Nancy’s Healthy Kitchen’s Taco Salad


Years ago I owned a very popular reduced-fat restaurant with two locations in the LA area called Nancy’s Healthy Kitchen.  This taco salad was by far the most popular item on the menu.  Some of our customers, including my husband, ate this delicious salad for lunch or dinner everyday for several years!  It’s such a hearty and satisfying main course salad.  Men particularly seem to love it.  It’s a little warm, due to the skinny chili, part spicy from the salsa and way cool from the skinny ranch dressing.  Unlike most tostadas served in a deep fried shell, this taco salad is topped with crushed reduced-fat blue corn tortilla chips to add some crunch.  The skinny for 1 main course salad, 364 calories and 7.7 grams of fat.  I’m comparing it to a Baja Fresh Grilled Chicken Tostada with 1140 calories and 55 grams of fat. I think you’re going to love this hearty main course salad.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for Turkey Chili:

1 package ground turkey (about 1 pound)

1½ cups onions, chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, chopped or 1½ teaspoons from a jar.

1 (14 oz) jar pasta or tomato sauce (we like pasta sauce from a jar, such as Prego Pasta Sauce)

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz) can tomatoes, chopped

½ cup water

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Taco Salad:

8 cups romaine lettuce about 2 bags, chopped

2 cup tomatoes, chopped

½ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

½ cup Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing or your favorite reduced-fat ranch dressing, see shopping tip

1 cup (no-oil) Guiltless Gourmet blue corn tortilla chips, crushed, or any reduced-fat tortilla chips

Chunky salsa, medium hot (I like Pace Chunky Salsa)


1. To Make the Turkey Chili-In a large nonstick pan, brown the ground turkey over medium-high heat, stirring often to break up lumps.  Drain cooked turkey into a colander in the sink and blot with paper towels to remove excess fat.  Return drained turkey to the pan.

2. Place onions in a microwave-safe bowl or plate and microwave for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft.

3. Add cooked onions to the turkey and stir in the remaining turkey chili ingredients.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. To Assemble Each Taco Salad-Place 2 cups of romaine on each plate.  Top each with ¾ cup warm turkey chili.  Sprinkle each with ½ cup tomatoes on top of the chili.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the tomatoes, if desired.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons ranch dressing over the cheese.  Sprinkle ¼ cup crushed tortilla chips over the top of each salad and dollop salsa.  Serve with extra salsa on the side.

Makes 4 main-course salads (each salad, 2 cups lettuce and ¾ cup turkey chili)

Shopping Tip

If you don’t want to make Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing, use a store-bought reduced-fat ranch.  If you live in Southern California, you can buy Nancy’s Healthy Kitchen Lite Ranch Dressing at Gelson’s or Ralph’s Markets in the produce department.  I also like Trader Joe’s Reduced-fat Ranch Dressing or Marie’s Lite Ranch Dressing, sold in the produce department of most supermarkets.

Prep Tips

This turkey chili recipe makes 8 cups. You’ll only need 3 cups for this recipe to make 4 salads.  Freeze the remaining chili in containers to make this salad at another time.

If you make my skinny ranch dressing for this recipe, you’ll have a lot leftover.  It will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. It’s so versatile.  It’s not only delicious on a variety of salads, it’s great as a dip for veggies or a topping for baked potatoes.

Vegetarian Tip

To make this salad vegetarian use a meatless crumble to replace the ground turkey.  I like Ives Meatless Ground.  It’s sold in most supermarkets, health food stores and Trader Joe’s.

Quick Tip

You can substitute all the dry seasoning in the chili with 1 package of Lawry’s Chili Mix.

Weight Watchers
(old points) 7
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 salad, including 2 tablespoons of Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing (not including cheese)
364 calories, 7.7g fat, 33g protein, 53g carbs, 11g fiber, 689mg sodium, 7g sugar
FAT FACTS: for a Baja Fresh Tostada with charbroiled chicken
1140 calories, 55g fat, 60g protein, 98g carbs, 27g fiber, 2370mg sodium, 8g sugar