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Fresh Vegan Taco Salad with Spiced Lentils

There's something about summer that gets me wanting a fresh, flavorful taco salad! Honestly, I have a version of this salad often all year long, but Summer brings out a style closer to the one I grew up with at my family's cottage on the lake.
 
This recipe is my plant-fabulous version of one of my family's favorites. The flavor is just as superb as the original, but I enjoy this one so much more because I knew every bite was health-promoting and I felt energized after eating it. And the Catalina dressing really hits the spot!


Fresh Vegan Taco Salad

By Chef Katie Mae

Makes 4 servings | Ready in 35 minutes

 

FOR THE LENTILS

  • 1 cup uncooked French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾–1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon onion granules
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

FOR THE SALAD

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup diced cilantro
  • 8 organic corn tortillas, no oil added (optional)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the lentils, water, and 1 tablespoon each of chili powder and paprika. Lock the lid in place, and close the steam valve. Turn the setting to Manual and set the time to 6 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally. The lentils should be tender, but not soft and mushy.
  2. If you’ll be adding the corn tortillas strips for crunch then preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tortillas into thin strips about ¼ inch wide and spread them across the baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, bake the tortilla strips for 5 to 7 minutes, and then pull them out to cool.
  3. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend until you have a creamy consistency.
  4. Place the lettuce, onion, carrots, tomatoes, and cilantro in a large salad bowl. Add the Catalina dressing and toss well.
  5. Serve the salad in individual bowls and then top each with a handful of the baked tortilla strips.

CHEF'S NOTES

Any green, brown, or black lentils can be used and they can be cooked on the stovetop if you don’t have an electric pressure cooker. Red or any other split lentil will not work in this dish. Also, corn and avocado make great additions to this salad.

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