If you ever find yourself in a salad rut, this raw taco salad is a great way to break out of it. Hearty and flavourful, every bite is a fiesta in your mouth. It’s a bit (ok, a lot) different from the taco salad of my youth, but certainly no less tasty!
My inspiration comes from the taco salad that I enjoyed at The Naked Sprout meet-up over the weekend. Layered with greens, guacamole, salsa, sunflower taco meat, and a cashew cream, I knew this was something I would be making at home real soon. As in, within 24 hours of consumption. I don’t mess around during the salad-a-day challenge…no sir-ee.
Here are a few ways that I changed up this salad:
- I used walnuts instead of sunflower seeds for the taco meat. I’ve had success making walnut taco meat in the past, so I stuck with that recipe, only simplifying it to just a few ingredients.
- I made a macadamia cream sauce instead of a cashew cream sauce. Feel free to use whichever nut you wish.
- Red leaf romaine instead of flat-leaf mixed greens because I think the romaine has a better texture to serve as the base of such a hearty salad. Again, use any green you prefer.
- I used my Endurance Crackers because I had some in my freezer just waiting to be used. I absolutely loved them in this salad.
I put together a step-by-step assembly of the salad in photos for us visual people. The recipes are below!
1. Add a hearty base of greens in a large bowl.
2. Add a heaping 1/4 cup scoop of 3-minute guacamole (recipe below) in the middle of the lettuce.
3. Spoon on a couple tablespoons of your favourite salsa.
4. Add half of the walnut taco meat.
5. Spoon a couple tablespoons of cream sauce into a baggie, snip off the end, and “pipe” it onto the salads. Fancy. Or, simply spoon it onto the salad directly.
6. Add chopped tomato, red onion, and green onion on top.
7. Finally, stick your favourite crackers in! I used my Endurance Crackers. Feel free to use tortilla chips or any cracker you see worthy.
Layered Raw Taco Salad for Two
I like to think of this salad as a vitamin in a bowl. It’s not only delicious, but literally bursting with nutrients and health. It lasted all of 3 minutes in front of me…maybe less. Eric, who is not a guacamole fan, surprised me by devouring it also.
Don’t let the long ingredient list put you off; the entire recipe took me about 30 minutes or so. Feel free to adapt this salad depending on what you have in your kitchen. Inspired by : The Naked Sprout’s Taco Salad
For the walnut taco meat
- 1/2 cup walnuts, soaked for 2-8 hours
- 1 & 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- fine grain sea salt, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
For the cashew or macadamia cream
- 1 cup macadamia (or cashew) nuts, soaked in water for 2-8 hours
- 11-12 tbsp water (use as needed to achieve desired consistency)
- 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
- fine grain sea salt, to taste (I used just over 1/4 tsp)
For the guacamole
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 small tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
For the salad
- greens of choice
- green onion (optional)
- Taco meat: In a food processor (or by hand), pulse (or chop) the ingredients until combined. Make sure to leave the walnuts chunky. Remove and set aside.
- Cream sauce: Drain and rinse the soaked nuts. Add them into a processor and process. Stream in about 1/2 cup water and a couple tbsp of lemon juice. Add more water as needed to achieve your desired consistency. The nut sauce should be super smooth and not grainy. Add salt to taste.
- Guacamole: In a medium-sized bowl, mash the avocado flesh with a fork, leaving some chunks. Stir in the chopped tomato, red onion, lime juice, and seasonings to taste.
- To assemble: (per bowl) Add a hefty base of greens in a large bowl followed by a heaping 1/4 cup scoop of guacamole in the middle.
- Spoon on 2 tbsp of salsa over the greens followed by half of the taco meat.
- Add a couple tbsp of cream into a plastic baggie, snip off end, and pipe over top the taco meat.
- Garnish with a chopped green onion and leftover chopped tomato and red onion. Place a few crackers into the salad before serving. If you find yourself with leftover lemon and lime juice like I did, place juice into a glass, fill with water, add liquid sweetener to taste, and serve over ice.
Walnut Taco Meat yields scant 1/2 cup
Cashew or Macadamia cream yields 1 heaping cup
3 Minute Guacamole yields 3/4 cup
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Strawberry Nut Cream
The nut cream recipe makes a cup’s worth, so you might be wondering what to do with it the leftovers like I was. You can actually use nut cream as a sub for thick dairy cream in so many recipes. Think pasta sauces, cream-based soups, mashed potatoes, a spread on sandwiches or wraps, etc. Feel free to add herbs, spices, and seasonings to jazz up the flavour. I’ve also read that it can be frozen for a couple months.
