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This taco salad recipe is such an easy and quick-to-make shrimp dinner idea. It combines sautéed shrimp and nutritious cooked quinoa with healthy salad ingredients, such as crunchy romaine lettuce and chopped bell peppers. A terrific 35-minute meal!

taco salad bowl with romaine lettuce, shrimp, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, lime, cilantro

Looking for more delicious, but still healthy salad ideas? This recipe for taco salad is such an easy, yet filling meal that combines refreshing salad ingredients with delicious taco flavours!

While I love me some tacos, having those same flavours in a salad format makes for a slightly more veggie-heavy and convenient meal. Unlike regular tacos, this shrimp taco salad bowl can totally be made ahead of time and packed for a work or school lunch.

As a dietitian, I’m happy to share that this nutritionally-balanced meal is packed with lots of veggies, including romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and tomatoes, along with healthy fats (avocado), and complex carbs (quinoa).

If interested, I’ve shared a more in-depth breakdown of the nutrition benefits of each of the key ingredients in this taco salad recipe below.

In addition, I’ve shared some ingredient substitutions and other toppings ideas to make this salad your own. Also included are tips for cooking quinoa, tips for cooking shrimp, and tips for making this healthy taco salad recipe in advance.

Want more shrimp dinner ideas? Check out my roundup of healthy shrimp recipes for more inspiration! This mango and avocado salad with shrimp is a favourite!

taco salad bowl with romaine lettuce, shrimp, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, lime, cilantro

Recipe Ingredients & Substitutions

All you need to make this healthy taco salad recipe are 12 simple ingredients:

  • quinoa – you could also use a different whole grain, like farro, brown rice, or millet
  • large shrimp, fresh or frozen – if you want to do this with another protein, you could do something like cubed salmon or chicken. Cook them on the stovetop with olive oil and taco seasoning, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
  • olive oil
  • taco seasoning – there are recipes online for making your own, but store-bought ones work great too!
  • romaine lettuce – other another crunchy green lettuce, like iceberg or little gem
  • bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
  • cherry tomatoes – or other small tomato varieties like grape, plum, or pearl tomatoes
  • avocado – or your could use store-bought (or homemade) guacamole
  • lime
  • cilantro – other other fresh herbs, like parsley or basil
  • salsa – or pico de gallo; store-bought or homemade
  • plain greek yogurt – I love this for a protein-packed alternative to sour cream, but you could totally use regular sour cream, a vegan alternative, or omit entirely

Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Other Topping Ideas

Want to add even more flavours? You could try topping this quinoa taco salad with:

  • cheeses, like grated cheddar or parmesan, or crumbled feta or cotija
  • other veggies, like fresh or canned corn, shredded cabbage, or sautéed zucchini
  • diced onion
  • crushed tortilla chips
taco salad bowl with romaine lettuce, shrimp, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, lime, cilantro

Tips: How To Cook Quinoa

I recommend starting this recipe by cooking the quinoa. It takes about 20 minutes, and while it’s cooking you can prep the rest of the taco salad ingredients. I am all about maximizing efficiency in the kitchen!

If you need a foolproof way to cook quinoa, check out my in-depth post ALL about how to cook quinoa – I personally find it one of the EASIEST whole grains to make!

Tips: How To Cook Shrimp

While the quinoa cooks, you can toss shrimp in olive oil and taco seasoning in a small bowl. Allow the shrimp to sit and marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

If you’re using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw shrimp and remove tails first. My go-to, speedy way for thawing shrimp is to place them in a colander and run cold water over top of them. They’ll thaw in a few minutes! Be sure to pat thawed shrimp dry with a paper towel before tossing them in the taco seasonings.

Once shrimp are ready to cook, all you need to do is heat a large pan to medium-high. Add the seasoned shrimp to the pan (leaving some space between each piece of shrimp) and cook for 1-2 minutes each side, until opaque and lightly browned.

Keep a clean bowl nearby to place cooked shrimp into. This is particularly helpful if you have to work in batches!

Tips: Storage & Make-Ahead Option

If you want to prep this recipe in advance, you can:

  • cook the quinoa + store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Cooked quinoa will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • cook the shrimp + store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Cooked shrimp will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  • clean + chop the veggies, including the romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and tomatoes. These will also keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve this shrimp taco salad, you can combine everything together with the other ingredients. Things like the avocado, salsa, lime juice, etc. should be added right when you’re ready to serve!

