My friend Claudia inspired me to create a taco salad that would be suitable for diabetics. First, it depends on what guidelines you follow for your carbohydrate consumption. The standard American Diabetic Association (ADA) recommendation is for 15-20 grams net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per serving. A reduced carb goal would be 10-15 grams total carbs per serving, low carb would be 5-10 grams total carbs per serving, and very low carb would be <5 grams total carbs per serving.


Typically, a taco salad contains meat and no beans, while haystacks use beans and sometimes vegetarian burger.


  1. First, lose the tortilla chips, which weigh in at 18 grams carbs per 1 oz.! If you absolutely have to have chips, try the Low-Carb Doritos™ recipe (below), which are also gluten-free, if that matters to you.
  2. Build your taco salad or haystack from the ingredients listed below, based on your taste preferences but, more importantly, on carbohydrate content.

Servings: one

Nutrition Information (per amount of carbs shown):

  • Low-Carb Doritos™ – 0.62 g per chip (recipe below)
  • Lettuce, shredded – 1.6 g per 1 c.
  • Tomatoes, chopped – 3.5 g per ½ c.
  • Black olives – 1 g per 0.5-oz. serving
  • Onion, chopped – 1 g per 1 T.
  • Ground beef, pan-browned – 0 g per 4-oz. (compare to 5 g in MorningStar Farms® Grillers® Crumbles™ or Gardein™ Beefless Ground per ½ c. or 6 g in Trader Joe’s Beef-less Beef per ½ c.)
  • Eden® Organic Black Soy Beans – ½ c. has 8 g total carbs, 7 g fiber (1 g net carbs)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded – 0.7 g per ½ c. (I have not found any suitable non-dairy cheese, but you could use grated carrots with 2.6 g per ¼ c.)
  • Guacamole – carb content varies with size of avocado and carb content of salsa. May want to make your own (recipe below)
  • Full-fat sour cream – 1 g per 2 T. (compare to 2-9 g per 2 T. of Tofutti® sour cream products)


Lovett, Carol. “Low Carb Chili Doritos,” Ditch the Wheat (July 9, n.y.). (accessed on 8/19/2020).

SDuhA. “Slide Show: How to make a Haystack,” Barely Adventist (August 13, 2014). (accessed on 8/19/2020).

Verywell Editor. “Super-Easy 5-Minute Guacamole Recipe,” Very Well Fit (updated April 3, 2020). (accessed on 8/19/2020).