This Healthy Taco Salad is quick and easy, loaded with plant based protein, and full of flavor and texture! The perfect summer weeknight meal. Drizzle it with my creamy southwest-flavored vegan ranch dressing for an extra flavor boost.
Summer evenings call for quick dinners that can be on the table with minimal effort. I think we all crave lighter fare and fresh ingredients when the temperatures rise, but that doesn’t mean we want the flavor to be lacking.
This Healthy Taco Salad is fast and easy, light and fresh, and bold and flavorful. It has lots of great texture to make your mouth happy.
Oh, and did I mention it’s also oil free, gluten free and, of course, vegan?!
I love crisp romaine or green leaf lettuce as a base for this dish.
Red bell pepper, corn, and avocado bring a plentitude of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
Black beans provide protein, fiber, and satiety.
I topped this healthy vegan taco salad recipe with crunchy roasted chickpeas instead of the usual tortilla strips. I loaded them up with flavor and crunch, but you won’t need any oil, making this taco salad a healthy and plant protein packed option.
Following the original recipe ingredients and instructions will give you the best results, but here are some adaptations that will work if need be.
Extra veggies ~ Add in some onions, if you like, or diced jicama. Raw chopped zucchini is always great in Mexican-inspired dishes. An extra squeeze of lime over the whole thing would be delicious, too! And feel free to leave out any ingredient you don’t love.
Protein ~ You could substitute pinto beans for the black beans, if you prefer. Or try crumbled tempeh or store-bought vegan ground “beef” instead.
Add some heat ~ The spice mixture isn’t spicy hot, so it’s perfect for kids, too. If you’d like to add more heat, try adding ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder to the black beans, add a chopped jalapeño, or simply drizzle your salad with a little hot salsa.
Dressing ~ The vegan ranch dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge so it’s ready when you are. Feel free to use your favorite store-bought dressing in a pinch.
Toppings ~ Crushed tortilla chips, green onions, guacamole, salsa, or shredded dairy-free cheese would all be great additional toppings.
Feeding a crowd? This recipe could easily be doubled or tripled.
How To Make the recipe
This vegetarian salad couldn’t be easier to make.
- Roast chickpeas
- Sauté black beans w/ spices
- Layer lettuce and veggies on a plate
- Top with the black beans, dressing, and roasted chickpeas
Taco Salad Dressing
My Southwest Vegan Ranch is the perfect taco salad dressing. It’s cashew based and made with whole food ingredients.
More Easy Summer Recipes
- Creamy Balsamic Summer Pasta Salad
- Falafel Burger with Cucumber Peanut Relish
- Quinoa with Garden Vegetables
- Summer White Bean Stew
- Lemon Pasta Salad w/ Artichokes
- Cold Cucumber Soup
- Easy Watermelon Juice (in the blender!)
- Sparkling Cherry Lemonade
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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- 1 15-ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained) (or 1.5 cups cooked black beans)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- ¼ cup water
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and dried really well) (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 head green leaf lettuce (chopped) (romaine would be great too)
- 1-2 chopped tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen, thawed)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss chickpeas with the chili powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon.
- Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, shaking them around ½ way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy...they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
- Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with ¼ cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Plate the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with the Southwest Vegan Ranch Dressing.
~This spice mixture isn't spicy hot, so it's great for kids too. If you'd like added heat, try adding ½ teaspoon chipotle powder to the black beans or topping your salad with a drizzle of spicy salsa.
~Nutrition facts calculated without Southwest Vegan Ranch Dressing.
Serving Size:1 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 793mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 17gSugar: 6gProtein: 16g