While I was couch surfing during this move, I relied a lot on bagged salads being my pantry was gone and I didn’t have a lot of my usual cooking ingredients. For when we were on the go, I’d run into the grocery store and pick up a bagged salad so I didn’t have to do much, and it usually makes for a good filling meal for one! I decided with the help of my sister to try adding taco ‘meat’ to my favorite Dole salad, the chipotle cheddar. It was a GAME CHANGER. Once we got settled down, I decided to recreate this vegan chipotle taco salad.
Recreating this salad at home meant I was able to skip the $5 per bag salads, and I could also control exactly what went into it. Being I threw this together while we were still unpacking, I didn’t have a lot of ingredients, so I made do with the few spices we had at home and bought some pre-made stuff. That said, this salad is SUPER easy and you wouldn’t expect it to be so simple. My grocery list included: cabbage, romaine, matchstick carrots, cilantro, cheddar or vegan cheddar, chipotle ranch, and vegan meat.
What you’ll love about this vegan chipotle taco salad?
- It’s seriously the best salad I’ve ever had. I got my sister and brother in-law on this while I was living with them and they are usually picky eaters. 😛 You can surely top it with regular meat grounds and use a regular cheese and ranch to cater to non-vegans.
- Healthy! It’s a delicious meal packed with veggies. What more could you ask for?
- Cheaper than prepared salads. With the cost of it all around $14 for 4 large meal sized servings, this is a very inexpensive yet healthy dinner.
How to make this addicting vegan chipotle taco salad?
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the vegan meat according to package directions. I’ve tried quorn, gardein, morning star farms, Pure plant protein, and Beyond Grounds, all are good. Gardein and Pure are probably the most similar texture to regular ground meat if anyone is looking to try plant based protein.
- While the meat is cooking, start chopping vegetables. You will want to quarter the cabbage and then thinly slice. Then with the romaine, remove leaves from the head and slice thinly. If you bought whole carrots, chop them as small as you can, but for ease I just use matchstick carrots. Then finally chop the cilantro.
- Once the grounds are cooked, add about 1/3 cup of water and a package of taco seasoning. Stir this in and allow it to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Make sure you use enough water where the meat doesn’t start to burn to the pan. You can add additional water about 1 tbsp at a time.
- Make the chipotle ranch if you are not using pre-made, but being I was working on this during a move and unpacking, I used pre-made. Here is a vegan option based with avocado oil, otherwise there are a few recipes for vegan chipotle ranch out there.
Vegan Chipotle Taco Salad
- 1 head cabbage chopped
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 4 tbsp cilantro
- ½ cup matchstick carrots
- ½ cup shredded cheddar
- ½ cup chipotle ranch here's a vegan version
- 14 oz meatless crumbles Here's a link to the gardein ones I like (bags of these range from 12-16 oz, I just use the whole thing). Otherwise use your favorite ground beef or pork.
- 1 package taco seasoning I get these when I'm in a pinch.
- 20 tortilla chips crushed
- Cook the meatless grounds according to package directions.
- As the meatless crumbles are cooking, wash and cut the produce. Quarter the cabbage and thinly slice. Remove the leaves of romaine from the head and chop. Chop the cilantro and carrots (if using whole carrots).
- Add the package of taco seasoning to the meatless crumbles and about ⅓ cup of water. Mix it in and continue to cook about 2-3 minutes. If it is too dry or begins to stick to the pan, add additional water 1 tbsp at a time.
- Assemble the salads by mixing together the vegetables. Next toss in the cheddar and crushed tortilla chips. Pour on chipotle ranch, and top with ¼ of the taco meat.
I’d love to hear what you thought of these taco salads if you tried! What is your favorite meatless ‘meat’? Be sure to let me know in the comments below, and also give a star rating. It helps me improve content for future recipes as well as make tweaks to make these existing ones better.