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Southwestern Paleo Taco Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing

This paleo taco salad is the real deal. Crisp greens and power veggies get paired with homemade taco meat and an avocado-lime dressing that brings the whole thing together. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a neighborhood potluck!

overhead view of wooden salad bowl filled with paleo taco salad surrounded by salad tongs, avocado, cilantro, and a bowl of dressing

The other day I was in Trader Joe’s, and there was a bagged salad kit for a Southwestern Salad, with a big cowboy boot on the front of it. It comes with all the greenery and veggie fixings, as well as some cheese, tortilla strips, and a soybean oil based dressing.

Yeah, we’re on the same train here, and it’s not the paleo one – that seems to have left the station at “lettuce.” But when you’re pregnant and hungry, sometimes there counts for a lot. Pregnancy laziness got the best of me, and I grabbed the bag of salad and a pound of ground beef and headed home.

I turned the ground beef into taco meat using my taco meat recipe . That took about 10 minutes to cook, then I tossed it with the salad mix and the dressing and served it up for dinner.

So. Easy.

I recommend using a ground sirloin or a ground chuck for this recipe. You’re looking for a leaner ground beef that will take on the flavorings of the taco meat seasoning. You can read more in my guide to the different types of ground beef here.

I’m all about easy during pregnancy, but I also want to feel my best – especially when I’m short of breath just from climbing a set of stairs – so I set out to make a paleo taco salad version of the Trader Joe’s Southwestern Taco Salad. And friends, I do believe I have delivered for you.

Paleo taco salad ingredients

Again, in sticking with the laziness factor, I wanted to cut up and chop as little as possible. In light of that, I purchased a bag of pre-chopped romaine, as well as a bag of shredded cabbage mix that included shredded carrots. (You could also just purchase a bag of cabbage and a bag of shredded carrots, if your store doesn’t have a combo bag.)

The only thing I cut up were the radishes, and I gave the cilantro a rough chop off the stems. From there I just gave everything a good toss with the taco meat.

Topped with my avocado-lime southwest dressing, which you can whip up while your taco meat is browning, this taco salad will take you all of 15 minutes to put together.

Note: I am NOT usually a fan of crunchy, tasteless or bitter, raw vegetables like cabbage and radishes. I can eat raw cabbage in a really good coleslaw, but raw radishes have never been my thing.

I didn’t really notice them in this salad, which was nice – a punch of healthy raw veggies, mostly undetected!

Is this salad Whole30

At this point, your salad is completely Whole30 approved!

Now, if you are not on a Whole30 round, and if you want to add a little paleo crunch, and really take it up a notch, get yourself a bag of Siete Grain-Free Nacho flavor tortilla chips. (They’re still completely paleo, they just fall in the SWYPO category for Whole30, so they’re off limits there.)

Crush a handful of those up and mix them in right before eating, and I can’t even begin to tell you about the deliciousness you will experience.

I only recommend adding the chips to your current serving, and not the whole salad. Any chips left in the salad will get soak up the moisture from the veggies and get soggy. Keep it fresh and add the chips right before eating!

Southwestern Taco Salad |

Southwestern Paleo Taco Salad

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This southwestern paleo taco salad combines crisp veggies, spicy taco meat, and a cool avocado based dressing for the perfect balance.


For the salad:

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage mix, (about 9 oz)
  • 2 cups chopped romaine, packed
  • 3-4 medium radishes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb taco meat

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/3 cup avocado (about 1/2 of 1 large)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the taco meat. 
  2. While the taco meat is cooking, combine all dressing ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and combine until you have a smooth creamy dressing. (You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times!)
  3. Remove the taco meat from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 
  4. While cooling, combine the cabbage, romaine, radishes, and cilantro in a large salad bowl. 
  5. Add in the taco meat and toss well to combine. 
  6. Serve with the avocado dressing.


If you really want to take it up a notch, add a handful of crushed Siete grain free tortilla chips on top!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 813mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g
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