This vegan taco salad is fresh and delicious with a mix of tasty vegetables and hearty, spiced lentils. Easy to prepare and ready in just 15 minutes for a quick weekday lunch or dinner.
Sometimes the inspiration for my recipe posts comes from really random places. Case in point: taco salad. I was so desperately bored one evening that the only thing that I could find to do with my time was watch Married at First Sight.
Watching people try to pretend that they married total strangers not because they’re totally desperate but rather because they “believe in the process” has left me with a little less faith in humanity. Why lie to yourself?
That’s 60 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, but at least one good thing came out of it: the guy made taco salad, and that reminded me – mmmm, vegan taco salad.
Who doesn’t love taco salad? Another one of those ready-in-15-minutes, throw-in-whatever-you’ve-got type meals. We don’t usually eat a lot of iceberg lettuce at home since I’ve got a lovely urban garden with a mix of cut-and-come-again mesclun greens, but for vegan taco salad it’s crisp, fresh iceberg lettuce all the way.
Juicy tomatoes, black olives, red onion and creamy avocado round out the vegetable selection. In place of the usual beef I used lentils flavoured with chili powder, oregano, cumin and smoky paprika.
Lentils are one of my favourite meat substitutes and make a great stand-in for ground beef in recipes like this vegan picadillo and also make great meatballs for this vegan meatball sub. They can be flavoured with any combination of herbs and spices that you choose and turn salads like this vegan taco salad into a complete and filling meal.
To serve your vegan taco salad you can make tortilla bowls by baking tortillas for a couple of minutes inside a metal bowl or an upturned muffin tin, or you can serve it in a regular bowl. This time I chose a regular bowl with crumbled strips of baked tortillas sprinkled on top for some crunch.
It’s no wonder that this vegan taco salad is in regular rotation at my house; it’s the perfect combination of flavours and textures while being a snap to put together!
5 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
- 2 large or 4 small flour tortillas, cut into strips
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked lentils
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoky paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 3 tomatoes, diced or 15 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 can black olives, sliced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 avocado, cubed or sliced
- A small bunch of cilantro
- 1 jar of salsa
- 4 slices of lime
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)
- Place the tortillas slices on a baking pan and bake for 5 – 10 minutes until golden and crispy. Watch them carefully as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of water (or oil if you prefer), the white onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the lentils and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes to release the flavours of the spiced. Add another splash of water if the pan is looking dry.
- Divide the shredded lettuce between four bowls and top with the lentils, tomatoes, olives, onions, avocado, crispy tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime and salsa on the side.
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