Black Bean Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

I love salads – if you know me, you know that. But not just any salad. It’s gotta be a big salad. A salad with lots of stuff in it, you know what I mean? This taco salad is just that. It’s super fresh and plant-powered, but packed with flavor and texture.

I use sunflower seeds as the base for my creamy cilantro dressing. When you use a strong enough blender, sunflower seeds turn into a smooth, rich cream and they’re my number one choice for creating plant-based salad dressings.

The beans add a ton of flavor to this salad because they aren’t just any old black beans. I make a simple black bean stew with onion, garlic and spice rack essentials. While they simmer, I prep everything else so it all comes together quickly, easily and efficiently. Or make the beans and dressing on meal prep day for a SUPER quick and last-minute dinner or lunch throughout the week.

Black Bean Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
serves 4


for the stewed black beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt, fine grain
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 14-oz cans black beans

for the dressing*

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked/drained*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 teaspoons honey or agave
3 tablespoons water
1.5 teaspoons sea salt, fine grain
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves (include tender upper stems)

for the salad

2 small or one large head iceberg lettuce, shredded*
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 ripe avocados, sliced or chopped
2 cups coarsely crumbled corn chips*
sea salt, fine grain

To Make

Start with the stewed black beans. These can go on the salad warm or cold. For cold, make them in advance and refrigerate.

In a small sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add diced onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano and chipotle powder.

After a couple minutes, deglaze the pan with 1/3 cup water. Add beans (do not drain or rinse the beans first) and 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. They will thicken more as they cool. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before using on the salad.

While the beans simmer, make the salad dressing. Combine all ingredients except for cilantro in a high speed blender. Blend until super smooth. Add the cilantro and pulse until cilantro is finely chopped and evenly distributed.

To make the salad, start with the lettuce then distribute toppings evenly. I like to have everything in small pieces and toss it all together before eating.

– the dressing recipe makes a lot, better to have too much than too little. Use leftover within two weeks of making.
– to soak sunflower seeds, submerge in water and refrigerate for 8 hours OR cover in nearly boiling water, once water cools, drain and use
– you can use romaine instead of iceberg lettuce, 2 large romaine hearts should be enough
– the corn chips I use are from Trader Joe’s, they are similar to Frito corn chips, tortilla chips work too

2 thoughts on “Black Bean Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

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