With layers of all your favorite taco ingredients this Mexican inspired, this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl is loaded with flavors and nutritious foods. Think ground beef, lettuce, NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes, onions, avocado, cotija cheese, salsa, and queso - it’s a Bowl without Borders everyone can enjoy.
About this Salad
You’ve probably had 7 Layer Dip at a potluck, tailgate, or holiday gathering. And you probably loved it. But what exactly is it? 7 Layer Salad is a Tex-Mex inspired appetizer sometimes referred to as “Taco Dip” and that’s because it’s loaded with layers of your favorite taco dips, sauces, and toppings. Think guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese and salsa.
I’m not so sure it’s even agreed upon what the seven traditional layers are. There are numerous different versions of 7 Layer Dip all with their own spin, but what remains consistent is the tasty taco flavors. And a twist I’ve added is to instead make it a salad instead of dip! Over a bead of lettuce, this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl is a tasty, nutritious meal.
Bowl Recipes are the hot trend that has become a category of its very own. A trend that is here to stay here. A culinary cousin of salads, bowls have become the quintessential festival of flavors with infinite combinations and infinite fun. Let’s celebrate dish diversity and explore a whole world of deliciousness with bowl and salad recipes with your unique taste.
In salad form, you won’t even miss the chips for dipping. This is going to be one of your go-to summer meals! Minimal cooking required, and a whole lot of Mexican flavors in this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl!
And if you're looking for more Mexican inspired recipes, also check out this Fajita Burger Wrap, these Street Corn Mexican Brussel Sprouts, or this Mexican Caesar Salad that I think you'll love, too!
- Ground Beef - I used 93% lean, 7% fat. It's super flavorful without leaving behind too much grease.
- Spanish Rice - I used a precooked, microwaveable pouch. You could cook your own or use plain brown or white rice too.
- Refried Beans - Adds another texture to our 7 Layer Salad and some extra protein too. I like the fat-free can from Trader Joe's where the only ingredients are beans, water, and salt.
- Veggies - This salad is packed with plenty of flavorful veggies with lots of texture. I used Nature Sweet Cherub Tomatoes which are super sweet. They add SO much flavor and beautiful color to this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl. I also used romaine lettuce, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, avocado and jalapeño.
- Cotija Cheese Crumbles - This is a classic Mexican cheese made from cow's milk. Depending how long it's been aged, it can be moist and similar to feta or drier and more similar to a parmesan.
- Salsa and Queso - These will be our dressings. The tang and freshness of the salsa against the creamy, saltiness of the queso is a tasty contrast of flavors.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Heat a skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Add the ground beef into the pan with ½ of the diced white (or green) onions and taco seasoning. Sauté until onions are translucent and ground beef is cooked.
2. While the beef is cooking, wash and prepare the other ingredients. Finely chop: bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, and crumble the cotija cheese. Cook the microwavable pouch of Spanish rice according to bag instructions.
3. Once the beef and rice are cooked and the vegetables are prepared, it’s time to assemble this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl. Similar to a 7 Layer Dip, just layer in all of the ingredients - whether in an aesthetically pleasing fashion OR toss them into a bowl (because that’s how we eat salad anyway).
4. Drizzle on queso and add salsa. Toss and enjoy! I like to serve with chips or a warm tortilla for scooping.
This Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl is super customizable! Leave out what you don't like, add what you do.
- Vegetarian - Use tofu crumbles instead of ground beef. Or add a can of black beans instead!
- Gluten Free - This salad *SHOULD* already be gluten free. Just double check your taco seasoning packet and queso incase the brand you used has snuck in any gluten containing ingredients.
- Dairy Free - Ditch the cotija or use a plant based alternative and use a dairy free queso instead. I love this Siete Foods Queso that's cashew based.
If you're making this salad for meal prep do NOT add the refried beans, queso, or salsa. Keep them separate until time of serving. They’re MUCH better fresh!
Dice your veggies super finely! It’s best to have a bit of flavor from each component in every bite instead of a big mouthful of jalapeño.
Absolutely! Just leave out the lettuce and add the additional ingredients in a layered fashion into a glass pyrex dish and dig in with your favorite tortilla chips. I suggest adding sour cream and using guacamole instead of the avocado for a more dippable texture.
This salad bowl is plenty hearty to be served all on its own! I do like to have some chips or a warm tortilla on the side though to help scoop up all of the goodness that's in this recipe.
More Recipes You'll Love
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & if you really like the recipe consider leaving a comment further down. Thanks for visiting!
Healthy 7 Layer Salad
- Rubber Spatula
- Cutting Board
- Salad bowl
- 6 cups chopped romaine
- cooking spray
- 1 lbs ground beef, 93% lean
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- ½ can refried beans
- 1 pouch microwaveable Spanish rice
- 1 cup Nature Sweet cherub tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 small jalapeño
- ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
- ¼ cup salsa
- ¼ cup queso
- 1 avocado
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking oil.
- Add the ground beef into the pan with ½ of the diced white onions and taco seasoning.
- Sauté until onions are translucent and ground beef is cooked.
- While the beef is cooking, wash and prepare the other ingredients. Finely chop: bell peppers, onion, cilantro, and crumble the cotija cheese.
- Cook the microwavable pouch of Spanish rice according to bag instructions.
- Once the beef and rice are cooked and the vegetables are prepared, it’s time to assemble this Healthy 7 Layer Salad Bowl. Similar to a 7 Layer Dip, just layer in all of the ingredients - whether in an aesthetically pleasing fashion OR toss them into a bowl (because that’s how we eat salad anyway).
- Drizzle salsa and queso on top. Toss and enjoy!
Looking for this in MyFitnessPal?
If you're using MyFitnessPal, search 'A Paige Of Positivity' and find HEALTHY 7 LAYER SALAD calories and nutrition facts. Disclaimer: for most accurate macronutrients and caloric breakdown, it is recommended that you input each ingredient into your MyFitnessPal food diary.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It’s my passion to create dishes that can be shared with others. Tell me something you loved or just say hi!
Sydney Van Acker says
This is actually like 13 layers. But who's counting when it's absolutely DELICIOUS. I added some sour cream on top to make it 14 😉
Courtney Paige says
who knew that mixing condiments would be so tasty? My whole family LOVED this one. Add it to the meal prep!!