Warm Vegan Taco Bowls are like a giant taco salad but minus the lettuce and loaded with even more of your favorite fixings! Versatile, nutritious, and full of so many delicious flavors and textures.
Depending on your choice of vegan meat, this recipe can be gluten-free, soy-free, and/or oil-free (WFPB).
Everyone loves tacos. And everyone loves grain bowls. So you can probably imagine how amazing these taco bowls are! This is the kind of dinner I can eat over and over and over again and be perfectly happy.
Each bite is the very definition of "party in your mouth." It's bursting with sweet corn, creamy avocado, fresh and bright cilantro, hearty black beans and rice, briney olives, and piquant salsa.
And then there's the creamy Vegan Queso Fresco PLUS your choice of meaty ingredient such as seitan, lentils, tofu, or tempeh, all seasoned to taco-y perfection.
Maybe you're thinking this sounds like a lot to prepare, but I'll show you how a little bit of planning ahead and a few shortcuts will help you get these taco bowls on the table in no time!
A couple of notes: the recipe calls for cooked rice. If you're like me, maybe you make a large batch of rice on Sundays so it's available during the week for recipes like this.
If you don't have cooked rice on hand, you can start the rice first, and it will be done just in time to assemble the bowls.
I also garnished the bowls with this creamy Oil-Free Vegan Queso Fresco, which needs to be made in advance. Other options are to use store-bought vegan cheese, make a quick homemade cheese sauce like this Oil-Free Queso or this No-Cook Cheese Sauce, or just skip the cheese altogether. Honestly, with both avocado and olives in the bowl, you won't even miss it!
Here are the components of the dish and the other ingredients you'll need (be sure to scroll down for the complete recipe instructions):
- 1 onion
- 1 jalapeno
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
- arugula or chopped kale, optional
You have options! Choose from any of the following:
- pre-cooked seitan (I used a store-bought seitan chick-un)
- homemade ground "beef" or store-bought meat like Beyond
- cooked lentils
- cooked beans, such as pinto or black beans
The above options will be sautéed and seasoned with basic taco seasonings (included in the recipe below).
- cooked rice
- canned or pre-cooked black beans
- black olives
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- vegan queso fresco - see subs mentioned above
Step By Step - How To Make It
- First, combine the ingredients for the taco seasoning, and set aside. Then chop the onion, jalapeño, and garlic.
- While sautéing the vegetables in the next few steps, chop the fresh ingredients that will be added to the bowls - olives, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado mashed with lime.
- Sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add jalapeño and garlic, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add corn and a pinch of salt, and cook until corn is hot. Transfer to a plate.
- Wipe out the sauté pan, if needed. Cook your choice of protein (seitan, tofu, tempeh, beans) until lightly seared and hot, and season with taco seasoning blend. Remove from heat.
- Warm up the pre-cooked rice and the canned beans, and assemble the bowls. Serve and enjoy!
FAQs and Storage Tips
Absolutely! You can store the cooked components (rice, beans, sautéed veggies, and meat) separately or together in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you're ready to eat, just reheat those ingredients, then add salsa, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and avocado. You can also make the Vegan Queso Fresco up to 5 days in advance.
Choose a gluten-free protein such as tofu, tempeh (make sure it doesn't include grains), lentils, or extra beans. And use tamari instead of soy sauce to season.
Definitely! If needed, use a splash of broth or water during sautéing, and be sure to use an oil-free salsa.
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Warm Vegan Taco Bowls
For the saute:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large jalapeno, seeds removed (unless you want it spicy), diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- vegetable broth or water as needed to soften the vegetables and prevent sticking
- 1 ½ cups frozen corn
- 3 big handfuls arugula or chopped kale, optional - Not included in photos above.
For the meat:
- 4 servings protein of choice such as seitan, crumbled tofu, or cooked beans or lentils; See Notes - For the photos I used store-bought seitan chick'n.
- taco seasoning blend (recipe included below), to taste - Amount needed will depend on the protein used.
- up to 2 tablespoons tamari, amount needed will depend on whether you're using a pre-salted ingredient like seitan or a plain one like tofu or lentils - For soy-free, sub coconut aminos and/or sea salt.
For the bowls:
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups cooked black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained if using canned beans
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- ¾ cup sliced black olives
- 2 large handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves
- sea salt
- ½ batch of Oil-Free Almond Queso Fresco - Or sub other vegan cheese of choice.
Taco Seasoning Blend:
- 1 ½ teaspoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Make the taco seasoning:
- In a small bowl stir together the chile powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, pepper, and cayenne. Set aside.
Saute the vegetables:
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth as needed to help soften the onion and deglaze the pan. Add jalapeño and garlic, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn and a generous pinch of salt, and cook until corn is hot. If including greens, add to the pan and stir. Once greens are wilted, transfer mixture to a plate.
Saute the protein:
- Rinse and wipe out the saute pan if needed, and return it to medium heat. Chop or crumble your protein of choice into bite-size pieces. Pat dry to remove excess moisture.
- Once the pan is fully preheated, add the protein, and cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add a splash of water or broth as needed to prevent sticking. If using a pre-salted ingredient like store-bought seitan, you may not need to add any tamari. For unsalted tofu, tempeh, beans, or lentils, add tamari, to taste. Add about ⅔ of the taco seasoning, and stir to coat. Taste, and add more taco seasoning, if desired.
Assemble the bowls:
- Warm up the pre-cooked rice, and heat the beans.
- Slice the avocados, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Squeeze about a tablespoon of lime juice on top, and sprinkle with salt. Mash with a fork.
- Assemble the bowls, arranging rice, beans, sauteed corn mixture, seasoned taco meat, olives, tomatoes, salsa, cilantro, mashed avocado, and crumbled vegan cheese. Serve with lime wedges.
For Gluten-FreeChoose a gluten-free protein such as tofu, tempeh (make sure it doesn't include grains), lentils, or extra beans. This vegan taco meat is a personal favorite! And be sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce to season.
For Soy-FreeChoose seitan, lentils, or beans, and replace the tamari with coconut aminos and/or sea salt.
Storage and ReheatingIf making for meal prep, store the cooked components (rice, beans, sautéed veggies, and meat) separately or together in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you're ready to eat, just reheat those ingredients, then add salsa, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and avocado. The Vegan Queso Fresco can be made up to 5 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.