M’s Turkey Taco Salad

Tuesday May 5, 2015

Taco salads are a variation on tostadas, but with the base tortilla shaped into a bowl, and began to sprout on Mexican restaurant menus in the 1960s. Its all the ingredients you would eat in a hand held taco, but with lots more lettuce on a plate, so dieters like the taco salad.

Taco salads are so everyday, but with fresh ground turkey meat and all delicious add ons, it is a fantastic all-weather meal. My friend M works at a progressive graphics design firm and every so often M makes this taco salad for lunch for her co-workers. In return, the eaters pay a few dollars, which is donated to their charity of choice that week.  Beth was invited to the office lunch one day and was able to partake of M’s famous salad, so delicious that every plate was picked clean.

Wow. The slow cooker makes delicious hot taco meat, with no precooking even.  M uses vine-ripened tomatoes, either salad or Romas, and a thick commercial jarred salsa, like Pace Picante.  She likes to use a medium hotness for cooking, but mild for serving as a topping.  If you’re in a “hurry” you can cook the meat fresh on HIGH for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

If you are a bean lover, you can use any of your homemade beans, made in the slow cooker of course, in place of the canned beans. Any of the southwest style beans such as Scarlett Runner Beans, Calypsos, Amethysts, Pink, Anasazi, cranberry beans, or a fresh pot of pintos.  I personally like green onions and chopped fresh cilantro on top too. Serve with a bowl of soup if you want more of a meal.


Cooker: Medium Round

Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 4 to 6 hours

Serves 6


  • Meat Sauce
  • 1.25 pounds fresh ground raw dark turkey meat
  • 1 16-ounce jar tomato salsa
  • Salad
  • 6 cups thick shredded or chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups corn chips
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, heated in a saucepan or microwave
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 pint cold sour cream, stirred
  • 1 medium firm-ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced right before serving
  • 1 4-ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 16-ounce jar tomato salsa


Spray the cooker with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.  Place the ground turkey and whole jar of salsa in the cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, until cooked thoroughly.  Stir.

To serve, assemble all the salad components in separate containers. Prepare an individual plate with layers of lettuce, handful of corn chips, hot meat, a spoonful or two of hot pinto beans, shredded cheese, spoonfuls of salsa, some diced tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, and olives.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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