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An Easy Taco Salad Recipe with Suggestions, and Hints for Picky Eaters

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Haley spends her free time trying new recipes and attempting to find recipes that will convince her child that vegetables are not evil.


Getting children, and sometimes husbands, to eat a healthy diet full of vegetables can be difficult. One option for tricking picky eaters into a healthier diet is to sneak vegetables into meals that they already eat. Such as, sneaking more vegetables into the spaghetti sauce, or adding vegetables to taco night (this is easily done by making them "fajitas" instead and mixing the cooked veggies and meat together in the skillet before serving.)

If you're lucky enough to already have your picky eater eating tacos with vegetables, the next step can be turning it into Taco Salad. The basis for the recipe is simple, but the options are endless, and by adding the brightly colored Catalina dressing, it can cover up a multitude of hidden veggies.

This is the recipe that I grew up on, and it was about the only time that I saw my brothers eat vegetables at all.

Make it Healthier

If you're not fixing for picky eaters, a few changes can make this not so healthy salad a lot healthier.

  • Switch in organic tortilla chips instead of the Doritos.
  • Add salsa for extra produce.
  • Add shredded carrots. olives, or bell peppers
  • Use your favorite low-fat dressing instead of Catalina.
  • Instead of using a packet of taco seasoning, season with your own blend to reduce the sodium.
  • When browning the meat, add some minced garlic or garlic powder to the meat. This will add more flavor, as well as the cancer-fighting benefits of garlic.


The basic recipe is simple, but since it is a salad, it's simple to add the vegetables that are already acceptable as well as add any thinly sliced nutritious produce that you may have on hand.

  • 1 lbs ground beef or turkey (preferably organic)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • a few stalks of celery
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, or your favorite mix of greens
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of beans (rinsed)
  • 1 bag of Nacho Doritos
  • Chopped green onions
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 bottle of Catalina Dressing
Brown the meat until fully cooked, making sure to break it up during cooking.

Brown the meat until fully cooked, making sure to break it up during cooking.

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Add the taco seasoning, and follow the package directions.

Add the taco seasoning, and follow the package directions.

The yummy finished taco salad.

The yummy finished taco salad.


1. Brown the hamburger meat in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, until cook through, making sure to break it up into smaller pieces.

2. Drain the fat from the meat, and return the meat back to the skillet.

3. Add the taco seasoning, and follow the package instructions to correctly prepare the meat.

4. Prepare all of the vegetables, making sure to wash them. Rinse the beans Make sure to add the lettuce, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and cheese.

5. If you're not eating the salad right away prepare the vegetables for the salad in a large bowl, and the beef and beans in a separate bowl simply mix them as needed.

6. Crush the Doritos in the bag, or simply crush as much as you need it.

7. If you are eating the salad right away, simply mix all the ingredients including the salad dressing, and enjoy. Preparing the salad right away and using the thick dressing helps to hide any sneaky vegetables that have made their way to your child or husband's plate.


Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 14, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe and your useful tips for picky eaters. I have one at home. My son is such a picky eater. He has a handful of meals he likes. Introducing new food is very difficult. But that's normal for his age. He's only 4.

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