This flavorful main-dish salad makes a great keto alternative to traditional tacos. There’s no need for dressing – simply mix in salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.
When you crave tacos on the keto diet and don’t feel like making cheddar taco shells, this salad is a great option. You get all the wonderful flavors, without the unnecessary carbs and calories from the shells.
In my high-carb past, my family used to have a weekly “build your own taco” night. These days, we have a weekly “build your own keto taco salad” night, where each of us chooses their own toppings, and it’s just as delicious and just as fun!
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty salad (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Avocado oil: A neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, making it ideal for cooking.
Lean ground beef: I like to use an 85/15 mixture. I have experimented with lower-fat meat (90/10) and have determined that it’s too dry and not as flavorful.
Onion and garlic: Once, when out of fresh ingredients, I tried using onion and garlic powders instead. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t as good.
Taco seasoning: You can make your own or use store-bought seasoning – just make sure it doesn’t contain sugar. The ingredients for making your own are listed in the recipe card below under “Notes.”
Fresh vegetables: Mixed salad greens and cherry tomatoes.
Shredded cheddar: I like to use extra-sharp cheddar. It’s so flavorful!
Condiments: Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream
Since I like to keep this salad keto and low carb, I don’t use beans, even though they CAN be quite nutritious.
How to make a keto taco salad
This salad makes such a quick, tasty weeknight dinner. And it’s very easy to make. Simply sauté the beef with onions and spices, then build your salad.
Bagged salad greens and store-bought salsa make this recipe especially quick. And you can obviously use store-bought taco seasoning instead of mixing your own spices. Both options are provided below in the recipe card. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Cook the beef and onions in some oil.
Add the garlic and the seasonings.
In serving plates, layer the cooked seasoned beef with the remaining ingredients, as shown in the photos.
A layered or a mixed salad – your choice
I like to make a layered salad, as shown in the photos – it’s just so pretty. After I serve the salad, each of the diners can add more toppings and mix everything together right in their plate.
But if you prefer, you can put everything in a big salad bowl and make a mixed salad.
How to make dressing for keto taco salad?
I actually don’t use dressing. The toppings – salsa, guacamole, and sour cream – work beautifully as a tasty dressing when mixed into the salad.
If you still want to make a dressing, I suggest whisking together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
Can you keep leftovers?
Not really. The problem ingredients here are the lettuce and the avocado. Both do not do so well as leftovers, so it’s best to finish them up right away.
You CAN keep the cooked ground beef separately if you made more than you need for the salad, though. Keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and reheat it in the microwave on 50% power.
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- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning*
- 5 oz mixed salad greens
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup salsa
- 1/3 cup guacamole
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and the onion and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as you cook, until beef is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and the taco seasoning. Cook, stirring, 2 more minutes, until beef is well-coated. Turn the heat off.
- To make a layered salad, divide the beef mixture and the remaining ingredients among 4 large plated, layering them next to each other as shown in the photos. Each diner can add mix their own salad.
- To make a mixed salad, place the salad greens in a large bowl. Top with the beef mixture, the tomatoes and the cheese. Spoon the salsa, guacamole and sour cream on top, and mix everything together, then serve.