Given my penchant for salads that are both hot and cool, it comes as no surprise that this black bean taco salad is a favorite. It’s a fast and fun main dish that has it all — salad veggies, high-protein beans, and two “yum factor” ingredients — good-quality tortilla chips and vegan cheese.
Like its cousin, fully loaded vegan nachos, you can make this as mild or as spicy as you’d like, depending on the kind of salsa you choose, and even the vegan cheese you select. Pepperjack shreds add a definite kick, while cheddar will keep the flavor mellow.
Use good chips: The kind of tortilla chips you choose can add character to the dish, too. In these photos, for example, you’ll see taco-flavored tortilla chips, fittingly. They’re nicely spiced instead of being overly salted like some chips, and contain flax, sesame seeds, and quinoa. Not all tortilla chips are this loaded, but there are lots of good, natural varieties to be found.
Complete the meal: For a light summer meal, corn on the cob is a nice addition. Leave room for dessert of fresh fruits and vegan ice cream! For a heartier cold weather meal, pair this with a big batch of roasted vegetables or baked sweet potatoes.
- Mixed greens or shredded lettuce — about 4 cups, or as needed
- Lime juice, as needed
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium firm ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup salsa, your favorite variety
- Natural stoneground tortilla chips, as needed
- 1 cup cheddar or pepperjack-style vegan cheese shreds
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced fresh jalapeños
- For individual servings, choose 4 medium-sized plates or shallow bowls. You can eyeball the amount of salad greens needed accordingly. Line the plates with the greens and drizzle a little lime juice over them.
- Combine the tomatoes and avocado in a small bowl and toss with a little lime juice as well.
- Combine the beans and salsa in a small saucepan or microwave-proof container and heat until nice and hot.
- Layer some tortilla chips over the greens on each plate in more or less a single layer. Follow with 1/4 of the black beans and salsa, 1/4 of the cheese, and 1/4 of the tomato-avocado. You can prepare one platter, then let everyone assemble their own, if you’d like.
- Garnish with cilantro and/or jalapeños if you’d like, and dig in at once while the beans are hot and the chips are crisp.
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