: 69 g Protein: 23 g Fat: 19 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Potassium: 988 mg Fiber: 19 g Sugar: 13 g Vitamin A: 1344 IU Vitamin C: 23 mg Calcium: 205 mg Iron: 6 mg
Toss your favorite veggies whenever you want in the dressing and it goes- let’s call for a midnight healthy vegan taco house party?
Make your taco salad dressing healthier!
Although taco salad may appear to be a healthy option, it is often high in calories and fat. Taco salad can become a healthy, filling, low-carb, and flavorful meal if you leave out the tortilla chips or taco shell, use fat-free cheese, and replace the traditional sour cream with plain yogurt.
Make your tortilla chips in the oven. To do so, brush corn tortillas with olive oil, season with salt, and cut them into wedges before baking for 10–15 minutes on a greased cookie sheet until lightly golden brown, turning halfway through.
If you don’t want to use sour cream, use light sour cream. The same goes for the cheese.
Toss in some more vegetables to the salad. Bell peppers, corn, and radishes are all excellent choices.
What are some other healthy recipe modifications?
That’s the thing about taco salad dressing, is delicious as is, but it’s also completely adaptable!
- To make it dairy-free– leave out the cheese from the toppings (or substitute with a non-dairy cheese). Instead of plain Greek yogurt, you can also use plant-based Greek yogurt.
- Meatless Substitute black beans for the lean ground beef in this recipe to make it meatless. This provides additional fiber, which is beneficial to the digestive system plus tastes awesome.
- Switch to cheddar, mozzarella, or any other type of cheese if you prefer it. It’s all about providing you with your favorite flavors while staying healthy.
Making a healthy taco salad without the cheese!
If you want to make the recipe dairy-free, you can omit the cheese entirely or replace it with vegan cheese.
You can also use salsa instead of sour cream if you don’t want to use dairy.