Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey taco salad. Easy. Healthy. Low calorie. And quite possibly the best tasting taco salad ever. That’s what we’re thinking of this recipe. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself.

A turkey taco salad, made with ground turkey, radishes, cilantro, and jicama, mounded on a sheet pan.

Turkey taco salad. But wait. Before you judge it as “healthy” (which it is) and therefore “bland” (which it is not), hear us out. As Heather Christo, blogger and author of the recipe says, if she had to choose a single go-to salad, a turkey taco salad would be it, “probably because it’s so loaded with meat and ‘toppings’ that you can just barely call it a salad at all!” Amen to that.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Turkey Taco Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the cilantro-lime vinaigrette
  • For the turkey taco salad


For the cilantro-lime vinaigrette

In a blender, combine the cilantro, garlic, agave, lime juice, and vegetable oil. Puree on high until smooth and season with salt.

Make the turkey taco salad

In a large heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chile powder, cumin, and salt. Then stir in the water and cook until the turkey is completely cooked through and the water has cooked off, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Arrange the cabbage and romaine hearts on a large platter or on individual plates. Top with the jicama, radishes, cilantro, and chile. Spoon the ground turkey on top and drizzle the salad with a generous amount of the vinaigrette. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

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    *Can I make this taco salad with leftover cooked turkey in place of ground turkey?

    • Yes, you certainly can. You’ll use about 1 pound (454 grams) cooked turkey that you’ve shredded or chopped. Then proceed as the above instructions suggest, instead adding the turkey after you’ve added the water and brought it to a simmer. Stir in the turkey and cook until it’s warmed through and completely coated with the spice and onion mixture and some of the water has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This turkey taco salad is a great salad filled with lots of flavors and textures. It’s easily put together and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s colorful and healthy and all of the things I’m looking for in a midweek meal. Oven-baked fresh tortilla chips sprinkled over the top added the perfect crunch. It provided 4 generous servings and could easily be scaled up to meet the appetites of a crowd. My advice is that you use this recipe as a guide. It works as is but use more or less of any of the listed ingredients according to your taste. Next time I’ll chop all the ingredients so they’re all approximately the same size. Also, I might reduce the amount of cilantro in the salad. Avocado and quartered cherry tomatoes would be a nice addition. If my local salad restaurant offered salad with this many ingredients and textures, I might eat there more often! Don't skimp on the dressing. My supermarket had no Fresno chile and being unsure which chile would be suitable I opted to leave it out as we didn't want to overdo the spiciness of the salad.

    This turkey taco salad is a cilantro lover's dream! So fresh and verdant. It’s the vinaigrette that makes this dish sing. The crushed tortilla chips on top are a must and I think that some crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese on top would also be amazing. My seven- and eight-year-olds both happily ate this salad as well, which is a win-win! It also introduced them to savory, apple-like jicama, which they are enjoying today sliced into sticks in their lunch boxes. (If you buy pre-sliced jicama at the grocery store salad bar, you’ll cut prep time down by 20 minutes.) Prep time would be reduced even further if you buy a sack of shredded purple cabbage and a sack of chopped romaine hearts. Since the vinaigrette is so cilantro forward, one could easily skip the 1/2 cup of leaves added to the salad. My kids would likely enjoy the salad even more this way.


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    1. I made this for a family dinner last night and it was a smash hit – filling but not heavy and full of bright flavours and textures.

      We can’t get jicama in the UK so subbed in some sliced turnip which added a wonderful juicy crunch. I’m not a fan of overly sweet dressings so I omitted the agave nectar and added a little mayo and green chile for a spicier and creamier texture. Following a tip I learned from a Mexican friend, I also mixed the spices with the ground turkey the night before to get the seasonings working together.

      All in all a big success and a great new addition to the regular week night repertoire!

      1. Thanks, James! I’m so pleased you all loved this so much. It’s one of my family’s favorites as well. Love your variation suggestion on the dressing! Can’t wait to hear what you try next.

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