Vegan Taco Salad

SHUTTERBEANVITAMIX

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

If I was asked, "If you had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?" my answer would be most likely be Mexican. A lot of people think this decision would consist of nothing but tacos, cheesy quesadillas, nachos and burritos (wouldn't that be the life??!).  But, wait. There's so much more to that. You totally forgot about taco salads!

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

When I was in high school, I developed an unhealthy obsession with Chevy's and I cried the day I found out the nutritional content of my beloved Taco Salad. I mean...the fried flour tortilla shell holding the greasy ground beef covered in melted cheese with a healthy serving of Ranch dressing and extra sour cream should have fooled no one. There were some wilted lettuce shreds and some tomatoes thrown in to justify its salad label. I'd get the dressing on the side, but really... WHO WAS I KIDDING?

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

In my attempt to lighten up my favorite Taco Salad, I created this little ditty.  It's absolutely perfect for summer (hello fresh corn, red pepper, tomatoes, avocados & radishes!).  The salad dressing isn't a Mexican Ranch that's loaded with mayo. Nope! It's a base of creamy avocado mixed with lime and cilantro and it comes together in a breeze with a quick blitz in my Vitamix blender. You'll find the dressing is the perfect way to marry crisp lettuce, protein packed black beans, juicy tomatoes, green onions, avocado chunks, sweet corn and crunchy tortilla chips.  This taco salad is so packed with flavor that I feel 100% confident in my decision to choose Mexican over every other cuisine. It also proves that you can do a dairy-free Mexican salad and not skimp on taste. My summer will be FILLED with these Taco Salads, thank you very much.

And we're off!

We're going to make our dressing first!

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

We add everything to the Vitamix blender.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

A few little seconds and we have our creamy dressing! Season to taste. I added a little more Chipotle Tabasco (my favorite flavor!) to my dressing.  It adds the smokiness we're looking for. We also want it to be a thinner consistency so it will mix in with the salad well.  Add enough water/lime/hot sauce to taste.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

Transfer to a jar.  It's like really thin/tangy guacamole.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

Let's get our ingredients together for the salad!

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

Cut up the tomatoes, slice the radishes, chop up the green onions, cilantro & lettuce.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

Dressing is invited to this salad fiesta.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

We go fancy and create a visual stunner with the salad or we could just toss it all in a bowl.

Wouldn't you be the talk of the town if you brought this plate to a party? I think so...

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

Salads are placed in bowls. Avocados are added to the mix. We don't want to mash them up.

Solid chunks! Dressing is drizzled on. Give it a good toss and we're ready to go.

If you love cilantro (I do, I do!) add more to the top. Hot sauce as well.

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

My husband was like WHERE'S THE CHEESE?? So I added a little bit to his bowl with some salsa.

Salsa is a great addition if you have some!

Vegan Taco Salad // shutterbean

How do you say summer in Spanish??  Verano!

Shutterbean + Vitamix


Vegan Taco Salad

serves 4

to make the dressing

  • 1 large avocado, pitted with flesh scooped from skin
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro (optional)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8-10 dashes Chipotle Tabasco

Combine all ingredients together and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add additional water, lime, and or hot sauce to taste. Transfer mixture to a jar and keep chilled until use.

to make the salad

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 ear corn, shucked & cut from the cob
  • 1  1/2 cups canned black beans drained & rinsed
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sugar plum tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 2 green onions chopped (both white and green parts)
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly diced (seeds removed)
  • 4 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 handfuls tortilla chips, for serving
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving

Toss lettuce, corn, black beans, red pepper, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeño, and radishes with enough avocado dressing to fully coat the mixture.  Fold in chopped avocado and divide salad between 4 large bowls. Serve with a handful of tortilla chips in each bowl and top with additional chopped cilantro for garnish.

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  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Tracy this looks awesome and that jar of avocado dressing, well, all I need is a spoon and that thing would be gone in about 5 minutes. Thank you for a great vegan recipe! Pinned :)

  • Dietitian Debbie

    I definitely agree with you - Mexican food would definitely be my pick if I had to choose only one type of cuisine. This taco salad alone would make it totally worth it! I can't wait to try that dressing. Yum!

  • Bri | Bites of Bri

    These look awesome for a weeknight dinner. I love Mexican, but I'm not sure if I could choose it for my forever food. My husband and I always have that discussion :) Love the creamy but not creamy dressing. YUM!

  • Lindsey

    My family made taco salad every week when I was a kid. It's still one of my favorite meals. Yours has me drooling for dinner over my breakfast!

  • Joy

    I am not ashamed to say taco salad is one of my all-time favorite meals, especially in the balls-hot portion of summer. :) I love the addition of radishes in yours! My version uses a beer-braised and spiced tempeh for the salad's protein component.

    Vegan Taco Salad w/ Tempeh Taco Meat
    http://www.braisenwoman.com/2013/07/recipe-vegan-taco-salad-with-tempeh.html

    One question: How long does your avocado dressing keep before going that lovely oxidized gray color? I make a big batch of salad for the week and am wondering if it would hold up in the fridge. Thanks!

  • molly yeh

    taco salads. TACO SALADS. i am newly obsessed. it's all i want now when we go out for mexican, but yes, i can't imagine how terrible those fried tortilla bowls are, nutritionally speaking :)

    i loooove the idea of making guac in a blender though! that is genius.

