Make meal prep simple with these quick and easy taco salads. Filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and black beans, and topped with an avocado cilantro dressing, these meal prep taco salad bowls are perfect for a healthy and high-protein lunch.
I don’t know about you, but I love a good taco salad. It’s crunchy, salty, spicy, and creamy and, when filled right with the right ingredients, can be incredibly filling. The combination of ground beef and black beans in this meal prep taco salad recipe makes the bowls super high in protein, while the beans, corn, and veggies help to boost the fiber content to make them extra satiating.
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But, let’s be honest, this salad is all about the dressing. I mean, avocado cilantro dressing, what’s not to love? It’s rich and creamy, and the perfect cooling compliment to the spicy ground beef.
And, if you’re worried taco salads might not work for meal prep, let me assure you they do. By strategically layering the ingredients in your containers and waiting until the last minute to add the dressing, you can ensure your salads last all week in the fridge and are ready to go when it’s time to eat.
Ingredients for Meal Prep Taco Salad
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these taco salad bowls:
- Ground Beef: The recipe calls for ground beef, but you could use ground chicken or ground turkey if you prefer.
- Onion: To cook with the ground beef.
- Spices: Some chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, and oregano to season the beef.
- Romaine Lettuce: To create the salad base and provide a much-needed crunch.
- Tomatoes: You can use large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes.
- Corn: To replicate corn tortillas in a taco.
- Black Beans: To add some bulk, fiber, and a bit of additional protein.
- Avocado: To create a creamy avocado cilantro dressing for the salad.
- Cilantro: To pair with the avocado for the dressing.
- Yogurt: To add some protein, tang, and creaminess to the dressing.
- Limes: Some acid to finish the dressing.
- Cheese: A salty and crumbly cheese works best in this dish, I suggest cotija, queso fresco, or feta cheese.
In addition to the above, you’ll also need some olive oil, salt, and black pepper. And if you don’t have all the required spices, you can use a package of taco seasoning instead.
To Make it Gluten-Free: No adaptations are needed, these taco salads are gluten-free.
To Make it Dairy-Free: Omit the cheese from the salads and swap the yogurt for a dairy-free yogurt in the dressing.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
These taco salads are SUPER versatile. If you’d like to make the bowls a little lower calorie, use leaner ground meat, such as ground chicken or ground turkey, add more veggies, and be mindful of the amount of dressing you add – just don’t omit it as it adds some healthy fats.
How to Meal Prep Taco Salad
Making taco salad is as easy as making tacos, here’s how you’ll do it:
- Brown the beef. Begin by cooking the beef with the onion and spices.
- Make the dressing. Add all the dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Chop the veggies. Chop all the vegetables for your salad.
- Make the bowls. Once everything is ready, divide the ingredients evenly into containers.
- Store for later. Place the containers in the fridge and store them until you’re ready to eat!
These meal prep taco salads keep well in the fridge for an entire workweek, so you can make them on a Sunday and enjoy them for lunch or dinner whenever you need them. Check out the recipe card below for the full instructions.
Favorite Topping for Taco Salad
When it comes to taco salads, there are so many toppings to choose from! While I made some suggestions in the recipe, the toppings are super versatile, and you could also add:
- Black Beans
- Bell peppers
- Red onion
- Sour cream
- Salsa verde
- Pico de Gallo
- Shredded cheese
- Hot Sauce
- Tortilla chips
And, although I highly suggest making the avocado cilantro dressing, you can certainly use a store-bought version if needed. And if you’re not a fan of avocado cilantro dressing, an oil and vinegar dressing would work well too.
If assembled properly, taco salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to leave any dressings or sauces off the salad before eating to ensure it keeps without going soggy.
Taco salad can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you want to eat the meat warm, keep it in a separate container and warm it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before adding it to your salad when you are ready to eat.
Both taco salad and tacos are healthy choices, they are just different. Generally speaking, taco salad is typically lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat, while tacos are higher in carbohydrates due to the corn or flour tortilla or taco shell. The total calorie content of each is dependent on the ingredients used and portion size consumed.
Storage + Reheating
To Store: The salads and dressing can be stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: I do not recommend freezing these meal prep taco salads.
To Reheat: While the salads are designed to eat cold, if you’d prefer the beef to be warm, leave it in a separate container and reheat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before topping it onto the taco salad.
More Meal Prep Salad Ideas:Print
Meal Prep Taco Salad
These ground beef taco salad bowls are a quick and easy meal prep idea that keeps well in the fridge that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 salads 1x
- Category: Meal Prep
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 can (14 ounce) black beans, strained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup cotija cheese or queso fresco cheese, crumbled
Avocado Cilantro Dressing:
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1/2 plain yogurt, regular or Greek
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup water (more as needed to adjust consistency)
- 1 pinch salt
- In a large pan or cast-iron skillet, the warm olive oil, then add ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spatula or spoon into pieces.
- When the ground beef is 2/3 of the way cooked, add the diced onion, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the onions are tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat, set aside, and allow to cool.
- In a food processor or small blender, add the avocado, cilantro, yogurt, garlic, lime juice, water, and a pinch of salt, and blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency with a bit more water as needed (this may vary depending on the ripeness of your avocado, you want the dressing to be rich and creamy but not too thick), and adjust the salt to taste.
- Chop the lettuce, slice the cherry tomatoes, strain, and rinse the beans, and thaw the corn by adding it to a bowl with hot water and then straining it.
- Once the veggies are chopped and the beef has cooled, assemble the salad bowls. Divide the lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, and ground beef evenly across 4 bowls, layering the ingredients next to each other in each bowl. Top each bowl with crumbled cheese.
- Fill 4 separate small containers with 1/4 of the dressing. (The recipe makes lots of dressing, and while I recommend using it, if you don’t use it all you can store leftovers in a small airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.)
- Once assembled, cover each taco salad bowl with a lid and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to eat, cover your taco salad with avocado cilantro dressing, mix gently, and enjoy.
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Calories: 421 calories
- Sugar: 9 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Carbohydrates: 42 grams
- Fiber: 16 grams
- Protein: 40 grams