Black Bean Taco Salad – A gorgeous vegetarian taco salad with colorful veggies and a creamy dressing that’ll keep you coming back for more! (Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly)
Hi, I’m Emily, and I love Meatless Mondays.
Plant-based meals have always been part of our regular rotation. They’re great for our budget, great for the planet, and great for our health. Also: They. Are. Delicious. One of my favorite go-tos is a big gorgeous build-your-own salad like this Black Bean Taco Salad recipe.
I set everything out separately–greens, colorful veggies, crispy tortilla strips, and a yummy dressing, and let everyone build their own salad. No one complains, and we all eat more veggies than we would on a regular night. Win! Win! Win!
Here’s how to build a seriously amazing vegetarian taco salad + the best dressings to tie it all together…
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO OUR BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD:
MIXED GREENS. You can use all kinds of greens for black bean taco salad, but my favorite includes some with a bit of crunch, like romaine and green leaf lettuce. Feel free to used bagged salad mix here to save yourself some time!
BLACK BEANS. Canned black beans are the key ingredient of this vegetarian taco salad. I love that they add some plant-based protein, plenty of fiber, and a delicious creaminess that’s so good with the other veggies.
CORN. Corn + black beans are SUCH a great team, so I love adding them both to this salad. Feel free to use fresh, (cooked) frozen, or canned corn. Whatever works best for you!
TOMATOES. Colorful tomatoes are my favorite! I always add them to black bean taco salad.
GREEN ONIONS + CILANTRO. For another layer of flavor, I add the combination of a little green onion (more mild than other onions!) and cilantro for some bright, fresh flavor.
AVOCADO. You KNOW I have to add avocado! Diced, or sliced, it’s always good in taco salad.
CRISPY TORTILLA STRIPS. If you really want to put your black bean taco salad over the top, add some crispy tortilla strips! They add such a satisfying crunch and saltiness that’s delightful. Don’t have time? Crushed tortilla chips are a good substitution!
A CREAMY SALAD DRESSING. Once you’ve added all these colorful veggies + toppings, you’re ready to tie the salad together with a delicious dressing. Here are my favorites for a vegetarian taco salad…
LET’S TALK DRESSING. HERE ARE SOME OF THE BEST SALAD DRESSINGS FOR BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD:
CHIPOTLE RANCH DRESSING. My first choice almost all the time! This smoky, creamy chipotle ranch dressing is AMAZING with the Southwest flavors going on in this salad. Your life will never be the same after you try it!
TOMATILLO RANCH DRESSING. If I can’t do chipotle ranch, my next favorite dressing for black bean taco salad is our tomatillo ranch dressing. We put this on ALL the things and it never disappoints!
AVOCADO RANCH DRESSING. Or, you can take your avocado love to the next level with this avocado ranch. Feel free to use it in place of sliced avocados, or double up on the avo love with avocado AND avocado ranch!
CILANTRO RANCH DRESSING. I love a good cilantro ranch dressing. It’s simple and adds bright, fresh flavor to a taco salad.
MIX IT UP! TRY ADDING SOME OF THESE OTHER GOODIES TO YOUR VEGETARIAN TACO SALAD:
GRATED, CUBED, OR CRUMBLED CHEESE. If you tolerate dairy, cheese is so yummy here! A good strong cheddar or a salty crumbled cotija were my two favorites before going dairy-free, though Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, and other cheeses are all great, too!
JICAMA. Crisp, cool, and satisfyingly crunchy, jicama can be a great addition to a vegetarian taco salad. It pairs beautifully with the other veggies + the black beans!
BELL PEPPERS. Bell peppers are another favorite. Dice + add them raw, or feel free to grill or cook them ahead of time if you prefer them softened!
GREEN CHILES. A little unconventional, but sometimes I add some canned diced green chiles. You can also roast some fresh poblanos over a gas burner or under a broiler to char. Steam them in a bag for a few minutes and the peel should come right off. Dice the chiles and add to the salad.
CARROTS. I love carrots in salads. They’re not traditional for taco salad, but they can add a great crunch and slight sweetness. So good.
CUCUMBER. I love adding a cool, crisp cucumber now and then to my black bean taco salad. It’s nice next to the other veggies and the yummy dressing.
RED ONION. If you prefer a bit more bite, swap out the green onions in your black bean taco salad for a few tablespoons of finely minced red onion. Such pretty color!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD:
CAN I PREP THIS IN ADVANCE? As with most green salads, I recommend not adding dressing to your black bean taco salad until very close to serving. Otherwise, I find the dressing breaks down the greens and turns the salad soggy. No bueno.
TURN IT INTO A MASON JAR BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD! If you want to pack this in a mason jar for meal prep or for bringing on the go, I recommend adding dressing at the bottom, then layering sturdy veggies like the beans and corn, followed by the rest of the veggies (tomatoes, green onions, cilantro), and topping with lettuce. Pack your tortilla strips on the side if you want them, and you’re good to go!
IS THIS BLACK BEAN TACO SALAD VEGAN? I label it as vegan-friendly. All the salad ingredients (veggies + tortilla strips) are 100% vegan. The only remaining factor is your dressing, which is vegetarian. If you make any of the dressings I suggest above with vegenaise (vegnan mayonnaise) instead of traditional mayo, then your salad will be vegan!
WHAT ELSE TASTES GOOD IN VEGETARIAN TACO SALAD? Scroll back up to the last section! I have LOTS of other mix-ins you can try to make this salad your own!
CRAVING MORE? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE:
- Chipotle Ranch Dressing (Our Favorite For This Salad!)
- Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
- Instant Pot Black Beans (+3 Flavors To Try)
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- Chipotle Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls
- Vegan Black Bean Tostadas With Fresh Mango Salsa
- Vegan Plantain + Black Bean Burrito Bowls
- Black Bean Polenta Bowls
- Butternut Squash Curry