I decided to use some of the nut cream as a base for a sweet strawberry dessert and breakfast cream. Yummy.
Enjoy this strawberry cream over top of oatmeal, vegan overnight oats, pancakes, desserts, or even in smoothies!
1. Add 6-7 large strawberries into a processor along with 1/4 cup nut cream and 1 tbsp pure maple syrup. Remove strawberry cream and store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a few days.
2. I made Banana Soft Serve with the strawberry cream. I added 2 tbsp of the strawberry cream into the processor with a frozen and chopped banana and 1/2 tbsp almond butter.
3. Instant “Strawberries ‘n Cream” banana soft serve!
4. Serve with chopped strawberries in a mini parfait glass for a cold & creamy summer dessert.
Strawberries ‘n cream vegan overnight oats will also be happening. :)
I made this last night and my husband and I both LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I will be making a double batch next week for my husband to take for his lunches. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Dee-lish. This is a keeper. This was my first time to try cashew nut cream. My non-vegan friend even liked it!
WOW! Just WOW! My husband and I just finished this and it was Fannnntastic! I actually think I beat your three minute time. :)
It’s already starting to get too warm here in the Southeast US, and my husband the non vegan suggested that we have this several times when it’s too darn hot to cook :) Yippeee!
I just made this for the first time. I have to say that I had my doubts about using walnuts as a substitute for meat (I had never had it before) but it was SO good! It wasn’t really that time consuming either….it just looks hard. I love your website and your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing with us. :)
Just wondering if you used raw walnuts and macadamias in your recipe or roasted? Thank you!
Also, do you think pecans would work instead of walnuts?? Thank you again!!!
Hi Lindsey, I think I used raw, but honestly they might be even better roasted! yes I do think pecans would work, but I haven’t tried it yet myself. Let me know how it goes!
Thank you so much for your reply:) I will give it a whirl. P.S. Surely you hear this often but I absolutely LOVE your site. I am a huge fan:) You are my inspiration to cook, I never really took on cooking until my mom stumbled upon your site and pointed it out to me. Thank you for all your amazing and inspiring recipes and writings. All the best to you!:)
Just curious how long do you normal soak the nuts for. I’m new to the whole vegan thing and could use some help. Also does it matter how much water you use?
I usually soak for a minimum of 4 hours for cashews and overnight for almonds (since they are firmer). In a pinch, 1 hour works for cashews.
I love this! I made this salad tonight and it tasted phenomenal. Even my carnivorous husband loved it. I’ll definitely make it again, although it took me longer than 30 minutes!
Thanks for this x
Hey Angela! I made this recipe yesterday for my girlfriend (non-vegan) and myself, and she absolutely loved it, and I fell in love with it as well, it’s simply amazing!
I wanted to ask you, I often look up recipes on www.vegweb.com, would you agree for me to post your recipe there, and give you full credits (along with the link)? I feel like this recipe should be shared with the vegan community on this website as well!
Hi Nick, So glad to hear that! Thanks for trying it out.
As for re-posting recipes, I ask that they aren’t copied and re-posted (only because they take a great deal of work to create for my blog) – but feel free to post the link if you’d like to share. Thanks and let me know if you have any other q’s.
Made this for lunch today and OMG it was amazing. Thank you so much.
I just tried this salad, minus the nut cream because I didn’t have those nuts on hand, and it was so delicious. It definitely satisfied me and my craving for something Mexican. I’ve tried a handful of your recipes since discovering your site about a week ago and everything has been to die for. Thank you Angela!
Made this tonight and it was super yummy!! I’m just wondering if you ever worked out the nutritional content for this meal?? Trying to add up how much protein we are getting. If you know that would be great!
This recipe rocks. It tastes like it should be bad for you!
I just made this for dinner and it was so delicious! I was nervous about the walnut taco meat, as I’ve never used them this way before, but it turned out amazing. It was so fast too.
If I wanted to use raw sunflower seeds instead of walnuts would I increase the amount to 1 cup? And do I need to do any soaking for sunflower seeds? If I wasn’t trying the Whole30 challenge I’d go for the walnuts myself!
wow! I just made the taco salad and my goodness it is incredible ! seriously recommend anyone making this…so so tasty. Thank you for the recipe!
