- Food: Taco Salad
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
In the summer, nothing surpasses this nutritious taco salad recipe. Crisp vegetables, creamy sauce, and crunchy tortilla strips make this salad light and enjoyable to eat.
I adore taco salads as much as I adore tacos. In fact, I generally have a taco salad for lunch the next day after making tacos for supper to use up any leftover ingredients.
But today’s recipe for a healthy taco salad isn’t just any old salad. A delectable vegetarian “taco meat distinguishes this taco salad.”
Finely chopped sautéed shiitake mushrooms and ground walnuts have a texture comparable to ground beef or ground turkey, and savory/spiced flavor comes from tamari, chile powder, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
his delectable “meat” makes this salad one of my all-time favorite summer lunches when combined with romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes, black beans, crispy tortilla strips, and a splash of cilantro lime salad dressing!
Ingredients for Taco Salad
To make a superb taco salad, you’ll need a variety of textures and flavors — something creamy, zesty, crunchy, tangy, and crisp – spread out over a bed of greens. Here’s what I use to make this hearty, fresh, and fun taco salad recipe:
Because a taco salad wouldn’t be complete without a bed of crispy greens!
- For a flavorful, smoky taste and a robust texture, combine Shiitake Walnut Taco “Meat” and Black Beans.
- Tomatoes and pico de gallo add a burst of flavor to the crunchy vegetables and tortilla strips.
- Tortilla strips, for a delectable toasted corn flavor and crisp texture.
- For a brilliant flash of color and added crunch, use red cabbage and radishes.
- Use a jalapeno for a little kick,
- For a zingy, creamy finish, combine sliced avocado with avocado cilantro lime dressing.
Suggestions for a Healthy Taco Salad
- By toasting corn tortillas in the oven, you may make your own tortilla strips. You’ll be able to control how crispy they get and how much oil you use this way. If you’re short on time, crushed tortilla chips or store-bought tortilla strips can be substituted.
- Leave the spice out. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can leave the jalapeno out! You might also add pickled jalapeno for a tangier kick.
- Make it ahead of time. This recipe is perfect for a make-ahead lunch if the components are prepped ahead of time and stored separately. Assemble the salad in the morning, then add the dressing and avocado just before serving! More of my greatest lunch-packing advice may be found in this post.
Variations on Taco Salad
This salad recipe, like many salad dishes, is fun to experiment with. Replace the vegetables with whatever you have on hand, then alter the toppings to make something you actually enjoy. Here are a few recommendations:
- Change the sauce. Any of the three variants of my cilantro lime dressing would be suitable for this dish. Serve it as a vinaigrette without the avocado, or make it creamy by replacing the avocado with Greek yogurt. You could alternatively serve the salad with tomatillo salsa or chipotle sauce instead of the dressing.
- Replace the creamy component with something else. Here, I prefer avocado, although guacamole is also delicious. Try crumbled Cotija or grated cheddar cheese, cashew sour cream, or Greek yogurt as an alternative!
- Make it a fruity drink. Use mango or pineapple salsa instead of pico, or both!
- Change up the vegetables. Bell pepper, charred poblano, corn, or green onions, raw or sautéed, would all be excellent additions.
- Make a burrito bowl out of it! Half the lettuce and place a scoop of cilantro-lime rice in the bottom of the bowl.
|15-minute prep time
Time to cook: 10 minutes
Time allotted: 25 minutes
Serving: 2 to 3 people
This light and quick taco salad recipe are great for lunch or dinner. Prepare the components ahead of time and keep them separate for easy assembly! Gluten-free and vegan options are available.
- 2 corn tortillas, sliced into strips
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 red radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes and/or pico de gallo
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Jalapeno slices, optional
- Cilantro Lime Dressing, the creamy avocado variation
- Sea salt
- Lime wedges, for serving
Shiitake Taco “Meat”
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
- 1 cup crushed walnuts
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the tortilla strips with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until crispy, on the baking sheet.
- To make the Shiitake Taco “Meat,” heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring only periodically, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to brown and soften. 1 to 2 minutes after adding the walnuts, lightly toast them. Combine the tamari and chili powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in the balsamic vinegar once more. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the romaine lettuce, cabbage, black beans, taco meat, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, jalapenos, if using, and large dollops of cilantro lime avocado dressing on top of the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and a side of additional dressing.