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Vegan taco salad in a tortilla bowl combines shredded lettuce with black beans, all your favorite taco fixings, and a simple homemade dressing – It’s packed with plant-based protein and fiber, healthy, satisfying, and ready in 15 minutes!
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Quick, Simple, Fully Loaded Vegan Taco Salad
Let’s cut right to the chase; any taco-lover needs this vegan taco salad recipe in their life. It’s basically a large, deconstructed taco you can enjoy with all your favorite toppings (for a great balance of texture, color, and flavor). It’s also loaded with plant-based protein and fiber, but in ingredient proportions that make it a lighter, healthier choice- what’s not to love?
Even better, you can make this veg taco salad in a crispy tortilla bowl, restaurant-style, throw it together in just 15 minutes (less if you’re a fast chopper!), and pick and choose which toppings to add from the list below. So, no matter what, even the salad-wary won’t be able to complain about a lack of flavor or interest in this fully loaded salad.
It’s a quick, flavorful, hearty, healthy, satisfying meal and a crowd-pleasing family favorite, perfect for serving at potlucks, picnics, BBQs, and parties alongside other popular Mexican-inspired salads like Mexican bean salad, mango black bean salad, and Texas caviar.
Taco Salad Ingredients and Substitutions
- Lettuce: It’s best to use fresh, crisp lettuce like Romaine lettuce or iceberg.
- Red onion: Finely chopped. Soak in ice water for 10 minutes for a mellower flavor.
- Tomato: We like cherry tomatoes, though Roma tomatoes (and other larger, ripe, in-season tomatoes) will work great in Summer.
- Beans: For a hefty dose of plant-based protein, we made taco salad with black beans, though pinto beans, Great Northern, chickpeas, etc., will work too. Use regular or reduced-sodium canned beans OR cook them yourself.
Want to make more of a traditional taco salad bowl turned vegan? Replace or add to the black beans In this vegan/ vegetarian taco salad with vegan taco meat – like in our tofu tacos, lentil street tacos, tempeh tacos, or Impossible meat tacos.
- Corn: Use canned or frozen (thawed) corn. Level it up by charring it in a skillet (or grill) with oil/ butter.
- Radishes: (Optional) for extra crisp crunch in this recipe for taco salad.
- Avocado: Or, if you aren’t a fan, flat-leaf parsley or green onions (scallions).
- Lime: Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor. Lemon would also work.
- Taco salad dressing: A batch of our dressing takes just minutes to throw together and is creamy, tangy, and loaded with smoky, spicy, savory flavors.
You can also optionally serve this easy taco salad in a crispy baked tortilla bowl. Alternatively, add some crispy tortilla chips, like a Dorito taco salad.
What is the Best Dressing for Taco Salad?
We love using our special homemade taco salad dressing. However, several dressings complement veggie taco salad well, including:
- A creamy avocado sauce
- Cilantro lime dressing
- Creamy vegan Ranch dressing
- Catalina dressing
- A combination of vegan sour cream + salsa + taco seasoning
Other Taco Salad Toppings
Taco salad is highly customizable, so mix and match any of the ingredients above and/or below to make your perfect bowl of textures and flavors.
- Other vegetables: There are several other popular taco salad vegetables.
- Bell pepper (any color, raw)
- Fajita veggies (bell peppers and onion)
- Cucumber (Persian or English cucumber, diced)
- Black olives (halved or sliced)
- Sweet potato (cubed and roasted)
- Grilled vegetables (like mushrooms, zucchini, or bell peppers)
- Cheese: Add some of your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese, like a sharp cheddar or Spicy/Mexican blend. Vegan feta cheese also pairs wonderfully.
- Jalapeño: Add heat with pickled or freshly sliced jalapeño/ chili.
- Salsa: Like fresh Pico de Gallo or make things fruity with pineapple or mango salsa.
- Rice/quinoa: Make a heartier rice or quinoa taco salad with about 1 cup added.
- Nuts/Seeds: Lightly toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, etc., will add crunch, protein, and heart-healthy fats to the healthy taco salad.
How to Make Vegan Taco Salad
Learn how to make taco salad bowls in a handful of simple steps.
- First, rinse, dry, and chop the lettuce. Slice the tomatoes and radishes, dice the onion, mince the cilantro, slice the avocado, and drain and rinse the black beans and corn.
- Then, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce and the juice of half a lime, mix, and set aside.
For a less citrusy flavor, combine all the ingredients and serve with lime wedges for guests to add their own amount of juice.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, beans, corn, 2 tbsp cilantro, and the juice of half a lime. Mix well and set aside.
- Combine the two into one bowl (or in tortilla bowls), add ¼ cup fresh cilantro, mix well, and then garnish with the sliced avocado, a lime wedge, and the remaining cilantro.
- Serve with a drizzle (or side) of the taco salad dressing, and enjoy!
Store the cold taco salad and dressing (+ taco meat, if using) in separate airtight containers. That way, they’ll last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Only add the avocado when serving.
Tortilla bowls can be stored in a paper-towel-lined Ziplock bag for 2-3 days at room temperature.
What to Serve with Taco Salad?
Depending on what you’ve added to this Mexican taco salad bowl recipe, this is a hearty meal already. However, feel free to pair it with:
- Cilantro lime rice
- Mexican rice
- Refried beans / Frijoles de la Olla
- Stuffed bell peppers
- Mexican/ Southwest burgers
- Tortilla chips and salsa/guacamole
Pro Recipe Tips
- To save time: Use pre-prepared ingredients, like shredded lettuce and store-bought salsa. You could also skip the lime ‘soaking’ steps and only add the lime juice to the assembled salad.
- If adding avocado: Only add it when serving to avoid it browning.
- Experiment with add-ins: Like regular tacos, you can mix and match your favorite taco toppings in this healthy taco salad recipe.
- Serving a crowd? Put together a taco salad bar! Stack regular/tortilla bowls alongside dishes filled with shredded lettuce, toppings, and dressing options. That way, everyone can assemble their own version.
More Easy Vegan Bean Recipes
- Quick Brown Rice and Bean Burritos
- Southwest stuffed bell peppers
- Instant Pot pinto beans
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
- Vegan bean quesadilla
- Barley and bean soup
- Peach chickpea kale salad
Also, check out our collection of 59 Ways to Use a Can of Beans.
Vegan Taco Salad
- 3 to 4 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 limes, divided
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ½ cup of cilantro, divided and minced
- 15 ounces of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces of corn kernels, drained
- 4 to 5 small radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 1 batch of Taco Salad Dressing
- Tortilla Bowl optional
- To a large bowl, add the chopped lettuce and squeeze half of a lime. Mix well and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the onion, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, black beans, corn, and the juice of ½ a lime. Mix well and aside.
- To the bowl with the lettuce, add the tomato mixture , and ¼ cup fresh cilantro. Mix well and serve with sliced avocado, a lime wedge, and top with cilantro as garnish. Serve with a side of Taco Salad Dressing or drizzle it on top of the salad.
- Optionally serve it in a tortilla bowl.
Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.