This was a HUGE hit with my 15 yr. old daughter! Didn’t have time to soak any nuts. Walnut meat and cashew cream came out gorgeous. Used sprouted walnuts from store (I didn’t sprout) and roasted cashews – both unsalted. Added garlic to the guacamole because huge garlic fans. We put in romaine hearts and made little taco boats. All the flavors came together so well – Amazing!
I just made this Taco Salad for my wife and me. I followed the recipe exact, and I have to admit, this is one of the best salads I have ever had. My wife and I both LOVED it!! My wife stated that she felt like we were at a high dollar raw food restaurant. Absolutely great recipe. Will definitely be including this meal in our meal rotation. Thanks.
Hi Gabe, Wonderful news! Thanks for sharing :)
I just made this and it was REALLY delicious. I’m transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, and my friend introduced me to your website. It is brilliant. There are quite a number of vegan recipes out there that make me feel like I’m being punished when I eat them. All of your recipes I’ve tried have rich flavor profiles and satisfying consistencies. I think this one will be popular in my rotation!
WOW!!! I just made this for dinner and it is truly the best salad I’ve ever tasted! This is Devine! Thank you so much Angela!
I FREAKIN love you! That is all…as you were.
Had this for dinner a couple nights ago… Just AWESOME! So much flavor and deliciousness… I have been making vegetarian taco salad for years using the vegetarian soy crumbles, but lately I have been trying to eat more real, plant-based foods. I loved the idea of a raw vegan taco salad and it definitely surpassed my expectations. Sadly my fiance will rarely participate in my vegan meal experiments so I made him his own meat to go on his salad. I was surprised by the cashew (did not have macadamia nuts) cream – this was my first time soaking and blending cashews. It worked very well on the salad. I even brought leftovers for lunch at work the next day and it was yummy once again! I also took you up on the idea for strawberry nut cream blended into banana soft serve. My fiance and I BOTH enjoyed that creation! Thank you once again for making eating vegan fun!
I just had this for a late lunch today and it was AMAZING! The amount of spice in the walnut taco “meat” was just perfect, and the cashew cream took the whole creation to another level. Thank you so much for sharing this terrific recipe :)
My neighbor made this last night for dinner, they are all meat eaters and I am vegan. It was absolutely delicious and everyone including her husband and picky 8 yr old daughter loved it. We will definitely make this again and again.
I’ve made this salad multiple times for lunch and both my husband & i LOVE it! I make it ahead for the week in our mason jars & it works great! I skipped the cashew cream (read i got lazy) and added some green chilies and tiny bit of garlic to the guac. it turned out just perfect for us! Thanks for this & many other wonderful recipes on your blog!
I made this recipe awhile ago now, and I have to say it is absolutely FANTASTIC!
Where is the recipe for “Nut Cream?”
Do you have a newsletter email?
This has to be the most delicious taco salad I have ever eaten.
I cannot wait to make this! Already had lunch, but pretty much drooling looking at the recipe. Any ideas on the longevity of the cashew cream in the fridge once you’ve made it? Thanks!
This was delicious! My husband and I had it for dinner, except I used yogurt instead of the vegan sour cream and added cheese because we aren’t vegan. I love eating vegetarian meals because they make me feel wonderful and they save me money!!! I had basically everything I needed on hand. I added homemade salsa and garbanzo beans (for extra protein) and just did diced avocado instead of guacamole to save time. The walnut mixture was great and easy, and so much cheaper than ground beef! Especially if you like to buy organic/grass-fed.
How long does the cashew cream / strawberry cream last in the fridge?
Hi Caty, The cashew cream will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks (I love freezing in individual-size servings using a muffin tray or ice cube tray!). I’d say strawberry cream can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a few days. Hope this helps!
Thanks so much!! We made your strawberry banana ice cream for like 3 days
straight after we made the tacos and are completely OBSESSED :)
I don’t make them completely raw…I usually fry up an onion and some garlic and then add the walnuts chopped and pre soaked.
Play around with chili powder and other spices…sometimes I add a little oregano.
It is sooooo delicious…you will love it
Made this for the first time tonight and my wife and I both loved it! I expect we’ll make it several more times over the summer!
That’s great, Bill! So glad you both enjoyed it.
FYI…The link for you have for the naked sprout needs to be changed…a bit inappropriate. But the salad looks great!
Oh no! The website changed to something that’s NOT a vegan restaurant, lol. Thanks for letting me know, it’s removed. ;)