Everyone loves taco night and this heart-healthy alternative to everyone’s favorite Mexican dish is no exception.

Substituting ground turkey for ground beef decreases saturated fat since turkey is a lean protein, explains Meaghan Butler, RD, a registered dietitian at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. This recipe also cuts sodium by seasoning with free herbs and spices instead of salt, and by substituting processed, canned salsa for homemade pico de gallo, or fresh salsa.

Meaghan Butler, RD, registered dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Spicy Ground Turkey Tacos with Homemade Pico de Gallo

Taco Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2-teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4-teaspoon oregano
  • 6 oz.-extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1/2-cup chopped onion
  • 4 whole-wheat, low-fat flour tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter, warmed in the microwave
  • 1/4-cup low-fat, reduced sodium shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Top with homemade Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)

Pico de Gallo Ingredients: 

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 serrano or Jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (omit to make less spicy)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano, finely crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Taco Directions:

  • In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin and oregano. In a nonstick frying pan, add the ground turkey and onion. Cook over medium heat until the turkey is browned and onion is translucent. Drain well. Add the spices to the turkey mixture. Stir to mix evenly.
  • To serve, place a 1/4 cup of the turkey mixture in each tortilla. Top each with 1 tablespoon cheese, 1/4 of the diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce and 2 tablespoons pico de gallo. Fold in both sides of each tortilla up over the filling and then roll to close. Serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo Directions:

Combine all above ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or refrigerate (covered) until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts (serving size: 2 tacos)

  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Carbohydrate: 39 g
  • Sodium: 724 mg
  • Added sugars: 0 g


take our fast, FREE heart health risk assessment to learn your risk and how you can get heart-healthy.