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Recipe: healthy taco salad (vegetarian)


I’m a creature of habit. If I find something I like to eat or a route I like to run, I do it over and over again until I get so sick of it that I go off in search of my next obsession. Lately, my favorite, can’t-get-enough meal is this healthy taco salad.

Growing up in California, I have a deep appreciation for authentic Mexican food. Nothing beats a fresh tamale or a warm quesadilla. However, the one down side to Mexican food is that it’s often deep fried, heavy, and dripping with cheese and sour cream; great as an occasional treat, but not for every day dinners.

This taco salad is the complete opposite: healthy, fresh and light. The key here is the spices, don’t shy away from them, they are what give the dish flavor without all the fat. I pile on the veggies, whatever I have on hand works perfect. My favorites are onions, bell peppers, corn and zucchini. I add lots of beans and quinoa, maybe some tofu or chicken and top with it with salsa and avocado or this guacamole. If you layer the flavors and textures, and include a few tortilla chips on the side, I promise you won’t miss the cheese and sour cream a bit.

And then you can eat Mexican food everyday like I do!

Makes 2 servings

Healthy Taco Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro, optional
  • Tortilla Chips
  1. Place beans in a small pot over medium heat and add cumin, chili powder, garlic salt and coriander. Bring to a low simmer until beans are warm.
  2. Chop lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper and carrot. Put in a big bowl.
  3. Defrost corn for 1 minute in the microwave
  4. Top salad with corn, beans, green onion, avocado/guacamole and salsa.
  5. Enjoy with a side of tortilla chips.

Photos and article by Lisa Horvath.

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