This big beautiful taco salad makes a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner. Loaded with fresh vegetables, beans, and tempeh, it’s got plenty of nutrients and protein.

Beautiful vegetarian tempeh taco salad with avocado and flax chips.

August 1st marks the first day of Fiesta in Santa Barbara. Fiesta is a week filled with flamenco dancers, carnivals, parades, and food celebrating our town’s Spanish heritage. It’s such a fun time of celebration and a big part of that is delicious Mexican food. We got into the Mexican fiesta spirit and made the most delicious vegetarian taco salad. I love a big salad for dinner and this taco salad is packed with great ingredients. My mom used to make a beef taco salad that I really enjoyed as a kid. She cooked ground beef or turkey and added kidney beans, and used the mixture on top of salad greens. As an adult, I no longer eat animals, so I came up with this vegetarian version of the taco salad I remembered. I don’t miss the meat at all, and this vegetarian taco salad has plenty of flavor, meaty texture, and plant based protein.

Girls cracking confetti eggs during Fiesta in Santa Barbara

Today B played hooky from preschool and we hit the carnival for some much anticipated confetti eggs and the girls’ first churro. The eggs were promptly smashed on sissy’s head. I’m sure I’ll be finding confetti in the bottom of my purse for weeks. Months maybe.

A beautiful bowl of vegetarian taco salad with chips, beans, lettuce, corn, tempeh, and avocado.
Since we were in the Spanish spirit, I decided a festive healthy dinner was in order. Oh, and it had to be quick and easy, because Fiesta is kind of exhausting. Vegetarian taco salad was the answer. I sauteed some onions until sweet and tender with cubed tempeh, and sweet corn. Then I stirred in just a little taco seasoning and a can of kidney beans. I used this “taco” mixture to top romaine lettuce, and garnished it with avocado, tomato, white cheddar cheese, and cilantro. Delicious! The girls liked scooping the mixture up with their chips. If you’d like to learn more about tempeh, check out my Easy Baked BBQ Tempeh and Tempeh Tacos recipes!

Viva la fiesta!


Yield: Serves 6

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

A big, beautiful, colorful taco salad that's perfect for a light vegetarian meal.

Vegetarian taco salad with tempeh, beans, avocado, and lettuce with chips.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut off
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cubed (found next to the refrigerated soy products)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (this is the amount of heat my family can handle, add more to your taste)
  • 8 oz. romaine lettuce salad
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, sliced for garnish (optional)
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • favorite salad dressing


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add corn kernels and tempeh, and saute another 2 minutes, or until corn is tender. Add beans, taco seasoning and 1 tablespoon water and saute another minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly or until room temperature.


Vegan option: Omit the cheese.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 418mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 9gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g