Taco Salad (Vegan)

Definitions of the Day:

Mexican: (Mek-si-kuh n) adj/noun

One of the two specific categories of food that Janie craved and missed immensely while traveling all over New Zealand with her dear family including a nice big helping of guacamole (Side note: The other food being craved was BBQ)

Guacamole: (Gwah-kuh-moh-lee) noun

1. A heavenly green mushy food that is a god-send to this earth. 

2. A topping for Mexican food that should ALWAYS be included. ALWAYS. No questions asked. Period. 

3. A food that Janie could live off of everyday for the rest of her existence. 

4. A dip or topping made from the most expensive ingredient ever. AKA...avocados (so worth the hole in the grocery wallet though)

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Just so you know, the first meal that I ate back in the U.S. was at a food truck event in San Fransisco. I got a big fat and juicy BBQ pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw! 

The next day when we flew back to St. Louis, the first meal I made had to be some type of Mexican food. And since I started a 7 - 10 day long plant-based food only, I decided on this plant-based taco salad bowl of goodness! Fantabulous decision. Just fantab. Go team. Happy tummy. Craving = Satisfied✓

Ingredients:

Black beans:

  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne, optional (I only put like a teeny tiny sprinkle bc this stuff is no joke!🔥)
  • 1/4 cup water

Roasted Chickpeas:

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and dried well
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Olive oil spray or olive oil

Salad:

  • Romaine lettuce or sub other greens
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped, or sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado diced, or guacamole
  • 1 cup corn (I used a can of corn)
  • Dressing: This is a little trickier to make vegan. Homemade dressing would be best to keep it a plant-based meal, but if not I would say use a ranch, salsa, or salsa ranch dressing by Bolthouse Farms, or Trader Joe's cilantro vinaigrette (There's a lot of options for dressings!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss chickpeas with the olive oil spray (or regular olive oil), chili powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20-30 minutes, shaking them around ½ way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy...they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
  4. Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with ¼ cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Plate the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas.
  6. Drizzle with a dressing of some sort and any other toppings you fancy like salsa or if you're feeling comfort food night and non-vegan, then I'd say the most logical thing to do would be to top your salad with queso. YAS!! ....I mean it's your choice though. Butttt, really there should be only one correct answer though to this queso question😜 You know what it is. Follow your heart. No one will tell.

{Adapted from Veggie Inspired Journey}