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Fresh Taco Salads from "Love Real Food" (vegan recipe)

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!
Cuisine American, Mexican
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword avocado, black beans, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, garlic, jalapeno, lime, olive oil, pulses, quinoa, radishes, tomato paste, tortillas
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
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


  • 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.


  • 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.