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How many calories are in a Qdoba impossible taco salad?

Taco salads can be a tasty and satisfying meal, but it’s important to keep calories in mind when enjoying Mexican fast food. Qdoba’s Impossible taco salad contains plant-based crumbled Impossible meat, which is lower in calories than ground beef. But with all the tortilla chips, cheese, guacamole, and creamy dressing, the calories can still add up quickly. So just how many calories are in a Qdoba Impossible taco salad? Let’s take a detailed look.

Calories in Qdoba Impossible Meat

First, we need to know the calorie count for the key protein ingredient – Qdoba’s Impossible meat. Impossible Foods makes plant-based meat substitutes that mimic the taste, texture, and nutrition of real meat. According to Qdoba’s website, a serving of Impossible meat contains:

Serving Size 4 oz (113 g)
Calories 220

So in a 4 oz serving, Qdoba’s Impossible meat contains 220 calories. This plant-based meat has a very similar calorie count to an equivalent serving of ground beef. When compared to a lean 90% lean ground beef, the Impossible meat has only 10 more calories per serving.

Other Ingredients in a Qdoba Impossible Taco Salad

In addition to the Impossible meat, a Qdoba taco salad also contains many other ingredients that add calories and nutrients. A typical build of a Qdoba Impossible taco salad includes:

  • Lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips

Let’s break down the calorie counts for standard serving sizes of each of these taco salad ingredients:

Ingredient Serving Size Calories
Lettuce 1 cup shredded (55g) 8
Shredded Cheese 1/4 cup (28g) 110
Pico de Gallo 1/4 cup (60g) 15
Guacamole 2 Tbsp (30g) 50
Sour Cream 2 Tbsp (30g) 60
Tortilla Chips 1 oz (28g) 142

As you can see, ingredients like the cheese, chips, guacamole and sour cream significantly increase the calorie count. Now let’s put it all together to analyze the total calories in a full Qdoba Impossible taco salad.

Total Calories in a Qdoba Impossible Taco Salad

Based on standard serving sizes of each ingredient, we can estimate the total calorie count for an entire Qdoba Impossible taco salad:

Ingredient Serving Size Calories
Impossible Meat 4 oz (113g) 220
Lettuce 1 cup (55g) 8
Shredded Cheese 1/4 cup (28g) 110
Pico de Gallo 1/4 cup (60g) 15
Guacamole 2 Tbsp (30g) 50
Sour Cream 2 Tbsp (30g) 60
Tortilla Chips 1 oz (28g) 142
Total Calories 605

Based on these standard serving sizes, a full Qdoba Impossible taco salad adds up to an estimated 605 calories. This calorie count is for a taco salad made with the typical servings of each ingredient that Qdoba provides. The actual calories may be a bit lower or higher depending on the exact quantities of each ingredient you choose to include.

Ways to Reduce Calories in a Taco Salad

While 605 calories lands this salad firmly in the meal category rather than a light snack, there are ways you can modify the salad to reduce the calorie count, if desired:

  • Hold the tortilla chips – Skipping the 142 calorie chips drops the total to 463 calories
  • Ask for light cheese – Reducing the cheese to 2 Tbsp saves 55 calories
  • Swap regular sour cream for low-fat – Light sour cream saves about 20 calories
  • Go easy on guacamole – Cutting it to 1 Tbsp cuts 25 calories
  • Use just 1 Tbsp dressing
  • Fill up on lettuce and pico de gallo

Making some simple tweaks like these can bring the calorie count down to around 400 or less. You can also boost nutrition by using leaner ground turkey instead of beef and loading up on salad veggies like spinach, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Nutrients in a Qdoba Impossible Taco Salad

In addition to calories, an Impossible taco salad from Qdoba contains a range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients:

  • Protein – The Impossible meat provides about 28g protein per salad
  • Fiber – Beans, veggies and Impossible meat supply around 10g fiber
  • Vitamin A – From carrots in pico de gallo
  • Vitamin C – High levels from pico tomatoes and guacamole
  • Iron – Impossible meat contains a good amount of highly absorbable heme iron
  • Calcium – Cheese and sour cream provide about 300mg calcium
  • Potassium – Avocados offer plenty of heart-healthy potassium

Overall, an Impossible taco salad can be a nutritious meal when made with lean meats, lots of veggies, and moderated portions of chips, cheese, and dressing. Watching calorie, fat, and sodium levels will ensure you get maximum nutrition from this Mexican-inspired salad.

Comparing Impossible and Beef Taco Salads

How does an Impossible meat taco salad stack up against one made with ground beef in terms of calories and nutrition? Let’s compare:

Nutrient Impossible Taco Salad Ground Beef Taco Salad
Calories 605 635
Total Fat 35g 38g
Saturated Fat 10g 14g
Protein 28g 25g
Fiber 10g 6g
Iron 5mg 3mg

The Impossible version is slightly lower in calories and unhealthy saturated fat compared to beef. It also provides more fiber and iron. However, both versions land around 600 calories so choosing lean beef or turkey can still be a reasonably healthy option.

Benefits of Choosing Plant-Based Impossible Meat

Some potential benefits of substituting Impossible meat in your taco salad include:

  • Lower in calories, fat, and saturated fat
  • Higher in fiber
  • Provides more bioavailable iron from plant sources
  • Doesn’t come from animals so appeals to vegetarians/vegans
  • More environmentally friendly than beef

Drawbacks of Impossible Meat

A few things to keep in mind when opting for Impossible meat include:

  • Highly processed and contains questionable additives like soy leghemoglobin
  • Much more expensive than beef
  • Contains GMOs from ingredients like soy protein concentrate
  • May cause allergic reactions due to soy and other ingredients
  • Not compatible with gluten-free or low-FODMAP diets


A Qdoba Impossible taco salad made with typical ingredients totals approximately 605 calories and 28g protein per salad. Choosing grilled chicken or extra vegetables instead of meat, going light on chips, cheese, guacamole, and dressing, and emphasizing nutrient-packed options like lettuce, pico de gallo, and beans are all easy ways to enhance nutrition if counting calories. While not the lowest calorie choice out there, an Impossible or lean beef taco salad can be an acceptable option within a healthy diet when you build it right and watch your portions.