Walnut meat taco salad (with from-scratch catalina!)

vegan taco salad walnut meat

When I was growing up, my mom would sometimes make this taco salad of iceberg lettuce with ground beef, cheddar cheese, veggies, and nacho cheese doritos crunched up all over the top.  Then it was all tossed with Kraft Catalina.  It was one of my favorite meals!  Not authentic at all but the sweet dressing + the savory meat, chips and cheese + the crunch of the veggies was heaven.

I had a lot of tomatoes from the garden so I made a pico de gallo, and I had a pot of black beans in the fridge, which inspired me to make this much healthier version of my mom’s classic, complete with homemade catalina.  If youre not a fan of catalina dressing, a simple lime vinaigrette like I used in this post would also be good here.

There are quite a few components to this salad, but it is not hard and doesn’t take too long.  I made it on a day when my husband was home so I didnt have littles hanging all over me while trying to get it all together. 😉  You can also always sub in pre made guac, pico, and dressing for less chopping work!

Vegan Taco Salad (serves about 4)

1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

2c shredded red cabbage

Pico De Gallo:

3 large tomatoes

1/2 medium to large yellow onion

1 lime

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1 jalapeno

Guac:

1 jalapeno

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 green onion

3 avocados

1 lime

Raw Walnut Taco “Meat”

2c walnuts

1T cumin

1t smoked paprika

1.5t chili powder

2T tamari/soy sauce

Catalina Dressing:

1/2c organic ketchup

1/2c coconut sugar

1/2c red wine vinegar

1/2c onion

1t paprika

1/2t (vegan)worcestershire sauce

1c avocado oil

s+p

 

cashew sour cream (optional)

tortilla chips (OMG YOU GUYS I DIDNT HAVE ANY IN THE HOUSE!!!  What is a taco salad without CHIPS!!  I almost sent my husband to the store to get some but I was hungry and the salad was still really good without them.)

 

First make your taco meat.  Whiz the walnuts and spices + tamari in the food processor until it resembles ground beef (smallish crumbly pieces)  Taste a bit and season more to your liking.  Set aside.  Wipe out the food processor.

Then make the pico.  Chop up 1/2 the onion, the tomatoes, 1 jalapeño and 1/2 of your bunch of cilantro.  Mix together and add the juice of 1 lime + salt and pepper.

Now make your catalina.  Blend all ingredients until smooth and season to taste.  I added a squeeze of lemon after tasting it.

Next make your guac.  Scoop out your avocados into the food processor.  Take the other 1/2 of your bunch of cilantro and add that too.  Add in 1 green onion, roughly chopped, the juice of a lime, and a roughly chopped jalapeño.  Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.  Season to taste with s+p.

To assemble:

Place lettuce in bowl, then on top: cabbage, pico, beans, walnut meat, tortilla chips.  Drizzle with some catalina.  Toss to coat and add more dressing if desired.  Top with the guac, cashew sour cream, sliced jalapenos, and green onions.  Serve immediately- it gets soggy relatively fast.

Much love, A.

P.S.-These are the last of my tomatoes!

homegrown tomatoes

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