If you're looking for something delicious, healthy, and satisfying, look no further than this vegetarian taco salad! It's packed full of wholesome and nutritious ingredients from roasted sweet potatoes to creamy avocado to perfectly crunchy tortilla chips.
This salad recipe is great for meal prep, easier to eat than a taco, and brings together all your favorite flavors. It's like a little fiesta in a bowl!
About the Recipe
This healthy taco salad is a fabulous reminder that eating a salad doesn't have to be a snooze-fest! In this recipe, we have spicy, smokey, and crispy roasted sweet potatoes that are the star of the show.
Luckily, they only take a few minutes to prepare and then the oven does the rest of the work for you.
When you pair the perfectly roasted sweet potatoes with homemade taco seasoning and avocado dressing, place it on a bed of crisp lettuce, alongside corn, tomatoes, and avocado, and then top it all off with crunchy tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice or cilantro avocado dressing -- you'll have the ultimate healthy taco salad!
In just a few minutes and light prep work, you'll turn everyday ingredients into a flavor-filled meal. And because this super easy taco salad is lighter than traditional tacos, you can enjoy it more often.
As an added bonus, it's also easier to eat too. Instead of piling each of the ingredients into taco shells, just pile everything into a bowl, allowing your fork to pick up all the taco-ey goodness for you!
As written, this recipe is vegetarian with no added meat or seafood. However, if you want to add a little more protein, you can top it off with some black beans, as well as cooked chicken, steak, or shrimp.
For a quick and easy fix, simply cook up some ground turkey, chicken, or beef with your favorite taco seasonings. Once cooked through, allow it to cool slightly and pile it on top of the salad with all the other ingredients.
And if I haven't fully convinced you to make this taco salad recipe quite yet, maybe you'll be pleased to know that it's also one of the best recipes for meal prep!
Simply chop and prepare each component of the salad ahead of time, or even just the items that take the longest amount of time.
Keep everything separate in air tight containers in the refrigerator, and throw it all together within minutes right before serving!
A note about each component of this dish
- Chili powder, paprika, and cumin: the trifecta of flavor! Each of these spices offers it's own smokey, spicy flare to the roasted sweet potatoes.
- Sweet potatoes: roasting sweet potatoes brings out their inherent sweetness. They're also jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients to help keep you full and satisfied.
- Romaine lettuce, corn, avocado, and tomatoes: each veggie adds it's own unique flavors to the salad. See the substitutions and alternatives below for some delicious suggestions on switching things up a bit! You can also experiment with adding other vegetables that aren't listed here.
- Cilantro, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and lime wedges: each of these offer an added flavor or textural element to help bring all the components together. Not a fan of cilantro? Leave it off!
Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine the spices: chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Place sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Mix until sweet potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Roast the sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender and crispy on the outside.
- To make the salad, place lettuce in a large bowl or on a platter. Top with sweet potatoes, corn, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese and tortilla chips. Drizzle salad with fresh lime juice, salsa ranch and/or cilantro-avocado dressing.
- Optional: Make your own salad dressing with the suggestions I outlined in the recipe notes!
Substitutions and Alternatives
Lettuce substitutions: romaine, spinach, kale, spring mix, mixed greens or butter lettuce work well.
Topping substitutions: Make your own Mexi-corn by sautéing fresh sweet corn with diced bell peppers, use guacamole instead of the sliced avocado, use salsa instead of diced tomatoes, or use queso fresco instead of shredded cheese.
Dressing substitions: Combine equal parts salsa with equal parts ranch. Try my homemade cilantro avocado dressing (full recipe is in the recipe notes below!).
Alternative ways to serve: Rather than a taco salad, serve sweet potatoes, toppings, and dressing over rice to create a burrito or taco bowl. Then, add some shredded lettuce on top. You can also make tacos by piling your favorite ingredients from the recipe into taco shells. If you're not in the mood for tacos, serve the roasted sweet potatoes with a fried egg on top for the perfect breakfast!
Vegetarian Taco Salad Fun Facts
Taco salads are a great way to eat your favorite Mexican foods without loading you down. They are packed full of flavor, nutritious ingredients, like beans, corn, and tomatoes, and offer less added fat and calories than some of the other counterparts, like burritos, chimichangas, or enchiladas.
And, you can load them with veggies and beans!
They're also wonderfully customizable, allowing you to add or subtract ingredients based on your needs and personal diet. If you're looking for a vegetarian taco salad, then leave the recipe as is.
But if you want to add meat, simply cook up some ground turkey or ground beef and season it with your favorite taco seasoning. It's that easy!
This recipe is great on its own! But if you're looking to pair it with some other delicious flavors, try some of these ideas:
- Top the salad with air fryer chicken strips.
- Serve along with Mexican-style street corn chowder or Mexican-inspired fried rice.
- Enjoy with a chorizo cauliflower frittata.
- Pair with blackened fish tacos with pico de gallo.
Taco salads and burrito bowls are very similar in that they both include Mexican-inspired ingredients piled into bowls.
However, salads differ in that they stack all those delicious toppings on a bed of lettuce, instead of on top of rice or another grain.
Burrito bowls often use a Mexican, cilantro lime, or white rice as the base of the bowl, instead of lettuce or other greens.
To store any leftover vegetarian taco salad or to make it as a meal prep recipe, keep all of the salad components separate. Make sure to dry the lettuce and the rest of the vegetables really well before storing.
Place a dry paper towel in a bag or container, along with the lettuce, in order to soak up any extra moisture. This will keep it fresh and crisp much longer.
Then, place the rest of the salad toppings into their own air tight containers and store them all in the refrigerator (except the tortilla chips) until ready to eat.
If dried thoroughly, the lettuce and the rest of the toppings should last up to 5 days.
When ready to enjoy, just add the lettuce to a bowl and top with all the fixings, crushed tortilla chips, and a drizzle of the homemade salad dressing.
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- Kale and Crispy Chickpea Caesar Salad
- Greek Salad with Feta Vinaigrette
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Vegetarian Taco Salad
Taco salad made with spicy roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, tortilla chips and avocado-cilantro dressing.
- Prep Time: 10-15 mins
- Cook Time: 20-25 mins
- Total Time: 30-40 mins
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Salad
- Method: Baking, No-Cook
- Cuisine: American, Mexican
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3-4 cups romaine lettuce or mixed greens, chopped
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- 6-ounce can Mexican corn, drained
- ½ cup cooked black beans
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese
- 30 corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed
- Fresh lime wedges, salsa ranch or cilantro avocado dressing*
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Place sweet potato chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Mix until sweet potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender and crispy on the outside.
- To make salad, place romaine or mixed greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl or on a platter. Top with sweet potatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, cheese and tortilla chips. Drizzle salad with fresh lime juice, salsa ranch and/or cilantro avocado dressing.
Cooking Tip: To make into a meaty taco salad, add ½-pound cooked ground beef, chicken or turkey taco meat.
Dressing Recipe: For a quick and simple salsa racnch dressing, mix together equal parts ranch dressing and salsa. To make cilantro avocado dressing, blend together 1 pitted and peeled avocado, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 cup cilantro leaves, zest and juice of 1 medium lime, 1 peeled clove garlic, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon coarse salt until smooth and creamy.
- Serving Size: ¼ of recipe
- Calories: 460
- Sugar: 9g
- Sodium: 462mg
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 15g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Fiber: 13g
- Protein: 14g
- Cholesterol: 15mg
Keywords: healthy, easy, spicy, roasted, vegetarian, tacos, quick