Taco Salad

Homemade refried beans make this a stand-out salad, but the canned version can be used in a pinch.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Homemade refried beans make this a stand-out salad, but the canned version can be used in a pinch.



Refried beans

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 white onion; 1⁄2 onion intact, other 1⁄2 finely diced, divided
  • 4 sprigs epazote or fresh oregano
  • 4 cilantro stems
  • 8 cloves garlic; 4 smashed, 4 minced, divided
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin

Taco salad

  • 8 cups tortilla chips
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (1⁄2 cup)
  • 1⁄2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • Olive oil, for drizzling Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


To make Refried Beans: Place pinto beans in large saucepan; cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour, to quick-soak. 

Drain beans, return to saucepan, and add intact onion half, epazote or oregano, cilantro stems, and 4 smashed garlic cloves. Cover with 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 to 1 1⁄2  hours, or until beans are very tender and some have split. Remove from heat, season cooking water with salt, if desired, and let stand 5 minutes.

Drain beans, and reserve cooking liquid. Remove onion, herbs, and garlic.

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high. Add diced onion, and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent. Add beans, 1 cup reserved bean-cooking liquid, and cumin, and simmer 1 to 2 minutes, mashing beans with wooden spoon or potato masher. Add 1 more cup cooking liquid, and continue cooking, mashing, and stirring until mixture is thickened. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

To make Taco Salad: Divide tortilla chips among 8 large serving plates. Top each with 1⁄4  cup Refried Beans (reserve extra for another use), then sprinkle with 2 Tbs. cheddar cheese. (Microwave each plate 15 seconds here if you want melted cheese.) Top with 4 avocado slices, 2 Tbs. corn kernels, 2 Tbs. diced red bell pepper, 1 Tbs. green onion, and 1 Tbs. sour cream. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size Per servng
  • Calories 530
  • Carbohydrate Content 60 g
  • Cholesterol Content 15 mg
  • Fat Content 26 g
  • Fiber Content 16 g
  • Protein Content 18 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 6 g
  • Sodium Content 206 mg
  • Sugar Content 5 g

Trending on Vegetarian Times