Raw, Vegan Taco Salad
April 8, 2014

raw vegan taco salad 1

It is no great secret that Pure Food and Wine is one of my favorite vegan restaurants–possibly the favorite, when push comes to shove. I have a dinner at Pure to thank for piquing my interest in raw food, and the restaurant has continued to inspire me since with its ultra-creative, ultra-aesthetic, and utra-delicious food.

The menu at Pure is seasonal, so new dishes pop up, recur, and sometimes debut or go out of style. The restaurant’s more casual sister eatery, One Lucky Duck, has a more static menu, suitable for either casual dining or for takeaway. No matter how much I enjoy trying new items on the Pure Food and Wine menu, I’ll admit that some of the takeaway dishes–like the S&M Salad, the Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps, the tortilla wraps, or the original sushi rolls–are actually my favorites. I’m also a huge fan of the restaurant’s raw taco salad, which I ordered recently in New York, only to think, “why have I never tried my own version of this?”

Well, now I have. And it is so, so good.

The restaurant’s original salad features “romaine lettuce, spicy taco crumble, pico de gallo, guacamole, cashew sour cream, and cilantro-lime dressing.” Here’s a picture, courtesy of Eat Hopefull:

Photo16

I can’t say that my version is quite so perfect; no matter how hard I try, I quite get my own salads to match Pure’s exquisite creations. But it is delicious, and filling, and full of texture and flavor. And each of the components (the guac, the cashew cream, and the raw “taco meat,” which I’m now obsessed with), is worth having in your fridge in its own right.

raw vegan taco salad ingredients

Speaking of components, this is like a lot of raw food recipes in that it demands some prep and some assembly: you’ll need to make the guac, the taco meat, the cashew cream. But once all that is done (and you can prep these things in advance), you need only pile things together for a perfect lunch.

raw vegan taco salad close up 2

Raw, Vegan Taco Salad (gluten free)

Author -
Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • For the raw walnut "taco meat":
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 12 sundried tomato halves about 3/4 cup, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water and drained
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 T. tamari
  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • A few tablespoons water as needed
  • For the cashew cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews soaked for at least two hours and drained
  • Juice of 1 large lemon 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 clove garlic minced (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup water
  • For the guacamole:
  • 2 Haas avocados pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red or yellow onion omit if you're not an onion fan
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw corn kernels
  • For the salad:
  • 8 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups cherry tomato halves
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges for serving

Instructions

  • 1. To make the "taco meat," place all ingredients into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse till ingredients are very well combined and have a crumbly texture. Add a little water as needed to get it right. Set aside.
  • 2. To make the cashew cream, place the ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. Process or blend till the cream is smooth and thick. Add more water as needed if you prefer a thinner texture.
  • 3. To make the guac, mash the avocado, onion, lime juice, salt, and pepper till they're well combined, but have some texture. Fold in the cilantro and corn.
  • 4. To assemble the salads, place 2 cups of romaine, half a cup of tomatoes, and a quarter cup of cilantro in each of four salad bowls. Add about a quarter or a third cup of the cashew cream, guac, and taco meat to each. Add a lime wedge or two to each bowl, for serving.

The Pure salad is served with a delicious cilantro lime vinaigrette, but I have to say that there are so many rich, healthy fats in this salad already–cashews, walnut meat, guac–that I really didn’t miss having a dressing. Just mash all of the toppings up, and go to town.

raw vegan taco salad close up

This salad is beyond flavorful, and like so many raw recipes, it’s also a joy to look at. I hope you enjoy it (or any part of it–as I mentioned, the components are really great on their own).

raw vegan taco salad long

Two little announcements. First: my friend Melanie, who is an herbalist based here in the DC area, is offering a womens’ health intensive that is open for enrollment until Friday. The course helps women with PCOS, infertility, irregular/absent/painful periods, and other reproductive health challenges to learn how to use healing foods, lifestyle practices (including creative expression) and herbs to support their bodies in returning to balance. the program plays well with other modalities they may be using, including allopathic medicine and all forms of CAM. I know Melanie personal and professionally, and I am 100% confident in her expertise and talent as a healer. If this sounds like something that might benefit you, check it out!

Second: my blog is undergoing some seasonal maintenance and tech work soon, which means it’ll be dark between tomorrow night and Thursday. If you visit and things are quiet, fear not. I’ll be back soon!

Happy Tuesday,

xo

Categories: Main Dishes, Salads

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    26 Comments
  1. Gena I can’t wait to make this! Can I use a vitamix to make this? I just received one and don’t have a large food processor. Thanks!

  2. […] Yummmm. I used spinach and some baby sunflower & radish greens because I’m not a big lettuce person. I added more corn since I just use thawed frozen corn and those bags are big! You really can’t go wrong with guac & cashew sour cream. The nut meat is yummy too!!

  3. Hmmm I don’t know about you – but I really can’t get enough “taco” like foods or burrito bowls etc. This sounds super awesome!! I can’t wait to try it!

  4. I love this salad too! I was really sick and not able to eat well for a while a few years ago and this was the first thing I ate when I was feeling better 🙂

  5. I tried making my own vegan walnut taco meat and it was pretty good with just walnuts, oil, and spices, but I really love your addition of sun-dried tomatoes and apple cider vinegar, along with spices. I can’t wait to try it! Now that the weather is warming up, I’m definitely craving salads again! Thanks Gena!

  6. I have no doubt this is absolutely scrumptious! Yum…I would gobble it up in no time. My only fear is that with the nuts…walnuts, cashews…and avacado…it would be soooo high fat. Am I wrong? Does the soaking of nuts lower the fat content??? Love your site.

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  8. So much better for you the the real Mexican food. Does anyone ever wake up the next day feeling great? Between eating too much chips and the fried this and that, I would say no. This is a much better alternative for healthy living!

  9. OMG so great! I love that salad and go back and forth between that, the falafel and the thai lettuce wraps for favorite lunches, but also have never tried to recreate them. They’re so perfect I thought I couldn’t! This looks amazing and I’m excited to make my own taco crumbles! Though I may have to try my own version of the dressing. I really like that limey flavor.

  10. For some reason, raw Mexican food always seems more appealing to me than raw, Asian-inspired dishes, and this taco salad is no exception. I love recipes where there are multiple parts to assemble but that can all be made quite simply and combine together to form one beautiful and filling dish. Thanks for sharing, Gena!

  11. Yum yum yum! I made Russell James’s raw taco salad ages ago and loved it but I don’t think I’ve made one since. Need to change that. I’m away from home right now (for a month!) and so away from my kitchen and appliances 🙁

  12. I actually have all of these ingredients!

    I think the thing about raw food that often turns me off is how labor intensive it can be. This looks rather straightforward & that lime vinaigrette sounds awesome, but I’m like you, if there’s guac & tomatoes involved, I don’t need much else.

  13. um yes please! pinned! i just had a raw meal last night at eden. it was pretty amazing: Kelp noodles, carrot, basil, mint, cucumber and daikon radish in a lime, ginger and goji berry sauce. With a spicy dehydrated peanuts and mango dust. YES it tasted as good as it sounds 🙂

  14. This looks so good! I love the recipe for the taco meat – can’t wait to try that! For dressing, I love using fresh homemade salsa! It’s perfect!

  15. The taco meat looks delicious. When I visit New York again I will have to stop by Pure Food and Wine. Their food looks innovative and very tasty!

  16. I’m not a vegan myself, but I have to say a lot of the vegan blogs I come by showcase some really delicious looking recipes and pics 🙂