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Hello, vegetarian taco salad. Thank you for saving almost 300 calories from my dinner plate!
That’s right, this vegetarian taco salad made with mushrooms instead of ground beef is a wonderful Meatless Monday option that’s easy on your waistline and so good that nobody’s gonna miss the meat!
This beautiful vegetarian taco salad is simple, healthy and easy to make, with fresh brightly colored vegetables, served in a crispy baked tortilla bowl.
Nope, nothing beats a taco salad WITH THE TACO!
Ok, there’s a story behind that statement…
I will never forget the first time we took our best good friends to Jalisco, our favorite Mexican restaurant. It was quite memorable especially when my BFF ordered a taco salad. The dialogue between the waiter and her went something like this…
Waiter: “May I take your order?”
BFF: “Yes, I’ll have a taco salad with no taco.”
Wait… WHAT?!?!? A taco salad with no taco? What the hell?
Needless to say, all of us, including the waiter, looked at her with our bottom jaw dropped wide open.
Basically what my BFF was ordering was a taco salad without the tortilla bowl that came along with it. She wanted the taco salad without the tortilla to cut out needless calories, making the salad a lighter meal option.
It was just so funny how she said it. A taco salad with no taco! The look on the waiter’s face… he was so confused! We all busted out laughing and she proceeded to clarify the statement.
It’s been a long-standing joke between all of us ever since and will continue to be for years to come.
Ok, let’s get back to this vegetarian taco salad, shall we?
WHAT GOES INTO A TACO SALAD?
First, let’s talk about the “meat”. Instead of beef, poultry or fish, this taco salad is made of meaty portobello mushrooms. The mushrooms are chopped and tossed in a pan with homemade taco seasoning, just like you would ground beef.
Mushrooms cook a lot faster than meat does, not to mention they are ready in just minutes, which means you aren’t standing over the stove all evening making supper.
The Tortilla Bowls:
There are tons of recipes out there for making your own tortilla bowls. You can even purchase Tortilla Pan Sets or use the bottom of a muffin tin (like this). However, I took the easy way out on this one and purchased premade tortilla bowls (like these) from the grocery store. All I had to do was preheat the oven and bake for just a few minutes.
You can also layer this salad on top of tortilla chips if you can’t tortilla bowls at the store. You can leave out the tortilla completely as my BFF does, but with all the calorie savings on the meat, you don’t have to worry!
The Ingredients of the Salad:
Finally, let’s talk about the ingredients. The list of ingredients below are the ingredients I used. However, you can make this salad your own. Add whatever you want, and leave out anything you don’t like.
Taco salad ingredients:
- Iceberg Lettuce – for its crispy crunch
- Extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese – grated or diced into small cubes
- Black Olives
- Avocado – diced like this
- Pico de Gallo or your favorite salsa
- Light Sour Cream
- Chives or green onions
- Jalapeños fresh or pickled
- Lime wedges – for serving to give the salad a pop of zing
How To Layer The Taco Salad:
Many times I have gotten taco salads with refried beans lining the bottom of the tortilla bowl. To me, the refried beans seem to always make the bottom of the tortilla soggy. Instead, I found it nice to add the lettuce into the tortilla bowl first. Adding the lettuce first, keeps the moist ingredients off the bottom, making the tortilla bowl crispy all the way down to the last bite!
Next, I added the seasoned mushrooms, cheese, olives, avocado, and the pico de gallo.
Finally, I gave the salad a few dollops of light sour cream and sprinkled the salads with chives, jalapenos, and cilantro followed up a nice spritz of the lime juice.
If you are craving Mexican food on Meatless Monday or looking for a low-calorie meal option for any day of the week, these vegetarian taco salads are perfect!
With all of the calorie savings, opt to have the tortilla bowl and eat this salad with your hands. It’s delicious and guilt-free!
Vegetarian Taco Salad
- 1 pound Portobello mushrooms quartered
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning Mix Heaping tablespoon, or to taste
- 4 tortilla bowls
- 4 cups iceberg lettuce (small head) washed and chopped
- 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese grated or diced
- ¼ cup black olives sliced
- 1 large avocado diced
- pico de gallo or your favorite salsa
- sour cream
- chives diced
- jalapeños fresh or pickled
- cilantro fresh
- lime wedges for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the chopped mushrooms to the oil and sprinkle with the taco seasoning mix; toss to coat. Cook tossing (or stirring) occasionally until the mushrooms are tender; about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven for the tortilla shells. Place them in the oven once the mushrooms are done and cook per package instructions.
Assemble the Taco Salads
- To assemble the taco salads, place the lettuce inside the tortilla bowls, then top with seasoned mushrooms, cheese, olive slices, diced avocado, and additional toppings of your choice. Serve immediately with lime wedges.