Skinny Taco Salad with Pepita-Ranch Dressing

This healthier take on taco salad provides a host of key vitamins and minerals by swapping out iceberg lettuce for spinach and arugula.

For more Cinco de Mayo recipes: Healthier Cinco de Mayo Menu


Food photography by Pornchai Mittongtare
Food styling by Jeanne Kelley
Prop styling by Robin Turk

Skinny Taco Salad with Pepita-Ranch Dressing

The typical taco salad is full of fatty ingredients such as cheese, sour cream, and fried tortilla chips. This one uses strips of baked tortilla, and substitutes spinach and arugula for iceberg lettuce; a light sprinkle of cotija—a traditional hard Mexican cheese—completes the dish; if you can’t find cotija, feta is a good swap.



  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Garlic salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 4 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup jicama cubes
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large ear sweet corn, shucked (or 1 cup thawed frozen corn)
  • 4 oz. cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Stack tortillas on top of each other on a cutting board, brushing each tortilla with olive oil before stacking. Cut crosswise into thin (1/4-1/2 inch) strips. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with garlic salt, and bake 10 minutes, until crispy and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. While tortilla strips are baking, combine spinach, arugula, olives, jicama, onion, corn, and cheese in large bowl. Combine pepitas, garlic, vinegar, oil, honey, dill, and black pepper in blender. Purée until smooth, adding up to 2 Tbs. water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
  3. To serve, drizzle just enough dressing over salad to lightly coat, and toss to mix. Divide among individual plates, arrange tortilla strips in a crosshatch pattern on top of salad, and serve.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 260
  • Carbohydrate Content 19 g
  • Cholesterol Content 10 mg
  • Fat Content 18 g
  • Fiber Content 3 g
  • Protein Content 9 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 4.5 g
  • Sodium Content 290 mg
  • Sugar Content 3 g
  • Trans Fat Content 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat Content 0 g