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Thousand Island dressing - homemade tastes so much better than storebought dressing.


Taco salad is a classic and is sometimes served at a potluck.  I made this low-carb, suggesting the use of my Cheddar Chips in place of taco chips, which worked quite well.  Make sure not to overcook the chips though. They need to be mild-tasting.  You can also make Monterey Jack chips or Mozzarella chips which are very mild-tasting and not sharp.  You want something bland like taco chips.  I think may try one of the latter options next time, as my Cheddar cheese was a sharp cheese to begin with.


Another way to make this that I have seen is people stir the Thousand Island dressing into the meat and top the meat on the salad with sour cream.  I don’t think that is necessary and doing it this way, there is no need for sour cream, thus cutting calories from this already very substantial meal.  The carbs are happily very low, but that would not have been the case if using beans in the meat or using real taco chips.  This low-carb version is tasty and satisfying, and a fun meal to make.  It goes a lot faster than you think to make this meal.  I am sure you will enjoy it and will be able to customize this recipe to suit all tastes in the family.


If you like, you can serve low-carb tortillas on the side for a taco/burrito option, or come to think of it, cutting tortillas in tortilla chip shapes and baking makes a great stand-in for the tortilla chips.


One of the fun ways to serve this meal is to put all the components in bowls like a taco bar and allow the family to build their own taco salad.  You can use iceberg lettuce.  I used Romaine lettuce as that is what I had on hand and besides it is more nutritious.


So as you can see a taco salad is really a deconstructed burrito!  Another way to serve this if feeding a crowd is to make it layered in a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) glass baking dish. 


Another option is if you have nice, big bowls, you can serve each person their taco salad in a bowl.  I didn’t have that option, so arranged all on dinner plates.  Remember to assemble just before ready to eat otherwise the warmth of the food and salt in the food will wilt the lettuce in time.


So, you can see this is a naturally low-carb meal, except for the traditional taco chips served with this meal.  However, using cheese chips or homemade tortilla chips (mentioned above) solves that problem.  Some meals are very easy to convert to low-carb as they are naturally low in carbohydrates.  It took so long for the diabetes associations to jump on board with the fact that it was carbohydrates that were causing the problem - not the fat!  I remember my first cookbooks for people with diabetes had to be low in fat and we used margarine!  The carbohydrates were still high as we used white flour; however, we didn't use sugar itself.  Such wrong-headed thinking took many, many years to change.  Thankfully, now people with diabetes can embark on a low-carb journey or low-carbohydrate lifestyle.  I regret writing those first two cookbooks in a way because they were not that helpful, and besides we now know that margarine is horrible for us, and butter is good for us.  Those were the diabetic guidelines for cookbook authors and people with diabetes 30 years ago. 

If you want to change this salad up a bit, you could use Catalina dressing; however, I love my homemade Thousand Island Dressing.  You could even use Ranch dressing.  So many ways to change this up.

Another idea is you could top this salad with chopped avocado or guacamole.   If you are in maintenance, you could add black beans or soy black beans (much lower carb) to the meat.

​Another idea is to add black olives to the top of the salad.  If you want more vegetables, you can add chopped bell peppers and onions into the meat while it is cooking.  As you can see this salad is like a full meal deal and you can so easily customize it to suit your tastes and that of your family.

​I used some spices specifically; however, you could simply use taco seasoning in your meat to season it appropriately.

​This recipe is not only low carb, but also a keto recipe.  Enjoy!

Some other recipes you may enjoy: 



2 lbs lean ground beef (0.9 kg)

4 tsp ground cumin (20 mL)

2 tsp salt (10 mL)

2 tsp onion powder (10 mL)

11/2 tsp hot chili powder (7 mL)

1 tsp arrowroot powder, OR (5 mL)


1 cup water, OR as necessary (250 mL)


12 cups shredded lettuce (3 L)

Thousand Island Dressing (recipe below)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (250 mL)

  (or use Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese)

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

Cheddar Chips (click for recipe – skip the bacon)

Thousand Island Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise (250 mL)

2 tbsp tomato paste (30 mL)

2 tbsp minced pickles, OR green pepper (30 mL)

1 tsp dried parsley (5 mL)

1/8 tsp onion powder (0.5 mL)

1/8 tsp hot chili powder (0.5 mL)



In large nonstick frying pan, cook ground beef over medium high heat.  Add cumin, salt, onion powder, hot chili powder and arrowroot powder, OR cornstarch.  Add water and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. 


To assemble:  Place a bed of lettuce on a dinner plate, top with ground beef, 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) Thousand Island dressing, 2 tbsp (30 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese and some tomato.  Surround the salad plate with Cheddar cheese chips.

Yield:  8 servings

1 serving

489.3 calories

27.4 g protein

39.2 g fat

2.3 g fiber

4.1 g net carbs 

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