Vegetarian Bean Taco Salad

I must be in a Mexican kinda mood, because it seems that’s all I feel like cooking lately!  I’ve also felt like eating beans.  Lots of beans.

source (you can also click this link to learn about the health benefit of beans)

When I was planning dinner the other day, I decided I’d make a vegetarian taco salad for three reasons:

1. Tacos are delicious.

2. Salads are good for you.

3. I can eat the bowl I serve my salad in.  Now, that’s exciting!

I decided to get a little head start on my taco filling.  Not that it takes a long time or anything- in fact, it takes hardly any time!- but mostly because I didn’t want to do it later.  My theory when it comes to dinner preparation is the sooner the better.  The longer I put it off, the lazier I become.

Before I started turning regular cans of black and pinto beans into delicious, taco-flavored delicacies, I chopped up some veggies and had myself a little snack.

I made a simple Indian inspired salad (I’ve blogged about it here), and added a tablespoon or so of aloo bhujia—fried, spiced potato noodles—for a little crunch.  I think the weather outside has me craving Summer.  It seems like spring and was even 50 degrees today!  This salad screams Summer, but sadly the tomatoes and cucumber screamed “out of season”! …Back to reality.  I still have over 5 months before Summer arrives!

After eating my snack, I decided to get started on my tortilla bowls.  When I lived with my grandparents, after moving home from college, this was a meal I often made for dinner.  It all started when I was at the supermarket and had a mad craving for a taco salad.  I picked up some ground turkey, grabbed the lettuce and veggies and I found the pre-made taco shell bowls.  I flipped over the package, and realized that one bowl was nearly 500 calories!  Whoa!  Then I got to thinking (I know, right!?!)…A taco shell bowl is really just a tortilla!  So I went home and draped torillas over glass pyrex bowls and baked them at 400 degrees, until they were crisp.  Genius!  I used whole wheat, low calorie tortillas and was able to knock the calories of my taco shell bowl down to a measly 80 cals.  Awesome!  Now, I have a couple fancy taco shell bowl molds.  They make awesome bowls, but they’re really completely unnecessary.

After my bowls were baked, I started on the bean mixture.  I used a combination of pinto and black beans because I really love the creaminess of smashed pinto beans.  Weird?  Probably. Delicious? Oh.My.God.YES! I heated them through, had a fun time smashing them, and then set them aside.

Then all I had to do was chop the romaine and assemble.  Easy!

It's a taco! It's a salad! It's a taco salad!

Bean Taco Filling

  • 2 tsp. olive oil (you don’t need much)
  • 2 cans of beans (any kind), rinsed (alternatively you could use dried beans.  3 cups total.
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. green bell pepper
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 package low-sodium taco seasoning (or make your own!)
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • lime juice, to your taste
  • salt, to your taste (you probably don’t need any with the canned beans and taco seasoning, though)


  • Heat your pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Once the pan is hot, saute the onion, chile and green pepper until they’re all soft and cooked through.
  • Add garlic and saute about a minute, then add the taco seasoning (or spices, if you make your own) Cook for about a minute until the spices are no longer raw.
  • Add the beans and the water.  Once it starts to boil, smash as many of the beans as you’d like.
  • Cook until water disappears and the mixture thickens.  Squeeze in a little lime juice, and give it a good stir.

I topped my salad with about 1/2 c. bean mixture, some of my Indian salad, a tiny bit of cheese, and a dollop of greek yogurt.

All healthy meals should be this good!


11 thoughts on “Vegetarian Bean Taco Salad

    1. Shari Post author

      Hello Ridwan! It’s very healthy, but the best part is that you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing flavor! It’s all there!

  1. Ann

    That looks delicious and I can’t get over the taco shell bowl! What a GREAT idea using tortillas and baking til crispy. I’m a huge fan of whole wheat tortillas, too – so this is genius!

  2. Pingback: Kitchen Adventures: Dried Beans (+ Taco Salad Recipe) | tinted frames

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