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 every day 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.  Each hearty main course salad has 346 calories, and 6 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 Best 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 Tips

If you don’t want to make Best 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 Tips

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.

WW Freestyle Points
SmartPoints 8-Green

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 salad, including 2 tablespoons Best Skinny Ranch Dressing (not including cheese)
346 calories, 6g fat, 0g sat. fat, 25g protein, 54g carbs, 11g fiber, 743mg sodium, 8g sugar
FACTS: for Freestyle Points
220 calories, 0g sat. fat, 4g sugar, 18g protein


  1. I love this recipe…I just wish I could print it in a form that didn’t take 4 pages. Hard to follow in the format it prints in.

  2. I’m so happy you love this recipe. Thank you, Sue! We are working on how to make it easier to print just the recipe. In the meantime, this is what I do. First, copy and paste the recipe only and put it in a word doc or pages if you have a mac. Then print it. You get exactly the part you want on 1 page. I hope this helps!
    My best,

  3. Thanks for quick reply. I have served it twice and both times wanted recipeI only have iPad

  4. Sue, finally good news regarding the print button. Now over 600 of my recipes have been upgraded to a new format for printing them. With these upgraded recipes you can scroll down past the description of the recipe and you’ll see a box with cook time, serving size, and such. Click on the word print in black ink. That should print the recipes with usually 1 or 2 pages max. I hope this works for you!
    All the best,

  5. Good to hear…I will be watching for the taco salad to be in this format to print. Thanks for your attention to my question.

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