Craving some Mexican food but tired of making burritos and traditional tacos? Try your hand at this Layered Taco Salad using Baked Tortilla Bowls! They’re fun to make, work extremely well when catering for a larger crowd, are customizable, and easy to prepare!
I love salads, but let’s face it…it’s SO much more fun when you have a crispy vessel to eat it in. This post will hopefully convince you that you don’t need to head to your closest Mexican restaurant to enjoy a taco salad in one of those crispy tortilla bowls. In fact, you can easily make them at home with minimal effort…AND they’re just as crispy and much healthier than the deep-fried ones you find at restaurants.
This layered taco salad is a favorite of my family. The key to this recipe is this non-stick tortilla shell maker that my mom found at the store years ago. This isn’t some fancy gadget or machine, but an inexpensive mold that you can use to bake your own crispy tortilla shells. No oil required, not even for coating! Simply mold your tortilla into the shell and let the oven do all the work. Out comes this perfectly shaped crispy taco salad tortilla bowl that easily slips off the shell maker. No cleanup required…just throw another tortilla in and bake some more!
I’ve used both flour tortillas and corn tortillas (for a gluten-free option) and both come out great.
Why do I love this Layered Taco Salad recipe?
Quick Meal. You can bake a bunch of tortilla bowls ahead of time and then store them in an airtight container or sealed bag to have on hand for quick meals. Then all you need to do is quickly prep the layers. You can go fancy and make all the fixings, or keep it super simple by heating up some beans, chopping up some greens and tomatoes, and throwing on your favorite vegan cheese and salsa. Even the super simple version is delicious!
Healthy. I love that the tortilla bowls are baked instead of fried, requiring no oil, while getting that super crispy texture. This taco salad is a complete healthy meal with protein and veggies! It’s one of the few ways I can get my non-salad loving son to enjoy chopped raw spinach. You can even mix in some frozen corn and spinach straight into the beans if you have picky eaters for a healtier version.
Customizable. Do you feel like you make different meals each night to cater to your entire family or allergies? With this vegan taco salad, each person can easily customize their own taco salad bowl. It’s basically a taco salad bar. So grab a baked tortilla bowl, and add in the layers that you prefer! You can get fun and creative or keep it simple.
Perfect for Parties of All Sizes. These layered taco salad bowls are the BEST idea when you’re hosting a dinner party, planning a picnic or potluck, catering for a large group, or even just enjoying for one! For someone who hosts often, it’s perfect because you can prep all the different ingredients, and just put it out buffet-style for everyone to make their own taco salad bowls. People will love it! I’m all for putting in effort ahead of time, but when it comes to the actual party, I love meals like this because you can sit back, relax, and enjoy instead of constantly being in the kitchen.
Fun to Eat! The baked tortilla bowls change things up and are super fun to eat. You can get the kids excited by having them choose their own layers. My kids especially enjoy choosing what and how much goes in their own personal taco salad bowl (with some guidance from mom of course ha!).
Crowd Pleasing. These layered taco salad bowls are fun, delicious, and a guaranteed favorite amongst everyone!
So what are you waiting for? Order your own set of tortilla bowl molds, and add this healthy taco salad into your weeknight rotations or serve it at your next dinner party! The recipe below is for my basic week-night version of what I typically serve for my family, but be sure to check out the additional filling suggestions. And of course, it’s by no means limited to what I’ve listed below, so feel free to get creative with your favorite ingredients! What’s your favorite taco salad bowl look like? Tell me in the comments below!
If you try out the recipe, or use the molds, I’d love to get your feedback below. Or tag me on Instagram @vegetariangastronomy #vegetariangastronomy with your creations, I love to share your re-makes! And if you need some more taco inspiration, check out these four favorites:
These Layered Taco Salad using Baked Tortilla Bowls are fun to make, work extremely well when catering for a larger crowd, are customizable, and easy to prepare!
- 4 medium flour tortillas , or white corn tortilla for gluten-free option
- 3 cups prepared beans , see notes below
- 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper , thinly sliced
- 1 onion , thinly sliced
- 3 cups spinach or lettuce , finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes , finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese , see notes below
- cooking oil
- taco salad non-stick molds
- avocado or guacamole
- salsa , fresh or prepared
- vegan sour cream
- green onions , finely chopped
- fresh cilantro , finely chopped
- jalapenos , jar or fresh finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mold the flour (or corn) tortillas into the non-stick taco salad molds. Be sure the tortilla is at room temperature to avoid breaking while molding.
Bake for about 15 minutes until crispy. Let them cool, and remove from the pan. They should hold shape. Repeat depending on how many molds you have. In the meantime, continue to roast the veggies and prep the rest of the ingredients.
For stove-top - Heat some cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the thinly sliced onions, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers on medium-high heat until they are cooked and start charring. Add some salt to taste. Set aside.
For Oven - Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the onions and bell peppers in some cooking oil, sprinkle with salt,, and spread in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, mixing half way through, until they are fully roasted and slightly charred.
Once all your layers are prepped, start to fill each baked tortilla bowl to preference.
Layer the bottom with warm prepared beans, top with roasted veggies, chopped greens, tomatoes, and vegan shredded cheese. Sprinkle on green onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and/or diced avocado (or guacamole). Top with your favorite salsa and some sour cream and enjoy!
The only way I've made the Baked Tortilla Bowls is with these awesome non-stick taco salad molds. I've seen them at stores like Ross, Home Goods, and Amazon. If you don't have them, you can just as easily enjoy these in taco or toastada form.
For the Beans - You can make two of my favorite bean recipes (10-Minute Mexican Black Beans or Fire-Roasted Tomato Black Beans with Spinach & Corn) or simply open up a can of your favorite beans and throw in frozen spinach or corn for some added veggies.
For the Vegan Cheese - I love and use Follow Your Heart brand American, Pepper Jack, or Provolone Slices and shred them thin using a knife.
Make-Ahead Tip - You can easily make a bunch of Baked Tortilla Bowls ahead of time and store them in an airtight container until ready to use. All the other ingredients can also be prepped ahead of time (i.e. roasted veggies).