Healthy Living We have four vegan taco salad recipes that are going to give you a summer of fun meals: tips for making your own tortilla bowl, choosing a sassy sauce too!

Published on August 13th, 2015 | by Andrea Bertoli

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4 Vegan Taco Salad Recipes that are Shockingly Healthy

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What better summer meal to feature than a vegan taco salad? This fun and flavorful meal can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like, and it’s super healthy too!

Here we have 4 vegan taco salad recipes to share with you so you can enjoy this fun meal for as long as summer lasts. We’re going to cover four awesome filling recipes and share some of our favorite sassy sauces to make it even better.

We have four vegan taco salad recipes that are going to give you a summer of fun meals: tips for making your own tortilla bowl, choosing a sassy sauce too!

As you might imagine, most taco salad recipes feature a host of unhealthy ingredients: a fried shell, filled with seasoned meat of some sort, then topped with cheese, sour cream and maybe some lettuce and guacamole as greenery. Overall, a meal built to make us fat, sick, and nearly dead: high in fat, cholesterol and, depending on where it’s made, probably filled with preservatives, GMOs and a host of other gross additives.

But these recipes change all of that: we have four recipes for a healthy taco salad filling, all featuring healthy protein-rich bases ranging from beans, walnuts, mushrooms and quinoa. Served with our taco salad directions and homemade taco sauces below, you have a choose-your-own-adventure wholesome and yet totally craveable meal. Try out all the different combinations to find which ones you love the most.

Pinto Bean & Soy Taco Filling

My favorite recipe for taco salad or tacos is this simple mixture of textured soy protein and pinto beans. I think the combination of the two is really the magic here. Textured soy protein (TSP, also known as TVP) is a soy product made from defatted soy. Once the oil has been squeezed out, theses little protein nuggets make for an excellent meat replacement in stuff like pasta sauce, veggie burgers and now, the best vegan taco filling.

We recommend seeking out the Bob’s Red Mill Textured soy protein (TSP), instead of TVP. TVP is trademarked by a huge agricultural conglomerate, and we’re dubious of the origins of said soy product. Also, soy protein like this is a great treat, but since it’s not a whole food product, we recommend eating it in moderation.

We have four vegan taco salad recipes that are going to give you a summer of fun meals: tips for making your own tortilla bowl, choosing a sassy sauce too!

Pinto bean and soy taco filling for an awesomely healthy taco salad

Pinto Bean & Soy Taco Filling

1 cup textured soy protein (TSP)
1 Tablespoon each: dried garlic, oregano, chili powder
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sliced onion
½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
¾ cup crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1-2 cups cooked pinto beans

  1. Mix the TSP, spices and liquid smoke in a large bowl.  Mix in 1 cup boiling water.  Stir to mix the spices, and soak for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the onions and peppers. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add TSP mixture (it will have absorbed all the water), tomatoes, and beans, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the all liquid is absorbed. Taste, and add more seasonings if you like. (Smoked paprika, chilies, or more fresh herbs are always delicious additions!).
  3. Let cool, and then use for your salads or in tacos with your favorite toppings.

Yield: Approximately 3 cups taco filling


Raw Vegan Tacos (made with walnuts)

If you want to take your taco salad in another direction, here is a recipe for one of the best ways to incorporate raw food into your life. My coworker at my previous job makes an amazing Raw Vegan Taco that she serves with fresh salsa in lettuce cups. It’s so good you’ll want to eat the whole bowl! Here’s a cute little video to show you how it’s done; you can find her recipe for Raw Vegan Tacos here.


Spiced Quinoa Pilaf Taco Filling

Who needs beans? Quinoa is loaded with all the plant-based protein you need, and has a great texture that lends itself well to tacos, whether in a salad, a bowl or in a tortilla wrap. I’ve chosen just a bit of chili powder and cumin to flavor this one, but you can swap them out for chipotle powder, coriander, oregano and other seasonings to make it extra taco-licious! Find the recipe for the quinoa pilaf here and add whatever spices you love to give it some zing!

We have four vegan taco salad recipes that are going to give you a summer of fun meals: tips for making your own tortilla bowl, choosing a sassy sauce too!

spiced quinoa pilaf for tacos!


Roasted Mushroom Taco Filling

This recipe comes from Rachel at Eat Drink Better and features so many great flavors that are just perfect for taco filling. Roasting mushrooms brings out some great umami flavors, and the chilies bring a bit of heat. Mushrooms have a cool texture that’s often used in meat-based dishes, but the texture is not for everyone. If you don’t love mushrooms enough to make them into their own filling, try adding a bit of cooked quinoa or crumbled tofu to the mixture to give it a little more body.

Roasted Mushroom Taco Filling

3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cups of thickly sliced and stemmed wild mushrooms (any combo of morel, shiitake, chanterelle, oyster, or portobello mushrooms)
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 roasted, peeled, seeded, and minced serrano chiles, or canned green chilies

  1. Puree garlic with olive oil in a blender and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the garlic.
  2. Toss mushrooms with the garlic-infused oil, oregano, salt, and pepper and spread onto a cookie sheet or into a cast-iron skillet.
  3. Roast at 425º until mushrooms are browned on the edges, about 8 -10 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with chiles. Serves 8

{Bonus: Find 8 Vegan Taco recipes here on Glue & Glitter!}


Sassy Sauces for your Taco Salad!

Ok, so we’ve got the bulk of the salad down, now what brings it all together? A slather of sauce! There are so many recipes for incredible, inspired sauces that make the whole idea of taco night that much more appealing. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite sauces for vegan tacos and vegan taco salads:

Chipotle Cashew Cream from Glue & Glitter
Perfect Red Sauce for Tacos and Enchiladas
Black Bean & Papaya Salsa
Chipotle Black Bean Hummus
Magical Tahini Dressing (this goes on EVERYTHING, but adding a bit of chili powder makes it perfect for tacos!)
Insta-guac (an easy guacamole from Eat Drink Better)
Vegan Cheezy Sauce


Building your Taco Salad

Here are some notes about building your super healthy taco salad: you can purchase taco salad shells at your grocery store, though I’m not sure if any of the better-for-you brands are making taco salad shells yet. If not, no worries. There are more options: you can buy a taco shell maker, but if you don’t want to invest, here is a fun tutorial for making homemade taco shell bowls from Vegangela. Or you could skip the bowl entirely and just serve all this goodness on a bed of tortilla chips. I guess that turns it into nachos… but it’s going to be delicious either way!

So here’s my favorite way to build a taco salad:

  1. Make the shells using the tutorial above, or buy store bought.
  2. Choose your base: prep your Vegan Taco Filling, Raw Vegan Taco filling, Spiced Quinoa Pilaf or Roasted Mushroom Filling. Make sure you have enough to fill all your taco bowls.
  3. Choose a Sauce: keep it simple and use salsa, or choose one of the awesome sauces from above.
  4. Choose your Veggies: Find a sturdy lettuce like romaine, mixed greens or massaged kale, and fill the taco bowl, add other veggies. Think sliced red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked beans, sautéed onions, corn kernels, sliced olives, shredded carrots, and toss to combine. Top with your filling of choice, and drizzle with your sauce. Take photos for Instagram, then toss it all together and enjoy!
  5. Once you become an expert Taco Salad chef, invite your friends and have a taco salad party!

Roasted mushroom photo from Shutterstock, raw taco image from Down to Earth Hawaii ; all other images from Vibrant Wellness Journal



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About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram



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