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This vegan taco salad is filled with vegetables and plant-based protein, all topped with a delicious salsa dressing. This salad is super filling and completely vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free!
I grew up eating taco salad with meat and I absolutely loved it. So of course, I had to make a vegan version. This vegan taco salad tastes pretty similar to what I remember as a kid, and it’s definitely one of my favorite meals!
This recipe has many ingredients that need to be prepared separately before combining for the salad, so it’s pretty time-consuming, but SO worth it!
Why you’ll love it
This vegan taco salad is insanely delicious! It is:
- Vegan, of course!
- Gluten-free (make sure you use gluten-free tortillas)
- Super filling
- A full meal, not just a side salad!
*Scroll down to the recipe box for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Tofu crumble: This tofu crumble is made with a seasoning that yields a taco flavor. It will act as the taco “meat” for this recipe.
- Tortilla strips: To make your own tortilla strips, you will just need some corn tortillas and chili powder. Ensure they are gluten-free if that is needed for you.
- Romaine lettuce: You’ll need one large heart of romaine for this recipe. You can also add in some extra if you want!
- Black beans: It doesn’t matter if you cook the beans yourself or use canned. This recipe is pretty time-consuming as it is, so I just use canned. Beans add some extra plant-based protein to this recipe!
- Avocado: This adds some healthy fat and of course tastes amazing. Feel free to leave it out though if you don’t like avocado.
- Green onion: Green onion adds some extra flavor to this salad. You can adjust the amount to your liking.
- Corn: I like to use frozen corn to make this recipe a bit less work. Just measure it and then let it sit to thaw while you prepare the rest of the taco salad.
- Chili powder
- Lime juice
Step by step instructions
*This is a summary of the steps involved in making this vegan taco salad, including images for various steps. For the complete recipe, keep scrolling down to the recipe box.
First, set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to give it time to pre-heat.
Next, slice and press your tofu for the taco crumble. Slice the tofu into pieces that are about 1 centimeter thick, then press them for 30 minutes to let out excess moisture.
I just wrap the slices with a towel and stack some books on them.
While the tofu is being pressed, prepare your tortilla strips. Slice your corn tortillas into pieces that are about 1 ½ centimeters wide.
Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle some chili powder over them.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your tofu has been pressed, prepare the taco seasoning in a bowl, then break up the tofu with your hands and mix it with the seasoning.
Lay the crumbled tofu out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes, mixing halfway through.
While the tofu is baking, prep the other salad ingredients.
When the tortilla strips and tofu crumble are ready, mix everything in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, simply add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Make sure you soak your cashews first if you don’t have a high-powered blender. I use a Vitamix and no soaking is required!
Once the dressing is ready, pour it over the salad. Pour it over individual portions only if the salad is not going to be eaten within a couple of hours.
- If you are using frozen corn, measure and thaw your corn while your tofu is cooking. This way it will be thawed and ready to eat by the time the tofu is ready.
- When adding all ingredients to your mixing bowl, make sure that you use a very large bowl. This salad makes quite a large amount, so you will need a big bowl.
- This recipe makes a large quantity of dressing as well. If you are going to be having this as a meal with several people and the salad will likely be finished in a couple of hours, pour the dressing over the entire salad. Pour it slowly and stop once you feel there is enough dressing. If there is too much dressing for your liking, you can always add more romaine lettuce.
- If you aren’t going to be eating the entire taco salad within a couple hours, you should only pour the dressing over individual servings.
- If you end up with leftover dressing, you can put it on another salad. It’s delicious on any green salad!
Making changes to any salad is usually pretty easy!
- If you don’t like black beans, use a different type of bean.
- If you don’t want to make your own tortilla strips, you can simply buy some tortilla chips and break them into smaller pieces.
- Feel free to omit the avocado or green onion if you don’t like them. If you like a strong onion taste, you could use red onion instead of green onion.
- Something that you should definitely not adjust is the dressing. In my opinion, it is the best part of this taco salad and changing it would really change the taste of the salad.
If you know you aren’t going to finish this taco salad within a couple hours of pouring on the dressing, it’s best to store the dressing separately and pour it on individual portions.
Store the dressing in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Store this salad covered in the refrigerator as well. This should keep for 3 -5 days if the dressing is not on it. If you have poured the dressing over the entire salad, it will get quite soggy within a few hours.
More hearty vegan salads
Vegan Taco Salad
- Tofu taco crumble (tap the link for the recipe)
- 4 small corn tortillas (gluten-free if necessary)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 large heart of romaine lettuce (you can add more if desired, see note below)
- ¾ cup black beans (I use canned)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- 1 cup corn (I use frozen)
- 1 cup salsa (mild or medium)
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ cup water
- First, set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to give it time to pre-heat.
- Tap the link in the ingredients list above for instructions on how to make the tofu crumble. While the tofu is pressing, continue with the steps below.
- Cut the corn tortillas into strips (about 1 ½ cm wide).
- Lay the strips out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will likely need to use two baking sheets to fit all of the strips. Sprinkle about ½ teapsoon of chili powder over all of the strips.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add all dressing ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you will need to soak your cashews for several hours to soften them. To speed up the process, you can pour boiling water over the cashews and cover for about 20 minutes.
- Wash and dry your lettuce, then rip it into pieces and add it to a large bowl.
- Rinse the black beans, then add them to the bowl.
- Add the diced avocado, chopped green onion, and corn.
- Once you have prepared the tofu crumble and tortilla strips, add them to the bowl and mix everything together.
- Once the dressing is prepared, pour it over the salad and mix it in. I recommend only adding the dressing to the entire salad if you plan on eating it all within a couple of hours (see note below).