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Healthy Vegan Taco Salad with walnut taco meat and colorful veggies is a quick and easy raw salad full of texture and fresh flavors!

side angle view of healthy vegan taco salad with items surrounding.

Say hello to fresh with this ultimate vegan taco salad with healthy walnut-mushroom taco meat, bell pepper, corn, crispy romaine, avocado, cilantro lime sour cream and a big squeeze of lime!

It’s refreshing, filling, and a perfect salad during the warm summer months or whenever you’re craving a taco salad! Plus, it’s loaded with fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

There’s goodness everywhere in this colorful salad bowl. It’s clean, simple, easy to throw together, and I know you’ll love it too!

For more easy salads, you’ll love this Farmer’s Market Salad, Southwest Chickpea Salad, Vegan Cobb Salad, Thai Crunch Salad, Crunchy Romaine Salad, or Vegan Caesar Salad!

top down view of ingredients used to make the best vegan taco salad with healthy walnut taco meat.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this easy salad recipe, leafy lettuce, colorful veggies and nut meat are layered and topped with a creamy cilantro sour cream for a delicious vegan salad that’s healthy, and full of texture and fresh flavors.

Here is everything you’ll need, including variations:

  • Walnut taco meat – Sub with black beans, chickpeas or pinto beans (but it won’t raw).
  • Romaine – Use your favorite leafy or shredded lettuce.
  • Bell pepper – Any color will do. I used orange to complete my rainbow.
  • Corn – Fresh, canned or frozen (thawed). I highly recommend using grilled corn!
  • Onion – Use whatever you have on hand. I used red for color contrast.
  • Tomatoes – Grape or cherry tomatoes add juiciness and color.
  • Avocado – Dice it up and mix it in for creaminess.
  • Cilantro – Adds herby flavor, use as much as you like.
  • Lime wedges – Use 1 – 2 limes squeezed over top for your dressing.
  • Vegan Sour Cream – Can sub with Sriracha Cashew Cream.
  • Jalapeno – Adds a nice dose of heat, but optional.

All ingredients are optional, but highly recommended for the ultimate taco salad!

side by side photos of making walnut taco meat and chopping romaine.

How To Make Vegan Taco Salad

Making this Tex-Mex inspired salad takes just a few steps and is ready in minutes. Here’s a look at the steps, but you can find the full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.

  • Make the walnut taco meat. The walnut meat is made with walnuts, mushrooms and spices and is super easy to pull together. Simply add everything to your food processor and pulse until just crumbly, being careful to not over process.
  • Cilantro Lime Sour Cream. Now, for some added extras to top things off. This creamy goodness is based on a basic cashew sour cream with wonderful added flavors of lime and cilantro. It’s a great accompaniment to this salad!
  • Assemble the taco salad. Add a layer of leafy greens, top with veggies, nut meat and dollop or drizzle of sour cream. Top it all off with a squeeze of lime.

And now you’re ready to dine!

Tips + Faqs

  • Don’t overmix the walnut taco meat. Overmixing will cause it to become mushy, like pate.
  • Make the cilantro-lime sour cream thick or thin. Use as a thick cream or add more water to thin, creating a pourable, creamy sour cream dressing.
  • How do you store leftovers? Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

side angle view of healthy taco salad in a white bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few ways to change up this salad, making it even better – if that’s possible!

top down view of vegan taco salad with healthy walnut taco meat.

Let me know if you try this vegan raw salad recipe or have a question! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



Fresh and healthy, this Vegan Taco Salad with raw walnut taco meat, colorful veggies and cilantro-lime sour cream is simple, refreshing and will leave you feeling terrific!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 min
  • Yield: Serves 2 - 3 1x
  • Category: Salad, Entree
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan


Units Scale

Walnut Taco Meat

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne
  • salt + pepper, to taste

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 23 hours
  • 1/4 cup water, give or take
  • 1 small lime, squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • few sprigs cilantro
  • pinch of mineral salt

Taco Salad

  • 2 heads romaine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup handful grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell peppers (any color), diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • pepitas, to garnish
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • sliced avocado, to serve


Walnut Taco Meat:

  • Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until coarse and chunky. Don’t over blend or it will become a spread, pate like consistency. For pictures on how-to see Walnut Meat (4 ways).

Serves 3

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream:

  • Soak your cashews in at least 1 cup cool water for 2 – 3 hours or 1 cup hot water for 5 min. Drain well.
  • Add ingredients to blender or food processor, blend/process, scraping down the sides every now and then until smooth. Add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. For thicker cream use less water. For a thinner, pourable cream use more water.

Makes 1 cup, serves 8

Assemble taco salad:

  • In individual bowls, add romaine, and top with corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, and walnut taco meat. Use as much as you like of anything.
  • Serve with a few juicy limes as your dressing.
  • Add a dollop of cream or a drizzle depending on how thick or thin your cream is.

Serves 2 – 3

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Nutritional information is calculated with the walnut meat and salad ingredients only. For nutritional information on the sour cream, see this Basic Cashew Sour Cream Recipe.

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

Updated: Healthy Taco Salad recipe originally published August 2012 and has been updated June 2020 with new photos and helpful tips.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Could I use the almond meal, left over from making almond milk, instead of walnuts?..thanks kathryn

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      I wouldn't suggest using that here, it will to mushy. But of course you can always try, it may not be too bad after all. The walnuts give a meatiness due to the texture. The mixture should be left slightly chunky.

    2. Anonymous says:

      thank you. I haven't made almond milk yet, but trying to find a use for the pulp first, without drying it into flour.

  2. melissa ml says:

    This recipe looks great! I want to try it but i really dont like mushrooms, what substitue de you think i can remplace them by ? thank you!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      I've had others who don't care for mushrooms say that really enjoyed this as is. You honestly can't tell they are there. But if you really can't take them, I would suggest replacing with and using all walnuts instead. That will be just as great!

  3. Rachel Page says:

    Ok so I really really want one of those right now.. Guess I'll just have to wait for the weekend and try making them.

  4. Dusten Winebarger says:

    Just tried the Nut Meat recipe and OH MAN it is so good! Thank you!

  5. Could you please tell me long you can keep the cilantro "sour cream" for?

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      It will keep up to 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

  6. very excellent execution on this dish. beautiful, vibrant, and looks like it tastes amazing.

  7. Enjoy Ashley, it is fabulous ! ♥

  8. I love this idea! I cannot wait to try the nut meat!

  9. Super, glad you liked it ! That makes my day :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great recipe! I made it for dinner and it's today's lunch!

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