This Vegan Mexican Salad bowl is perfect for an easy lunch, great as a Mexican side dish served with some amazing Vegetable Fajitas or Tofu Quesadillas and can even be made for BBQs and potlucks. Plus, it’s super filling, gluten free and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. You don’t even need to do any cooking, it’s great for preparing in advance and it’s versatile too!
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Easy and delicious – vegan Mexican salad is so easy to make, you just have to chop everything up into bite size pieces, mix up the dressing and then pour it over the salad and toss it together. Plus, it goes without saying that it’s delicious! With a crunchy combination of peppers, red onion and romaine lettuce, paired with creamy avocado and a zesty and (optionally) spicy lime dressing, it is just so tasty. It’s a dream flavour pairing combination! And it's great as part of a vegan party food spread.
- Lime dressing – we decided to go with a zesty lime dressing to complement the sweetness of the sweetcorn and creamy avocado. Although, I found an interesting tip on Reddit when I was researching. It’s common to mix a shop-bought salsa and sour cream (find a vegan one) to make an easy and creamy dressing to go with a salad like this one. Who knew?!
- Mexican spices - we’ve kept it simple in our Mexican salad with avocado. A bit of smoked paprika, cumin and chilli powder creates an amazing flavour that goes oh so well with this vegan Mexican salad! They also pair well in jackfruit chilli (just sayin’).
- Evenly chopped - you can use a vegetable chopper or a Nicer Dicer to chop all of the salad ingredients evenly. That way you just need one spoon to eat it and it’s easy to transport to work or to a picnic!
- Versatile – we’ll get to substitutions a bit later down the page, however, this vegan Mexican salad is so versatile. For example, red onions can be omitted or swapped out for spring onions (or scallions), sweetcorn can be frozen or used straight from the can and any colour of bell pepper can be used too. Also, you can tailor the dressing to your preference – add chilli powder for a little heat or omit to keep it mild.
- So filling – we’ve all been there, and we’ve heard from the salad haters ‘they’re not filling’ or ‘it’s just rabbit food!’ – well, it’s actually none of those things. This Mexican salad features black beans for protein, is full of flavour and substance and can be served with tortilla chips for an extra crunch! If you want to try more salads, this Balinese Urab is divine (AKA warm and fragrant vegetable salad) and so is this peanut-rich Gado Gado.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Sweetcorn – there’s no need to grill it! We recommend using either canned or frozen sweetcorn in this salad. If you’re using frozen, put the corn into a bowl and fill it with boiling hot water out of the kettle. Leave it to soak for 5-10 minutes and then drain the bowl. You’ll have perfectly defrosted, yet still cold sweetcorn.
- Avocado – this is where the creamy element of our vegan Mexican salad comes from. If you’re making this salad ahead of time, we recommend holding the avocado back from the salad and then adding it just before serving, then pouring over the dressing. The avocado will start to go brown otherwise, which isn’t very appealing.
- Red onion – onions can be strong in salads, I hear ya. If the flavour is too strong for you, omit or switch for spring onions (scallions). While spring onions are still a strong flavour, they’re not as strong as red onions.
- Black beans – use them straight out of the can and they don’t need to be cooked first – so don’t worry! Black beans are a great source of plant protein and add a fabulous earthy flavour to the vegan Mexican salad bowl.
- Lime juice – a classic Mexican ingredient. We use a generous amount of fresh lime juice in the lime dressing. It pairs well with smoked paprika and garlic, and helps to keep the avocado fresher for longer.
- Fresh coriander – another classic Mexican ingredient! To round out this salad, it had to be a good helping of fresh coriander, to bring that fresh and herby flavour. If you think fresh coriander tastes like soap? Leave it out or alternatively, let guests or friends add it to their own plates if they like it.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this vegan Mexican salad.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for this recipe. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
1. Chop all salad ingredients evenly and put into one large bowl.
2. In a jar or separate bowl, mix together all of the lime dressing ingredients, until well combined.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad items in the large bowl.
