Vegan Taco Salad with Baked Tortilla Strips

GFGluten Free

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A colorful,veggie-packed, and filling main, this Vegan Taco Salad is the perfect main when topped with baked tortilla strips and a creamy chipotle dressing.

Vegan Taco Salad, anyone? While the concept is featured on nearly every TexMex menu, this one is far from basic. Crunchy lettuce gets piled high with colorful veggies, plant-based protein, and a few extra goodies to make it extra yummy.

close up photo of vegan taco salad topped with baked tortilla strips and a drizzle of chipotle mayo

INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION

Taco salad is a TexMex dish that originated in Texas in the early 1960s; the ingredients can vary greatly, but it’s essentially tacos transformed into a salad. (Who would have guessed?! 😉 ) Today we are giving it a plant-based twist using simple, wholesome, and tasty ingredients:

ingredients for taco salad labeled and laid out in ceramic bowls on stone countertop

Most taco salads will consist of lettuce, fresh vegetables, protein, and a fried tortilla product. Today we’re using some Black Beans for our plant-protein, and I decided to make Baked Tortilla Strips to keep the final dish a little lighter. I also decided to jazz things up with some stovetop Seared Corn and a Chipotle Mayo dressing.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN TACO SALAD

photo of baked tortilla strips on gold baking tray next to photo of pan of seared corn with rubber spatula

While this salad requires a little more prep than tossing everything into a bowl, I think the final flavor profile is totally worth it. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Slice up some corn tortillas, spritz with oil, then bake in the oven until they crisp up.
  2. In the meantime, sear the corn and jalapeño on the stovetop
  3. Combine everything together, then dig in and enjoy!

two bowls of vegan taco salad topped with tortilla strips next to bowl of salsa and side dish of chipotle mayo

WAYS TO CUSTOMIZE

Like most salads, the add-ins here are pretty much endless. Here are just a few ways to customize your taco salad:

  • Add some imitation vegan ground “beef” for more plant protein
  • Pickle it! Swap the raw red onion for the quick-pickled variety, or add in some pickled jalapeños for an extra kick.
  • Extra Veggies: sliced olives, bell peppers, shredded cabbage, carrot, or fresh jalapeños would all work here
  • Get Cheesy: top your taco salad with some shredded dairy-free cheese (or some vegan queso) for some extra goodness!
  • And last but certainly not least, you can also swap the diced avocado out for some good ol’ Guacamole.

However you serve it up, this Vegan Taco Salad is a satisfying, colorful, and veggie-packed meal. You can even make it work for meal prep – I’d recommend storing the un-dressed salads and dressing separately in the fridge, and keep the tortilla strips in a sealed bag on the counter.

large bowl of taco salad topped with beans, veggies, tortilla strips, and chipotle mayo dressing

If you’re looking for more Tex-Mex recipes, you’ll also love this Southwestern Black Bean Casserole, this Taco Pasta Salad, and this Hearty Vegan Chorizo Chili!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Taco Salad with Baked Tortilla Strips

two vegan taco salads topped with tortilla strips and chipotle mayo

A colorful,veggie-packed, and filling main, this Vegan Taco Salad is the perfect main when topped with baked tortilla strips and a creamy chipotle dressing.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

For the Baked Tortilla Strips:

  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • Spray oil (or 1-2 tsp cooking oil) 
  • Salt, to taste 

For the Seared Corn:

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil 
  • 1 1/2 cup (200 g) frozen sweet corn
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced

For the Salad: 

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced (or use ~1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes)
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced 
  • ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Chipotle Black Beans (or 2 cups plain beans) 
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)
  • ¼ cup salsa*
  • Vegan Chipotle Mayo, for dressing
  • Optional: lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Tortilla Strips: Preheat the over to 350F and set a baking sheet aside. Thinly slice the tortillas into even strips, then place them on the baking tray. Spritz the strips generously with spray oil (or drizzle oil on top), then gently toss until they are evenly coated. Space them out on the baking sheet so none are touching. Sprinkle generously with salt, then bake on the top rack for 12-15 minutes, watching carefully so they do not burn. Remove from the oven, let cool on the tray (they will harden a little more), and set aside.
  2. Seared Corn: In the meantime, heat the avocado oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the corn, jalapeño, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring only every minute or so — this allows the corn to sit on the bottom of the pan and get browned. Once the corn has darkened to your liking, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. 
  3. Assemble: in two large serving bowls, divide the romaine, beans, tomatoes, onion, seared corn, cilantro, and avocado. Place ¼ cup of salsa over each salad, then drizzle with Chipotle Mayo to complete the dressing. Top with the baked tortilla strips and serve cold; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Salsa: I used a store-bought chipotle salsa, but a regular one will work as well! You can use mild, medium, or hot based on your preference – I recommend looking for a more finely blended (vs. chunky) variety as it works better as a dressing.
  • Substitutions: feel free to customize your salad based on whatever you have on hand or love! Cooked vegan “beef”, bell peppers, pickled jalapeños, olives, shredded cabbage, etc would all be great here.

Keywords: vegan taco salad, vegetarian taco salad, baked tortilla strips, healthy taco salad

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. Delicious as all your recipes ???????? but the avocado isn’t listed in the ingredients and in the process 🙁 how much is it?

    1. Thanks for letting me know, I added it! You can add it at the end into the serving bowls 🙂