Build Your Own Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad

By Emily

Are you a fan of Meatless Mondays? If so, you’re in for a treat! Not only are plant-based meals great for our budget, the planet, and our health, but they are also incredibly delicious. One of my go-to recipes is the Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad. This colorful and customizable salad is perfect for a healthy and satisfying meal. Let me show you how to build this amazing salad and share some of the best dressings to tie it all together.

What You’ll Need

  • Mixed greens: For a bit of crunch, I recommend using romaine lettuce and green leaf lettuce. Bagged salad mix works great too!
  • Black beans: Canned black beans are the star of this vegetarian taco salad. They provide plant-based protein, fiber, and a creamy texture that pairs perfectly with the other veggies.
  • Corn: The combination of corn and black beans is a match made in heaven. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn depending on your preference.
  • Tomatoes: Colorful tomatoes add a burst of freshness to the salad.
  • Green onions + cilantro: For an extra layer of flavor, add some green onions and cilantro. They provide a bright and refreshing taste.
  • Avocado: No taco salad is complete without avocado! Dice or slice it for that creamy and buttery goodness.
  • Crispy tortilla strips: To take your salad to the next level, add some crispy tortilla strips. They provide a satisfying crunch and a touch of saltiness. If you’re short on time, crushed tortilla chips can be a good substitute.
  • Creamy salad dressing: Once you’ve assembled all the colorful veggies and toppings, it’s time to bring it all together with a delicious dressing. Here are some of my favorites for a vegetarian taco salad:

Best Dressings for Black Bean Taco Salad

  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing: This smoky and creamy dressing pairs perfectly with the Southwest flavors in the salad. Prepare to have your taste buds blown away!
  • Tomatillo Ranch Dressing: If you’re not a fan of chipotle, try this tangy and flavorful tomatillo ranch dressing. It never disappoints!
  • Avocado Ranch Dressing: Take your avocado love to the next level by using this creamy and dreamy avocado ranch dressing. It’s a double dose of avo deliciousness!
  • Cilantro Ranch Dressing: Keep it simple with a fresh and vibrant cilantro ranch dressing. It adds the perfect finishing touch to a taco salad.

Mix It Up!

Feel free to get creative and add some of these goodies to customize your vegetarian taco salad:

  • Grated, cubed, or crumbled cheese: If you tolerate dairy, cheese adds extra deliciousness. Sharp cheddar or salty crumbled cotija are excellent choices. Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, and other cheeses work well too!
  • Jicama: This crisp and crunchy root vegetable adds a refreshing element to the salad. It pairs beautifully with the black beans and other veggies.
  • Bell peppers: Dice up some bell peppers for a burst of color and crunch. You can enjoy them raw or grill them for a softer texture.
  • Green chiles: For a unique twist, add some canned diced green chiles. You can also roast fresh poblanos for a smoky flavor.
  • Carrots: While not traditional for taco salad, grated carrots add a satisfying crunch and a hint of sweetness.
  • Cucumber: Add a cool and crisp cucumber for a refreshing contrast to the other veggies and dressing.
  • Red onion: For a bit more bite, swap out the green onions with some finely minced red onion. It adds both taste and visual appeal.

FAQ + Tips and Tricks

Can I prep this in advance? It’s best to wait until you’re close to serving before adding the dressing. This prevents the greens from getting soggy.

Turn it into a Mason jar salad: Want to bring this salad on the go? Pack it in a Mason jar! Start with the dressing at the bottom, followed by sturdy veggies like beans and corn. Layer the remaining veggies and top it with lettuce. If you want tortilla strips, pack them separately.

Is this Black Bean Taco Salad vegan? The salad ingredients (veggies + tortilla strips) are 100% vegan. The only factor left is the dressing. If you use vegan mayonnaise (vegenaise) in the suggested dressings, your salad will be fully vegan!

What else tastes good in a vegetarian taco salad? Feel free to scroll back up for a list of additional mix-ins to make this salad your own.

Can I add meat? Absolutely! If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, you can add grilled chicken, honey lime shrimp, chipotle shrimp, or any other protein of your choice.

If you’re craving more mouthwatering recipes, check out some of these suggestions:

  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing (Our Favorite For This Salad!)
  • Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
  • Instant Pot Black Beans (+3 Flavors To Try)
  • Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
  • Chipotle Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls
  • Vegan Black Bean Tostadas With Fresh Mango Salsa
  • Vegan Plantain + Black Bean Burrito Bowls
  • Black Bean Polenta Bowls
  • Butternut Squash Curry

Enjoy your DIY Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad and don’t forget to check out BDK Restaurant for more delicious recipes and inspiration!

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