This healthy taco salad recipe is a great family dinner whipped together in under 30 minutes. You can use traditional ground beef from Alton Brown, but today I wanna show you how to make it plant-based with walnut “taco meat.”
My version of taco salad
Truthfully, I have never met a taco I didn’t like. Yet when it comes to taco salad– I am traumatized. As a kid, I was forced to eat more taco salad than I ever wanted (and it was covered in thousand island dressing… don’t ask me why). I just remember gagging it down and vowing to never eat it again.
As I grew up, I learned that taco salad takes many forms— and some are quite tasty (while others are gag-worthy)! There’s just something so satisfying about a crisp corn shell (or chips) piled high with shredded lettuce and all of the other veggie-lovin’ fixings.
What’s unique about my Healthy Taco Salad Recipe is that there’s no meat. Instead of ground meat or poultry, I’ve substituted a heart healthy vegan taco meat. It’s so good you’d almost never know it wasn’t meat.
How To Make a Healthy Taco Salad Recipe
A good taco salad starts with a base of shredded lettuce. I don’t care as much for iceberg lettuce, so I use romaine instead. But you could really use any kind of chopped or shredded leafy green if you want. Kale, spinach, cabbage, etc., all make great taco salads.
From there it’s all about the toppings, baby! The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings. For this recipe, I kept things pretty basic: “meat,” corn, olives, beans, tomatoes, avocado, and cashew sour cream.
What goes with this healthy taco salad recipe?
I want to say margaritas – ha! Truly, taco salad is a one-bowl meal that doesn’t need much else with it. But if you require a side, I suggest some roasted veggies or a vegetarian protein, or a simple fruit salad.
Also, the toppings and ingredients I’ve included are fairly standard, but not set in stone. Feel free to switch things up and use veggies and toppings you like or have on hand to create your own designer healthy taco salad recipe.
Is taco salad good for you?
At most restaurant, the answer would be no. Yet this healthy taco salad recipe is definitely good for you. It’s loaded with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. That being said, if you’d prefer a grain-free option, totally omit the corn tostada or use a suitable substitute according to personal preference and dietary needs.
Do you eat taco salad cold?
You can certainly eat your taco salad the way you like to eat it – cold, room temp, or hot. I prefer a cold taco salad myself. If you like to heat up the taco meat, I’ve included instructions in the recipe notes for warming it up.Print
This healthy taco salad is packed with plant-based whole foods! A crisp corn shell is topped mile-high with crunchy romaine, veggies, and our very own recipe for a vegetarian nut-based taco meat. Mark your calendar and make this for Taco Tuesday!
- 2 cups Vegan Taco Meat
- 4 corn tostadas or 4 handfuls tortilla chips (about 9–11 chips)
- 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup corn, thawed if frozen
- 1/2 cup ripe black olives, sliced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Salsa and cashew sour cream, for serving
- Prepare Vegan Taco Meat according to recipe (best if walnuts are soaked overnight. Yet in a pinch, you can “flash soak”).
- Arrange the tostadas or chips on four shallow serving bowls or plates. Top with lettuce, followed by the taco meat, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, corn, olives, and green onions. Garnish with cilantro and serve with salad and cashew sour cream on the side.
- Nutrition information does not include toppings.
- For a grain-free version, substitute corn tostadas with large cabbage or lettuce leaves, or simply omit.
- To heat taco meat, place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and lightly coat the bottom with olive oil, about 1-2 teaspoons. Add taco meat mixture and lightly saute until warmed through and nuts are lightly toasted. Be careful not to let it burn. Use immediately.
- Flash soaking walnuts: boil 2 cups water and pour over walnuts along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Allow to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour and continue making the recipe. Please note that flash soaking does destroy some of the nutrients in the walnuts.
Keywords: vegan taco salad