Whole30 Recipe Book: Mexi-salad with fresh guacamole

We’ve been on the road a ton, and that means making extra efforts when it comes to Eating Good Food.  When we travel, we pre-package travel meals in glass storage containers, pack coolers full of ice to keep foods fresh, shop for lunch at the nearest healthy food market, and order the best available meats, oils and vegetables for dinner.  It also means that when we get home, we put EXTRA effort into cooking high quality, high variety, fresh and balanced meals.  Hitting the grocery store as on your way home from a long trip isn’t fun, but it’s important to eat as well as you can, as often as you can, especially after being forced to compromise on quality during your travels.

This past weekend, we returned from our CF Stamford gig too lazy to prepare a complicated meal, but desperately craving something fresh and green and hearty. Enter the oh-so-flexible, always delicious, ridiculously simple Mexi-salad.

We grabbed some grass-fed local ground beef from the market, a variety of colorful, fresh vegetables from the grocery store and a head of crisp Romaine lettuce to use as our salad base.  (And because we were feeling lazy, we bought organic diced tomatoes and salsa instead of preparing our own.) Dallas made the recipe up as he went along, but the beauty of a meal like this is you can spice to taste, and include whatever vegetables you like.  The more the merrier in this dish – it all blends together beautifully.

Mexi-Salad with fresh Guacamole

Taco salad:

  • 2 lbs. organic, grass-fed ground beef (fresh, or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 can (16 oz.) of organic diced tomatoes (read ingredients!), or dice your own
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 head of fresh, crisp romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 each yellow, green and red pepper, diced
  • 1 jar of organic salsa (or make your own )


  • 4 fresh avocado, pitted and mashed
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 limes, squeezed for juice (squeeze them like you’re deadlifting!)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh cilantro (chopped), to taste


  • Prepare the guacamole ahead of time, and chill while you make the salad.  Mash the avocado in a glass or ceramic bowl* to desired consistency.  Pour the lime juice over the avocado right away to prevent browning.  Use a wooden spoon* to mix in all other ingredients.

*The lime juice in this recipe is reactive with metal, so avoid metal mixing bowls and spoons.  Plus, we always prefer alternatives to plastic.

  • Start to brown the ground beef.  Add tomatoes and spices and simmer until it’s no longer pink.  Drop a pile of chopped romaine on a plate, top with ground beef, sprinkle with diced pepper and cover with fresh salsa.  Spoon a hearty helping of guacamole on the side.

We’d also like this topped with black olives, onion or chives, or any other fresh vegetables you can think of.  You can also boost your leafy green consumption by using baby spinach as your salad base… but there’s something about the warm ground beef on top of the crispness of romaine that we really like. (A blend of both lettuce and spinach might be just the thing.) Add or subtract fat in the form of more or less guacamole, and if you need more carbs, consider adding pineapple or making a mango salsa instead of the traditional tomato-based version. Olé!

Note: We ate our salad so fast, we didn’t take a photo. The cover image is courtesy of

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  1. says

    Is it wrong that I like iceberg lettuce in my taco salad? It is, isn’t it?

    I mean, I throw good, colorful veggies in there, too, but I really love the watery iceberg and the way it wilts under the meat.

    sorry. :-(

    I will eat collards and kale and spinach as penance.

  2. says

    @Tracy: Thanks for the link! Those pureed roasted parsnips look amazing – parsnips are one of my favorite winter vegetables.

    @Mel: It’s funny… Dallas likes to say that no food is truly neutral – everything we eat either makes you MORE healthy or LESS healthy. Well as far as I can tell, iceberg lettuce is as close to neutral as you can get. There’s, like, nothing in it! So if you’re using your iceberg lettuce consumption to back up your “But I DO eat vegetables” argument, I’m gonna call bull-hooey. However, YOU can eat away, because I *know* you get PLENTY of the good, green, nutrient-dense stuff in with the rest of your meals.

    9-BLOG READERS: Want to know how to prepare, cook and serve those high quality leafy greens? Check out Mel’s blog post all about kale, chard, beet tops and more!

  3. Claudia says

    Hi Melissa,

    I know you are traveling and I am so excited to start “training” with you. I am glad I checked your blog because that recipe sounds AH-mazing and so simple, that is the kind of information that I need!

    Thanks for everything, also looking forward to a seminar coming to a place close to Lake Tahoe soon! Perhaps Crossfit Lake Tahoe????

    Claudia :)

  4. Adam says

    This recipe looks frickin’ awesome, will definitely be trying it soon – it’s being able to eat food like this that makes paleo so easy! Mexican style mince + salsa + lettuce + guacamole = awesomeness! :)

  5. Adam says

    Made this last night – ditto Anna’s comment above! Was just beautiful and also very easy. The guacamole was absolutely unreal! In fact, we liked it so much i’m cooking it again on saturday night and having the folks over to try it.

    Keep the awesome recipes coming!

  6. Abe says

    I made this tonight. It also worked really good using the romaine and doing (very messy) lettuce wraps. NOM NOM NOM. We put some fresh roasted chile peppers on top. Thanks for a GREAT recipe.

  7. says

    @ALL: Wait until you try our newest STM submission (going up Friday)… unofficially called The Best Fajitas You’ll Ever Have. Dallas is a genius when it comes to spices… stay tuned!

  8. says

    Yo peoples,

    I made this last night and…. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Even after completely butchering the homemade salsa, which ended up looking like (and tasting like) pureed grass, when I put everything together it was absolutely amazing. Not once did I think, “man, this could use some tortilla chips or something”

    I 100% recommend people try this one!

  9. says

    Luke – we’re so glad you liked it as much as we did. People sometimes overlook the simple recipes, but they’re often the most delicious. Feel free to buy pre-packaged salsa and guac if you’re short on time or culinary skillz (although NOBODY makes guac as good as our own).

    Thanks for the blast on Twitter, too! Hope you like some of our other recipes just as much.



  10. shane says

    I make something similar, except I fry up the ground beef & then add some chopped spinach to it. Sneak those veggies in and it tastes great.

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