  • Allyn

    We still miss our old taco place back in TN that was about a 5 minute walk from our house. Mexican food for the win.
    In high school, it was the glowing orange cheese sauce that made taco salad pure deliciousness.

  • Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I'm a Mexican lover too! Fajitas make my little heart sing. I've never thought of making guac like that, so smart and less messy! :)

  • Marie

    This salad! Love all the beautiful colors and HECK YES to that avocado dressing!

  • Millie l Add A Little

    Who doesn't love taco salad?! And that dressing?! Totally swooning!
    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Craving this salad right now!

  • tara

    Yum! I love taco salad and this looks so good! I love the chipotle Tabasco, I didn't even know they had that flavor (HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT?). What a great idea to make the dressing in the blender. Genius.

    • Tracy

      It's a good one! You'll find that it adds a really good smokey flavor to whatever you put it on/in!

  • Christina @ Scaredy Cat Kitchen

    Crikey, that has to be the perfect salad. Crunchy corn paired with creamy avocado is my absolute favourite combo.

  • Ashley

    Yum yum yum! Oregon has 90+ weather for the 10 day forecast, so this will be perfect for dinner.

    Reminds me of How Sweet Eats avocado hollandaise sauce, it's so good!

  • katie

    Avocado and Tabasco constitute two major food groups in my house, so this recipe is a definite must-make. Love it!

  • Julianne

    Oh yum, I can't wait to try this! I can't get enough of spicy Mexican flavors lately. Last week I made this Mexican green goddess salad dressing on a similar salad with lettuce, corns, and black beans (http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_wednesday_chef/2014/05/gwyneth-paltrows-mexican-green-goddess-dressing.html) and it was to die for - so cool and creamy and spicy! I definitely recommend it.

  • Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    Yum, I love taco salad. This looks fantastic.

  • Always Pouring

    I need to make that dressing immediately. Thank you!

  • Jamie

    Ah, the days when I went to step class then treated myself to a HUGE nacho dripping with cheese, sour cream, guac, beans and beef, and thought I was evening out the calories... I believe my current thighs tell that tale!

    This looks fabulous. I'm a big fan of using avocado to "dress" a salad when I toss it but I love actually making a dressing with it. I might drizzle on a teeeny tiny little bit of ranch too, though. = )

  • fusilliamy

    When I read Mexican I thought "pshaw!" how can you not pick Italian?! But I've been sitting here debating the dishes and flavors in my head and now I don't think I could live without cilantro and lime and tortillas! This is so fresh and crisp looking and it's so what I need to motivate me back to healthful eating.

  • Pricila

    I would call this more Mexican inspired....my abuelita's cooking was always generally healthy and with lots of vegetarian things. Never had yellow cheese in the house, always queso fresco. There's nothing like homemade Mexican food though. If you're ever in Santa Barbara I highly recommend Los Agaves. Worlds apart. Lovely salad though! <3

  • Victoria

    Let's just say I love a good taco salad...BUT I only order them if I know they're coming in a fried flour tortilla!!! :)

    Somehow, the dressing on this salad makes me want to make one for myself with (or without) the fried goodness!

  • Ella

    OK, yum! I used to loveeeee taco salads with grilled chicken before I became vegetarian and then vegan. This looks so delicious, I know I wouldn't miss the chicken like I used to! Can't wait to make this Tracy, thank you for sharing.
    http://www.youtube.com/sparklesandsuch26

  • Leah Davis

    I've been debating whether a Vitamix is worth the investment for some time now, but you are pulling me in the direction of getting one very soon. This looks delish!!

  • DessertForTwo

    Anytime I ask my partner for dinner suggestions, he always says TACO SALADZ. We make them sooooo much. I love your version. Can't wait to try it :)

  • Tracy | Pale Yellow

    This is my kind of dinner salad - bright, healthful, and easy. I never think about putting radishes in a taco salad, I'll have to try it next time. The dressing looks amazing!

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  • Sasha

    I will be making this this week! And, gah! Is that a wooden salt pot? Please tell me where one can get that!?!?!

  • Caitlin

    I'm with ya 100%. I would choose Mexican too. I'm living abroad right now though, and the Mexican food here is so terrible! They use jarred salsa everywhere and I can't even buy black beans in the normal grocery store. There are avocados (phew) and that dressing looks delish! I wish I had a vitamix, but my regular 'ole blender will have to do. Have you been to Gordo Taqueria on Solano Ave in Berkeley area? It's a must if you are around town. Their attitude reminds me of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, but if you order quickly, you will get one tasty burrito.

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  • Maikki

    Love the fresh look of this salad! I mentioned this post as an inspirational source for my vegan nacho bake at my blog ( http://maikinmokomin.blogspot.fi/2014/08/leffaillan-nacho-paistos.html ).

  • Kim

    BEST SALAD DRESSING EVER! Also as with most things, this salad was good with taco meat on it (vegan=over-rated) :)

  • emily

    YUM! I can't wait to try this salad, though I make one of my own that is more fall veggie oriented. Your dressing looks delicious. (I just use salsa.)

    I am a little late here, but wanted to add that sweet potatoes make a nice addition to a taco salad if you want it a little more filling and/or to substitute the corn with something more nutritious. I boil the sweet potatoes for a few minutes so they are easy to peel, then cube them and return them to the water for a few more minutes. Don't leave them in too long, so they have a bit of a bite.

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