Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad Recipe

Recipe developer Deniz Vergara brings us this recipe for a vegan taco salad complete with a cauliflower walnut seasoned "meat" that will leave vegans and even omnivores wanting more. This plant-powered masterpiece redefines traditional taco salads, elevating them to a new level of taste and nutrition. Packed with an array of colorful vegetables, hearty nuts, and zesty seasonings, this dish celebrates the art of mindful eating.

Crisp lettuce forms the base, providing a refreshing crunch in addition to the crunch of the crushed tortilla chips. Yellow corn adds a touch of sweetness, while diced tomatoes and creamy avocado offer a creamy, satisfying texture. A medley of fragrant spices infuses the mix with that classic taco flair, creating an explosion of taste with every bite.

While special enough to serve at various meat-free occasions, this recipe is also simple enough to make on a busy weeknight. In less than 45 minutes, you can have a healthy, plant-based dinner on the table. What's better than that?

Gather your vegan taco salad ingredients

To make this vegan taco salad, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need cauliflower, walnuts, tomato paste, water, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne, romaine lettuce, corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, tortilla chips, salad dressing, and limes.

Because this vegan mock meat is made from cauliflower and walnuts, Vergara has a tip for those avoiding nuts. She says, "You can try using chickpeas instead of walnuts if you have a nut allergy."

Pulse together vegan taco meat

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a food processor, add the cauliflower florets. Pulse about 8-10 times until the cauliflower is broken up. Then, add in the walnuts, tomato paste, water, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Continue to pulse until the mixture is combined. Be cautious not to process through or blend. You don't want pureed cauliflower here. Instead, you are looking for a chunky texture.

This plant-based meat mixture is incredibly versatile. Vergara tells us, "I like to use the 'taco meat' whenever I am having a taco night for anyone who doesn't eat meat. You can pair this with anything that you would be using taco meat for. Stuff it in tacos or burritos, put it on top of salad, or even make nachos with it!"

Bake the cauliflower walnut mixture

Pour the cauliflower walnut mixture out onto a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through.

If you are looking for a bit more browned and crispy vegan meat, turn on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes. The broiler will transform the cauliflower and walnut mixture into a savory, caramelized delight with a slight char that mimics the satisfying texture of cooked meat.

Assemble salads

Lastly, it's time to assemble the salads. In a large bowl, add the romaine, corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, tortilla chips, and your choice of salad dressing. Toss these ingredients together and serve in four seperate bowls. Then, top each bowl with the crispy cauliflower walnut mixture before diving in.

Not sure what type of salad dressing to choose? Vergara recommends, "For salad dressing, if you like something creamy, a creamy cilantro lime dressing would taste great. You can also make a citrus vinaigrette which would be nice and refreshing."

Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Packed with an array of colorful vegetables, hearty nuts, and zesty seasonings, this vegan cauliflower taco salad celebrates the art of mindful eating.
Prep Time
Cook Time
vegan taco salad serving
Total time: 40 minutes
  • For the Taco Meat
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups whole walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • For the Salad
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 (14-ounce can) yellow corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • Your choice of salad dressing
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the cauliflower 8-10 times so the cauliflower is still chunky.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor until the mixture is ground up but still chunky (you do not want to make a paste).
  4. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. If you would like the mixture a little more browned, broil for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  6. Divide the salad ingredients among 4 bowls. Toss with your choice of salad dressing and top with prepared taco meat.
  7. Serve with lime wedges.
Calories per Serving 623
Total Fat 51.0 g
Saturated Fat 5.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 38.9 g
Dietary Fiber 13.0 g
Total Sugars 7.7 g
Sodium 730.1 mg
Protein 15.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe