Kalyn's Kitchen

Vegetarian Taco Salad

This Vegetarian Taco Salad has lentils, tomatoes olives, and avocado, and this meatless taco salad is loaded with flavor. The Ranch Dressing and grated cheese are optional if you need a dairy-free taco salad.

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Vegetarian Taco Salad finished salad in serving bowl

This Vegetarian Taco Salad is a recipe I came up with after I had “lentil lettuce wrap tacos” on my to-cook list for months and months. I think it was the Thai-Inspired Turkey Larb Salad that gave me the idea to turn the lentil tacos into a lentil taco salad, but Rand, Jake, and I all gobbled this up, even though it came at the end of a day of recipe testing when none of us were overly hungry.

Please don’t skip the step of seasoning the lentils with green chiles, cumin, taco seasoning, and hot sauce, because the taco-flavored lentils is what makes this recipe so flavorful.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • brown lentils
  • cherry tomatoes
  • can of black olives
  • green onions
  • avocado
  • fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Romaine or Iceberg lettuce
  • olive oil
  • red onion
  • diced green chiles (not jalapenos, unless you really like it spicy)
  • ground cumin (affiliate link)
  • Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning
  • Green Tabasco Sauce (affiliate link)
  • vegetable stock or broth

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Avocado found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make Vegetarian Taco Salad:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Cook the lentils in 6 cups water until they are softened but not falling apart; drain well.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and saute chopped onion for a few minutes. Then add green chiles, ground cumin, and Taco Seasoning and cook about 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the lentils, 2 T of Green Tabasco Sauce (affiliate link) or other hot sauce, and stock or water and simmer just until the liquid has evaporated. (Don’t skip this step, which flavors the lentils.)
  4. As soon as the liquid in the lentils has evaporated, turn off the heat and let lentils cool a little while you slice the green onions, olives, and tomatoes.
  5. Also chop the avocado and toss with lime juice.
  6. Coarsely chop enough romaine lettuce to make about 6 cups, then wash in salad spinner (affiliate link). Iceberg lettuce would also be great in this if you’re an iceberg taco salad fan.
  7. When you’re ready to toss the salad, it’s important to use a really big bowl so you can mix it up. Put the lettuce in the bowl and add the partly-cooled lentils over the lettuce.
  8. Then use your best salad tossing equipment to toss the lettuce with the lentils so the taco flavoring ingredients coat the lettuce. (This is what makes additional dressing optional in the salad.)
  9. Then add tomatoes, green onions, and olives and toss again.
  10. Serve salad immediately, with diced avocado (and optional Ranch Dressing and grated cheese if desired) to add at the table.

Vegetarian Taco Salad finished salad in serving bowl, square image

More Vegetarian Dinners:

Seven Layer Tostadas ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegetarian Taco Rice ~ La Fuji Mama
Easy Low-Carb Guacamole Tostadas ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour

This Vegetarian Taco Salad with lentils, tomatoes, olives, and avocado can also be vegan.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • one 6 oz. can black olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 avocados, diced (or more)
  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 6 cups chopped Romaine or Iceberg lettuce

Lentil Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles with juice (not jalapenos, unless you really like it spicy)
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning (see notes)
  • 2 T Green Tabasco Sauce (more or less to taste, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Put lentils, 6 cups water, and a little salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. When the water boils, reduce to a low simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.  Drain lentils well.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the chopped red onion and saute for a few minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
  4. Then add the can of diced green chiles with juice, ground cumin, and Kalyn’s Taco Seasoning and saute about 2 minutes more.
  5. Add the lentils, Green Tabasco Sauce (affiliate link), and stock or water and simmer until the liquid has all evaporated (about 10 minutes.)
  6. Turn off the heat and let the lentils partly cool while you prep the other ingredients.
  7. While the lentils are cooling drain and slice the olives, cut tomatoes in half and slice the green onions.
  8. Dice the avocado into smallish pieces and toss with the lime juice.
  9. Coarsely chop the lettuce and wash/spin dry with salad spinner, or wash in the sink and dry with paper towels.
  10. To assemble the salad, place the lettuce in a very large bowl with plenty of room to toss the ingredients.
  11. Add the partly cooled lentils on top of the lettuce and toss well, so the spicy taco flavoring is coating quite a few of the lettuce pieces.
  12. Add sliced olives, tomatoes, and sliced green onions and toss again.
  13. Serve salad right away, with diced avocados (and Ranch Dressing and/or grated cheese if desired) to add at the table as desired.

Notes

Use your favorite purchased taco seasoning if you prefer. If you don't have Green Tabasco Sauce, use any hot sauce you prefer.

Nutritional information doesn't include optional Ranch Dressing or grated cheese.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 797mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 15gSugar: 14gProtein: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
All the low-glycemic ingredients in Vegetarian Taco Salad are a great choice for any phase of the original South Beach Diet. Lentils are a limited food for Phase One but if you stick with the recommended serving size you can eat this for Phase One. (If you use the optional Ranch Dressing and cheese, South Beach would recommend reduced fat varieties.) This is too high in carbs for traditional low-carb diets.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2013. It was last updated in 2021.

Pinterest image of Vegetarian Taco Salad

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    18 Comments on “Vegetarian Taco Salad”

  1. Chelsea, glad you liked it!

  2. this was so yum! thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Thanks, so glad you like it!

  4. Ooooh, yum! This a perfect lunch salad for warmer weather. Pinning!

  5. Louanne, so glad you enjoyed it, and I love the idea of combining lentils with ground beef.

  6. Oh my goodness, these were so delicious! I ate them as you wrote the recipe, but turned to subterfuge to get my husbnad to eat them. He's anti-bean, so I added 1 cup of the lentil mixture to ground beef – he had no idea! Thank you, Kalyn, for a wonderful recipe!

  7. Deborah, we loved the salad. Hope you get to see the kitchen on Wednesday, but if not it will be online soon.

  8. oooh, can't wait to see the kitchen!! I don't use lentils enough I think I'd really love this!

  9. Barbara, you could even mix the lentils with meat if you don't care about it being vegetarian!

  10. This would be a great way to get my family to eat lentils.

  11. Joann and Sheila, so glad you enjoyed it.

  12. Oh my goodness, this was delicious, even though I substituted chick peas for lentils because I didn't have lentils on hand. This is definitely going into regular rotation this summer!

  13. I came here yesterday looking for something to make for dinner, and saw this recipe — and perfect! I had all of the ingredients on hand, and some of them really needed to be used. Anyway, I made this for dinner — and LOVED it! I had the leftovers for lunch today — equally yummy! Thanks for a fabulous recipe! I need to cook with less meat – and this is a perfect recipe. Even the kids liked it (for the most part. :))

  14. Thanks Becky. We definitely ate it up quickly.

  15. I'm always looking for more ways to use lentils. This sounds fantastic!

  16. Thanks Joanne; we did love it. And I do have vellum to filter the light on the windows, just don't have everything quite organized yet, lol!

    Lydia, this would be great in a taco shell, but I loved the simplicity of just eating it as a taco salad.

  17. Great idea! I never think to flavor lentils with Mexican seasonings. And I suppose, for those who must have their tacos in a tortilla, you could roll the whole thing up, lettuce and all, in a whole wheat or oat bran tortilla.

  18. I love using lentils in tacos in place of meat! This salad sounds so tasty!

    And yay for all that light…I guess having too MUCH light is a good problem? Maybe you can put some kind of light cloth in front of the windows?