This double recipe for Tex-Mex taco salad in gluten-free baked tortilla bowls and salad tacos uses the same healthy fillings spiced up with creamy (yet dairy-free vegan) cilantro citrus avocado dressing. This is so that the salad eaters and the taco lovers can enjoy the same meal without creating extra work for the family chef. This is also why everything is gluten-free and dairy-free, and salad ingredients don’t require measuring. It’s also easy to please the vegans and the carnivores because the optional beef crumbles can be selectively applied… but know that meat isn’t necessary because beans with rice tortilla form a complete protein. So let the dinner fiesta begin!
Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Ingredients:
- 2 cups vegan coconut yogurt unsweetened (or unsweetened almond milk yogurt, or plain dairy yogurt)
- 1 ripe avocado mashed
- 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (add more if using fresh herbs)
- ½ teaspoon ground black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or 1 tablespoon of salt substitute if sodium restricted)
- ½ teaspoon dried onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon Latin seasoning blend (optional… wholefoods brand has sea salt, garlic, annatto, bitter orange, citric acid, citrus peels & oils)
Tex-Mex Taco & Salad Ingredients:
- torn romaine leaves (or any lettuce)
- prepared black beans (rinsed canned or cooked dried)
- chopped green onions (or leeks)
- diced Roma tomatoes (or any variety)
- diced black olives (or green)
- fresh cilantro leaves (or a sprinkling of dried)
- shredded cheese (I used Follow Your Heart brand soy-free vegan shredded cheddar.)
- sprouted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- diced ripe avocado (optional)
- beef crumbles (optional)
- brown rice tortillas (or any variety of wrap)
- homemade creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing (or sour cream, plain yogurt, store bought dressing, salsa, or guacamole)
- for the crunchy bowls: grapeseed oil in spray pump (or any oil or cooking spray)
Cilantro Citrus Avocado Dressing Instructions:
Mix all the ingredients together and then blend. (I used an immersion blender.)
This is great to make ahead of time and refrigerate until using.
Taco Salad & Tortilla Bowl Instructions:
Gather, wash, and chop enough ingredients to fill up the crowd you’ll be serving. I haven’t included amounts because everyone has their own preferences regarding salad composition… I like ¾ toppings with a little lettuce! (Brown the beef crumbles in a pan now… if you aren’t vegan.)
Toss everything but the tortillas in a large mixing bowl with a portion of the prepared creamy cilantro citrus avocado dressing … or your dressing of choice. (Or serve it own the side.)
To make the baked tortilla bowl shells, spray each tortilla on both sides with oil… from a refillable mist pump or cooking spray. Press each into either an oven safe bowl or a metal tortilla baker. (Sorry about the lack of pictures for this step… oops!) Bake at 350ᵒ for about 15 minutes or so… really just watch them with the oven light on so that they can be removed when just beginning to brown, because everyone’s oven behaves a bit differently. (Note that overcooked broken shells make great tortilla chips.)
Fill these lovely creations with the tossed salad mixture, and garnish with extra cilantro and pepitas.
I serve these in rimmed salad bowls rather than on plates so that guests can break the shells to eat with the salad without making a mess.
Salad Taco Instructions:
For the non-salad eaters in the group who don’t care for salads, try making a salad taco instead.
Make this soft taco by filling a folded brown rice tortilla with the tossed salad mixture.
Now that’s something you can sink your teeth into!
♥ “Yo quiero taco salad!” said the imaginary Chihuahua spokesdog.