This vegan taco salad features homemade chili, crisp lettuce, sweet tomatoes, and a crunchy edible tortilla bowl. It’s packed with flavor and is an easy weeknight meal. Customize it with your favorite taco salad ingredients.
I used to love to order taco salad when I went to vegan restaurants. The beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and salsa in those crispy fried tortilla bowls were so tasty, but also so high in fat.
I haven’t stopped loving taco salads, but these days I make my own.
This vegan taco salad is kind of a cross between Taco Bell’s taco salad and Wendy’s taco salad. It has a crunchy tortilla bowl like the one from Taco Bell, and some tasty chili like the one from Wendy’s. But mine is meatless and fat free!
Whenever I make chili, my family loves to put this healthy taco salad together! It’s so easy, and everyone can customize it to their own taste preferences.
Ingredients for this vegan taco salad
- Flour tortillas – I recommend my Fat Free Flour Tortillas or my Whole Wheat Tortillas (also oil free!), but you can use your favorite brand.
- Cooked rice – I prefer long grain brown rice, and my daughters prefer white rice. My Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice is also a possibility.
- Chili – either my Vegan Chili or my Instant Pot Veggie Chili are delicious in this salad, but use your favorite.
- Lettuce – I like to use chopped or shredded Romaine or iceberg because they’re nice a crispy, but use any type of lettuce you prefer.
- Tomatoes – I love the burst of juicy sweetness from some fresh tomatoes in my taco salad.
- Vegan cheese – My Cashew Cheese Sauce is wonderful on this salad!
- Any other taco salad additions you like!
How to make this homemade taco salad
Step 1: Make the homemade taco salad shells. Warm up the tortillas by placing them between a couple of damp paper towels or wrapped in a damp kitchen towel, and microwave for about 30 seconds. This will make them softer and more pliable. Gently press the tortillas into a taco salad bowl mold.
If you don’t have taco salad bowl molds, you can press your tortilla into an oven safe bowl and place a ball of aluminum foil inside to help the tortilla keep its bowl shape.
Bake your tortilla bowl for 5 to 10 minutes at 375° F, until they are crunchy and beginning to brown.
Step 2: Place a scoop of rice in the bottom of your baked taco salad shell. Add some vegan chili, then top with lettuce, cheese sauce, and tomatoes.
Step 3: Add as many of your favorite taco salad ingredients as you like. Some ideas are:
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- Green onions
- Diced onions
- Sliced or pickled jalapenos
- Black olives
Can I make this salad gluten free?
It’s so easy to make this meal gluten free! If you want a gluten free taco salad, skip the tortilla bowl. Fill a salad bowl with rice, chili, lettuce, tomato, cheese sauce, and your other chosen taco salad ingredients. To add some crunch, make some tortilla strips to top your taco salad bowl as follows:
Cut a few corn tortillas into narrow strips. Place them on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 350°, until they are lightly browned and crunchy.
It may look like a simple green salad, but there’s plenty of rice and chili underneath those crispy greens!
What goes with taco salad?
This easy taco salad is a meal in itself, but if you are looking for something to go with it, how about some baked tortilla chips with my Cherry Tomato Salsa? If you opt to leave the rice out of your taco salad bowl, my Mexican Brown Rice is a nice accompaniment.
Here are some other tasty Mexican recipes:
- Soy Curl Fajitas
- Quinoa and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Mexican Vegetable Saute
- Easy Black Bean Dip
- Lentil Walnut Taco Meat
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Easy Vegan Refried Beans
- Vegan Tostadas
Check out my Vegan Cinco de Mayo Recipes post to see all of my Mexican and Southwestern cuisine recipes.
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Vegan Taco Salad with Chili
- Warm a tortilla between two damp paper towels or wrapped in a damp kitchen towel for about 30 seconds in the microwave to soften it. Then gently press it into a tortilla bowl mold.
- Bake the tortilla bowl for 8 to 10 minutes at 375 F, until it is lightly browned and crispy.
- Add a scoop of cooked rice and some vegan chili in the bottom of the tortilla bowl.
- Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, vegan cheese sauce, and any other taco salad ingredients you enjoy.