Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado (Paleo, Low-Carb, Gluten Free)

Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado found on
This Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado has a dressing that's seasoned with green chile salsa.

I'm a big fan of taco salad, so recently when my niece and cooking assistant Kara was doing the Whole 30 challenge, I thought it would be fun to come up with a taco salad that's Whole 30 approved.  I also wanted a taco salad that didn't have beef, and this delicious Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado is the combination we came up with.   Simmering the meat with green chile salsa and other seasonings, using a little of the same salsa to add flavor to the dressing, plus adding green and red bell peppers and finely chopped fresh Poblano chiles to the salad greens gives this salad a lot of savory chile flavor with just a little heat.  Kara and I both loved the flavor of this turkey taco meat mixture; if you have family members who don't want salad it would be delicious inside tortillas for regular tacos as well.

If you want your salad to be Whole 30 or Paleo friendly, the hardest part might be find a green chile salsa without added sugar.  I found this one at my local Smith's MarketPlace (Kroger) and the ingredients are green chiles, onions, garlic, and salt.

Brown the ground turkey well.  Most ground turkey will release some water, so cook it until that's completely evaporated.

Then add the green chile salsa, lime juice, canned green chiles, cumin, and a little salt and pepper and simmer on low until all the liquid has evaporated.

While the meat simmers, pulse together green chile salsa, lime juice, cumin, chopped cilantro, salt, and olive oil to make the dressing.  (You can use a food processor but I used the bowl attachment of my Immersion Blender to make the dressing.  You could also finely chop the cilantro and whisk the dressing ingredients together by hand.)

Slice the green and red bell pepper into strips and finely chop half of a Poblano chile (sometimes called Pasilla peppers in U.S. grocery stores.)

Cook the turkey until all the liquid has been absorbed into the meat or evaporated like this.

Cut up avocado and toss with lime juice.

Toss together the Romaine lettuce, red and green bell pepper strips, diced Poblano, and chopped cilantro (if using).  Add enough dressing to moisten the greens and vegetables.  Arrange the greens mixture on individual plates, top with desired amount of the meat mixture, and garnish with chopped avocado.  Devour!

Green Chile Turkey Taco Salad with Peppers and Avocado
(Makes 4 large salads or 5-6 smaller servings; recipe created by Kalyn, with suggestions and tasting help from Kara.)

Turkey Mixture Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey (I used ground turkey thighs)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cup green chile salsa (for Paleo diet or Whole 30, choose salsa without added sugar)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)
1 T ground cumin
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles (Anaheim chiles, not jalapenos unless you really want it spicy)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup green chile salsa (for Paleo diet or Whole 30, choose salsa without added sugar)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or use sliced green onion if you're not a cilantro fan)
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil (or use another neutral-flavored oil of your choice, such as avocado oil)

Salad Ingredients:
6 heads baby romaine lettuce (or about 3-4 regular heads romaine)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 small Poblano pepper, finely chopped
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro (optional but recommended, use sliced green onion if you're not a cilantro fan)
2 avocados
1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)   

Heat the 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan; add the ground turkey and break apart with a turner as it cooks.  Cook the meat over medium-high heat until any released liquid has evaporated and the meat is starting to lightly brown, about 4-5 minutes.  Then add the green chile salsa,  lime juice, ground cumin, diced green chiles from a can, and a little salt and fresh-ground black pepper and let the mixture simmer on low while you prep the other ingredients, stirring occasionally.

To make the dressing add green chile salsa, finely chopped cilantro (or green onion if you're not a cilantro fan), lime juice, ground cumin, and salt to food processor or the bowl attachment of an Immersion Blender and process until the cilantro is well chopped.  (You could chop the cilantro very finely by hand if you don't have a food processor or immersion blender.)  Add the olive oil and buzz until it's blended with the other ingredients.

Coarsely chop the romaine lettuce, wash in a salad spinner, and spin dry.  (You can also wash the lettuce in a colander, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels if you don't have a salad spinner.)  Cut away the stem and seeds part of the green and red bell pepper and cut the peppers into short thin strips.  Cut the Poblano chile in half, discard the stem and seeds and finely chop the Poblano.  Chop the cilantro (or slice green onions if you're not using cilantro.) Chop the avocado and toss with the 1 T lime juice.

When all the liquid has cooked down in the meat mixture, assemble the salad.  Combine the chopped romaine, green pepper strips, red pepper strips, chopped Poblano, and cilantro (or green onion) in a salad bowl and toss with the desired amount of dressing.  Arrange the lettuce mixture on individual serving plates, top with a generous amount of the meat mixture, drizzle over a little more dressing if desired, and top with diced avocado.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Every ingredient in this salad is suitable for all phases of the South Beach Diet or any other type of low-glycemic eating plan; enjoy! 

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Taco Salads to Enjoy:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Kalyn's Perfect Taco Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Taco Salad ~ Chinese Grandma
Baby Kale Paleo Taco Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Taco Salad with Paleo Catalina Dressing ~ Big Red Kitchen
Vegetarian Lentil Taco Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Avocados ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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  1. I love everything about this salad! So much flavor, so much delicious lime juice. Who needs tortillas?

  2. Thanks Lydia! I can tell you, Kara and I devoured this salad when we tested the recipe.

  3. This looks fantastic! Can't wait to make it (and definitely WITH the cilantro). Thanks, Kalyn!

  4. Thanks Doren, hope you enjoy. And extra cilantro for me please!

  5. I also love taco salad and love the green salsa twist to this one!

  6. this recipe came at a perfect time - I had all the ingredients in the house! we omitted the Poblano pepper and diced green chilies and it was still super flavor full. we added some cooked chicken as well to the delish, looking forward to leftovers!

  7. Wow! this looks delish! Can't wait to try this out! and who says people of diet can't enjoy a meal?? :) Thank you so much for this Kalyn :)

  8. Made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! Thanks for yet another great recipe. :-)

  9. My pleasure, so glad you liked it!

  10. Wonderful! I plan to make again when my sister visits soon!


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