Leftovers of this salad can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge as well. To maintain freshness, leftovers are best enjoyed by the next day, otherwise the romaine can get a bit too soggy.

shrimp marinating in taco seasoning and olive oil in a white bowl

Recipe Nutrition Benefits

Curious about some of the nutrition and health benefits of this particular recipe? The whole food ingredients are packed with nutrients, such as:

Shrimp:

  • an excellent source of protein, shrimp contains 18 grams of protein in a standard 3-ounce or 85-gram serving.
  • a source of micronutrients like selenium, B12, iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, magnesium, and iodine
  • a source of omega-3 fatty acids

Romaine Lettuce:

  • an excellent source of beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A), with a 100-gram serving providing 174% of your daily vitamin A needs
  • a good source of micronutrients like vitamin C, K, B6, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Tomatoes:

  • full of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K
  • a great source of antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene

Bell Peppers:

  • one of THE best sources of vitamin C, just one bell pepper provides 180% of your daily needs
  • along with vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, bell peppers are also a great source of carotenoids

Quinoa:

  • rich in nutrients, like complex carbohydrates, fibre, and even protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids)
  • a great source of micronutrients too, including magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, folate, and copper

Avocado:

  • rich in monounsaturated fats and fibre, making it incredibly heart healthy
  • a good source of micronutrients like vitamin C, B6, K, E, magnesium, potassium, and folate
taco salad bowl with romaine lettuce, shrimp, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, lime, cilantro

More Healthy Shrimp Bowls

Did you give this Shrimp Taco Salad Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Healthy Taco Salad With Shrimp & Quinoa

This taco salad recipe is such an easy and quick-to-make shrimp dinner idea. It combines sautéed shrimp and nutritious cooked quinoa with healthy salad ingredients, such as crunchy romaine lettuce and chopped bell peppers. A terrific 35-minute meal!
taco salad bowl with romaine lettuce, shrimp, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, lime, cilantro
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (which is 1/3 cup dry)
  • Approx. 20 large shrimp, fresh or thawed (peeled, de-veined, tails removed)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning (plus more for serving)
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • Salt + pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Begin by cooking quinoa. Measure 1/3 cup dry quinoa and rinse in a sieve. Add quinoa to a large pot with 2/3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat when done.
    For more tips on cooking quinoa, check out my in-depth blog post for how to cook quinoa perfectly!
  • Meanwhile, toss shrimp in olive oil and taco seasoning until well-coated. Allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Chop romaine lettuce and cilantro. Slice bell peppers and avocado. Halve cherry tomatoes and lime. Set aside.
  • Heat a large pan to medium-high. Add shrimp to pan, cooking for 1-2 minutes on each side, until opaque and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside in a clean bowl.
  • Assemble taco bowls by dividing all ingredients in half. Start with the romaine lettuce as a base. Add 1/2 cup quinoa to each bowl, along with 1/2 the cooked shrimp, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
  • Before serving/eating, add 2 Tbsps of salsa to each bowl, along with freshly squeezed lime, and optional greek yogurt. Toss well, and season with salt + pepper, extra taco seasoning, and an extra drizzle of olive oil (as desired). Enjoy!

Notes

*LEFTOVERS:
  • Leftovers of this salad can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge as well. To maintain freshness, leftovers are best enjoyed by the next day, otherwise the romaine can get a bit too soggy.
  • Please see blog post copy for tips on making this recipe in advance, if needed!
 
*INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS:
  • Instead of quinoa you can use a different whole grain, like farro, brown rice, or millet
  • Romaine lettuce can be swapped with another crunchy green lettuce, like iceberg or little gem
  • Cherry tomatoes can be swapped with another small tomato varieties like grape, plum, or pearl tomatoes
  • Avocado can be swapped with guacamole (store-bought or homemade)
  • Cilantro can be swapped with other fresh herbs, like parsley or basil
  • Salsa can be swapped with pico de gallo and can be either store-bought or homemade
  • Plain Greek yogurt is an awesome protein-packed alternative to sour cream, but you could totally use regular sour cream, a vegan alternative, or omit entirely.
  • If you want to do this with another protein, you could do something like cubed salmon or chicken instead of shrimp. Cook them on the stovetop with olive oil and taco seasoning, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
 
*ADDITIONAL TOPPING IDEAS: Want to add even more flavours? You could try topping this quinoa taco salad with:
  • cheeses, like grated cheddar or parmesan, or crumbled feta or cotija
  • other veggies, like fresh or canned corn, shredded cabbage, or sautéed zucchini
  • diced onion
  • crushed tortilla chips

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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