Wendy’s offers several healthy food options, but some of their more hardy menu items are so tasty that it’s hard to choose. Thank goodness for Wendy’s Taco Salad which gives me the best of both. This salad is made with Wendy’s Chili, loaded with ground beef, beans, and spices. With crisp lettuce, fresh toppings, and savory chili, it’s a hardy and healthy meal the whole family enjoys.
But since I’ve been preparing more meals at home, this Copycat Wendy’s Taco Salad has quickly become a go-to. One advantage of making the same salad at home is that I can make it ahead of time and eat it during a lunch break two or three days a week. I can even double the chili recipe and store half of it in the freezer to use later in pasta dishes or casseroles.
This salad can be prepped in advance and stored in mason jars for weekday lunches. Once the chili has cooled down, pour a couple of spoonfuls into the jar. Then add the cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce, and twist the lid on tight. Store your tortilla chips and sour cream separately and place all of the containers in the fridge. Packed like this, the salad can be made two to three days in advance and conveniently enjoyed during the week.
Even with the chili, this can be a healthy meal by using low-fat ingredients, such as lean beef and low-fat sour cream. It’s a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
Wendy's Copycat Taco Salad Recipe
For the Chili
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1 (398ml) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth
For the Salad
- 1 bunch romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Tortilla chips
- Sour cream
- Salsa or jalapeños
For the Chili
- First, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Then add the onions and celery, sauteing for about 2-3 minutes until veggies soften. Next, add ground beef and brown for another 2-3 minutes until the meat is nicely browned.
- Then add the spices- garlic, chili powder, coriander, salt, and pepper. Stir the ingredients well and cook for 2-3 minutes until the flavors develop.
- Add kidney beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, and beef broth, bring the pot to a boil, stir well. Lower heat to medium-low, and then cover with a lid to simmer for 20 minutes.
For the Salad
- While chili is cooking, assemble the salad. Simply chop the lettuce and place in a bowl. Once the chili has finished cooking, spoon the chili on top, followed by tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa. If you like a bit of heat, you can also add jalapeño peppers.
- If you want to freeze and save a portion of the chili, place it in an airtight container and store for up to 3 months.
- For a healthy tip, drain and rinse the two cans of beans. This can reduce the sodium content by as much as 41%.
Finding a healthy, filling salad at a fast-food restaurant is becoming easier. To make them even healthier, you even have the option to substitute ingredients. Check out our list of delicious fast-food salads, and let us know which one is your favorite.