Even though it’s a salad, taco salad is usually a far cry from a healthy dish. Its main ingredients typically include fried tortillas, taco meat, and cheese, which all come together to create a calorie-, sodium-, and saturated fat-loaded entree. We made a few tweaks to fix this problem. Our new and improved taco salad is a nutrient-dense, fiber-loaded entree with all the savory flavors intact.

Queso Tempeh Taco Salad [Vegan]

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Serves

4

Cooking Time

40

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Ingredients

Tortilla Chips:

  • 2 6-inch Corn Tortillas

Dairy-Free Queso Dressing:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons Jalapeno Tomatillo Hot Sauce

Tempeh Taco "Meat"

  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

All Other Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1/2 cup black beans cooked, rinsed
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 avocado diced
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Slice tortillas into ~1/2 x 2-inch strips. Arrange strips on a baking sheet. Make sure to not overlap them. Bake for 20 minutes, or until starting to brown. Watch these carefully as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and leave oven on.

Dairy-Free Queso Dressing:

  1. Place all queso ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides periodically.

Tempeh Taco "Meat":

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a skillet over medium-high heat. Using your hands, break the tempeh up into small pieces and add it to the pan. Cook until it begin to brown, which should take about 5 - 7 minutes.
  2. Add all the tempeh taco meat spices and stir to coat the tempeh evenly. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking to pan. Continue to cook until tempeh is crispy on the edges. This should take approximately 10 - 12 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.

Assembly:

  1. Place lettuce in bowl followed by beans, tomato, avocado, pickled jalapenos and tempeh taco meat. Drizzle and toss queso to coat everything evenly. Sprinkle tortilla strips on top.

Notes

Strapped for time? Wanting to simplify things? Use taco or fajita seasoning in place of the seasonings in the queso dressing and in the tempeh taco meat.

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