4. Mix everything together with salad utensils or just a large spoon and then season with salt and pepper. Optionally top with nacho chips (like Fritos or Doritos plain salted versions), extra jalapeños and serve with salsa.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Meal prep – this Mexican salad bowl makes 8 servings, so it is fab for meal prepping. If you’re eating it throughout the week, we recommend adding the avocado each day. Alternatively, if it will be finished within 3 days, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. The lime juice in the dressing will slow down the oxidation of the avocado, however, it will still go a little brown. This doesn’t affect the flavour though.
- Storage – it will last for 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. As mentioned above, the lime juice will keep the avocado fresher for longer. Alternatively, add the avocado each day, instead of with everything else.
- Sharing – this salad really is perfect for the summer. Serve it anytime that sharing is an option! As part of a BBQ, a potluck (or ‘bring and share’), at a picnic or a party buffet.
- Substitutions – just like our cheat’s Papaya Salad, vegan Mexican salad is a versatile one. Here are some substitutions you can make – any colour bell pepper works (although green is a little bit bitter when raw), red onion can be switched for spring onions and cherry tomatoes can be substituted for salad tomatoes (chopped into small cubes). In addition, black beans can be switched for red kidney beans or ranch style beans (which come in a mild chilli sauce), maple syrup can be switched for agave syrup and Romaine lettuce can be switched for iceberg or baby gem.
Yes. Although there has been a lot of discussion around the millennial favourite, it definitely still is vegan. That’s because many, many crops rely on bees to pollinate crops so we can grow them to eat. Whether they’re migratory or not – it’s the way plants are grown and there’s only so much the average shopper can do to remain vegan, without moving off grid and being completely self sufficient! Vegan Food and Living explains it better than I can anyway.
We’re huge advocates of everything in moderation – even chocolate! This recipe includes a whole rainbow full of fresh vegetables, we would consider it to be healthy. But remember, we’re not nutritionists, we just know a lot about making (and eating!) delicious food.
It’s so simple to make vegan Mexican salad dressing. You’ll need just a handful of ingredients – a couple of spices, olive oil, lime juice (for citrus flavour) and garlic to create the base. No cooking required!
Similar to a taco salad or chopped salad, a Mexican salad combines Mexican flavours with raw veggies and salad ingredients that you would usually find in Mexican food. It’s great for the summer! In addition, a taco salad would usually be served inside a bowl made from a tortilla.
🍛 What to serve with it:
- Nacho Chips (Original by Fritos or Doritos)
- Pico De Gallo by Two Peas and Their Pod
- Vegan Sour Cream by Vegan Huggs
🇲🇽 More Mexican inspired recipes to try
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Vegan Mexican Salad
- 2 Romaine lettuce – chopped roughly
- 1 red onion – chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 red peppers – chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 cups sweetcorn
- 200 g cherry tomatoes – each sliced in half
- 2 avocados – chopped into bite size pieces
- 240 g black beans – 1 x 400g tin, drained
- 0.5 cup fresh coriander
- Salt and pepper – to taste
For the dressing:
- 0.25 cup lime juice – roughly, the juice of 3 limes
- 1 clove garlic – minced
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp mild chilli powder – optional
- Chop all salad ingredients evenly and put into one large bowl.2 Romaine lettuce, 1 red onion, 2 red peppers, 2 cups sweetcorn, 200 g cherry tomatoes, 2 avocados, 240 g black beans, 0.5 cup fresh coriander
- In a jar or separate bowl, mix together all of the lime dressing ingredients, until well combined.0.25 cup lime juice, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 3 tbsp olive oil, 0.5 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp mild chilli powder
- Pour the dressing over the salad items in the large bowl.
- Mix everything together with salad utensils or just a large spoon and then season with salt and pepper.Salt and pepper
- Optionally top with nacho chips (like Fritos or Dorritos plain salted versions), extra jalapenos and serve with salsa.
- Substitutions you can make – any colour bell pepper works (although green is a little bit bitter when raw), red onion can be switched for spring onions, cherry tomatoes can be substituted for salad tomatoes (chopped into small cubes) and black beans can be switched for red kidney beans or ranch style beans (which come in a mild chilli sauce). You can also use fresh, frozen or canned sweetcorn.
- The salad will last for 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. The lime juice in the dressing will keep the avocado fresher for longer. Alternatively if you’re meal prepping this salad, you can add the avocado each day, instead of with everything else.
- Add jalapeños to the salad or chilli powder to the dressing to increase the spiciness!
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