Fresh Taco Salad

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Totally vegan and fresh taco salad from “Love Real Food” by Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate. Hearty and flavourful with a quinoa and black bean mix and finished off with a zippy and spicy avocado-lime dressing. Also: lots of tortilla strips!

An overhead shot of two taco salads in white bowls. A red drink is served in clear glasses on the side
An overhead shot of the "Love Real Food" cookbook.
An overhead shot of a taco salad in a white bowl.
Image shows a radish poking out of the dirt in a vegetable garden.

I’m sharing another beautiful new cookbook recipe today! Slightly higher vibration, very fresh taco salad are a regular thing in our house (tortilla strips for dinner yesss), but somehow I’ve never shared one here. This version from the brand new Love Real Food is incredible! It’s also the perfect vehicle for showing off the stunning romaine lettuce and radishes growing in our garden right now :D

Last summer was brutal hot/dry around here, and our plans to build slightly raised vegetable beds came a little too late in the game. This year we’ve been going full swing, and that vitality from the just-cut greens gives me life in the most sincere of ways. That pure and simple earthly connectivity makes me smile big when I’m mowing my salads or sipping those green shakes. I imagine all of my cells going “Yaaaaay” in unison hehe.

This salad gave us more of that ecstatic “this is so good for me, but also so delicious” kind of feeling. The two core ingredients (a quinoa-based taco filling and a zippy avocado dressing) are so easy to fix up, and then you can build up a massive salad bowl to your heart’s content. This is how we eat in the summer for the most part. The spiced quinoa and black beans along with the rich avocado make this filling and light at the same time.

I think you’re all going to love Kathryne’s book. Every once in a while, I flip through a new cookbook and think to myself “Well, I wish I had thought of that, and that…. And HOW did I not think of that before?!” She has a knack for conjuring up recipes that you never knew you wanted, but upon seeing them, you need them in your life immediately. This book is vegetarian, but Kathryne notes a substitution for dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free preferences for every relevant recipe.

Hope you get to try this one out soon, and that you’ll check out Love Real Food. While you’re here, I’ve got a book tour and events update below! See you next week, LA ;)

Two images show fresh cut lettuce and radishes on a concrete background and the lettuce and radishes being washed in a sink.
A 3/4 angle shot of spiced quinoa and black beans in a saucepan.
A 3/4 angle shot of a vegan taco salad in a white bowl.

Vegan Fresh Taco Salad

Totally vegan and fresh taco salad from "Love Real Food" by Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate. Hearty and flavourful with a quinoa and black bean mix and finished off with a zippy and spicy avocado-lime dressing. Also: lots of tortilla strips!
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Fresh Taco Salads from "Love Real Food" (vegan recipe)
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings 4


Quinoa Black Bean “Filling”

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Avocado Lime Dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ medium-large avocado, peeled & pitted
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste

Salad Assembly

  • greens (Kathryne suggests a combination of arugula and chopped romaine)
  • halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • sliced radishes
  • chopped avocado
  • tortilla strips


  • Recipe from Love Real Food ©Kathryne Taylor, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Rodale Books.
  • Basic recipe for baked tortilla strips can be found here.


  • Make the taco filling: In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the rinsed quinoa and water, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Then, uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Gently stir in the black beans, salt, and pepper. Cover and set aside for a few minutes to warm up the beans.
  • To make the dressing: In an upright blender, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and water. Scoop the avocado into the blender. Then, add the cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, and salt. Blend on high until the dressing is nice and smooth. Kathryne notes that it should be zippy, but if you find it too sharp/difficult to blend, blend in a couple more tablespoons of water.
  • Assemble the salads: Dress greens with ¾ of the avocado-lime dressing and toss to evenly distribute. Arrange greens in shallow bowls and top with taco filling, the tomatoes, radishes, extra avocado, and tortilla strips. Drizzle a bit of extra dressing over each salad. Enjoy immediately.
15/06/2017 (Last Updated: 15/06/2017)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, earthy, gluten free, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, salad, salty, sour, spicy, spring, summer, vegan, winter
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