This vegan taco bowl is SO delicious, healthy, filling and loaded with amazing textures. It is somewhere in between vegan tacos and buddha bowls, how amazing! It features a Mexican-flavored tofu taco meat with fresh vegetables, black beans and the BEST creamy avocado lime sauce. Perfect easy weeknight meal and 100% plant-based, dairy-free and naturally gluten-free.
If you love healthy bowls, then this vegan taco bowl recipe should be your next one to try! Or on your next taco Tuesday night, create a bowl with your taco ingredients instead for such a fun and great way to serve a taco meal.
Plant-based bowls are our go-to dinners as they are so easy to make without needing much work or planning, plus you can serve them in lots of ways.
And this recipe is such a hit every time we make it: it is built like a buddha bowl featuring the classic chewy grain, veggies and yummy sauces, such as salsa and avocado crema in this case, and you can include all your favorite taco fixing ingredients to make it.
In this case, the vegan taco meat is a simple pan-roasted crumbly tofu that's crispy and filled with yummy Mexican spices, which is now our favorite meat replacement to include in vegetarian taco bowls. I cannot wait to try it in tacos too!
This tofu taco bowl really is filled with amazing classic Mexican flavors and it is quite easy to make, too. Plus, it makes for a nutritious meal that's high in plant-based protein, fiber and vitamins, everything you need in one meal.
It is also made completely dairy-free without cheese, but you won't miss it at all, thanks to the creamy avocado lime crema sauce. You can top it off with any sauce that you like, but the zesty lime avocado sauce featured in this case is super easy to make and makes everything so creamy, you should try it!
What's also great is how versatile this delicious power bowl is: you can fill it up with all your favorite taco filling ingredients, such as seen in the pictures with the fresh tomatoes, black beans, corn, romaine lettuce, rice, red onion, etc. There are tons of other options depending on what you already have in your home, so you can experiment as you wish to make it your own!
I hope you give it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy and simple recipe that everyone can make!
- Great for meal-prep
- Very versatile, you can include your favorite veggies!
- Perfect for lunch or dinner for your whole family
- Family-friendly and amazing to feed a crowd or to serve in a buffet-style
- Filled with healthy food and packed with fiber
- Rich in plant-based protein provided by the spiced tofu and black beans, making this bowl super filling and satisfying
- Loaded with yummy Mexican flavors
- Combines a ton of contrasting textures, such as crunchy romaine lettuce, creamy avocado sauce and earthy beans
- This recipe is 100% vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free
Ingredients you will need
- Tofu: extra firm tofu works better to create a crispy and chewy result.
- Black beans: swap for kidney beans or pinto beans if you prefer. I use canned beans for convenience, but you can cook beans from scratch in larger batches to use throughout the week in different recipes. Black beans add so much fiber and protein to this recipe!
- Rice: I like brown rice for making bowls to boost my meal with more fiber and protein, but you can use other healthy grains as well, such as quinoa (which cooks faster) or barley.
- Corn: use either frozen or fresh sweet corn depending on the season. I would avoid canned corn for best flavor.
- Garlic: used to flavor the tofu, add as much as you want!
- Spices: I used a homemade taco seasoning made by combining chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and dried oregano.
- Tomato paste: helps create a sauce to coat the tofu crumbles. I like using tomato paste in a tube that I keep in the fridge so I can use a smaller amount at a time, such as seen in this recipe.
- Lime: fresh lime juice adds a delicious zesty taste to pair with the spices and brighten up the taco meat.
- Taco filling ingredients: add some fresh veggies that go well in tacos, such as fresh tomatoes, romaine lettuce, red onion, etc.
- Salsa: optional, but adds a nice flavor and a fun texture to the bowl. I used store-bought salsa for convenience, but you can also use homemade salsa.
- Vegan avocado crema: the easy recipe is on my blog. You can swap for other sauces if you prefer (see below).
How to make a vegan taco bowl
To make this bowl, then try to prepare the sauce ahead of time and even, you can cook the grain the day before or during the weekend to make dinner time even easier.
Cook the grain
If using brown rice, then be sure to start by cooking it right away, which can take up to 40-50 minutes depending on the cooking method you are using.
I like to cook brown rice using the Instant Pot, which is quicker, less messy, it cooks perfectly every time and I can pretty much just forget about it until I need it.
You can also cook brown rice on the stove the classic way if you don't have an Instant Pot.
As a side note, quinoa cooks faster and easier than rice, just something to consider if you are short on time.
Also, you can use already-cooked brown rice from the store (check for frozen brown rice or instant pantry-friendly brown rice) for an easy and convenient recipe. These can be life-savers for busy weeknights!
Prepare the avocado crema
The 4-ingredient avocado lime crema recipe is on my blog and should be ready within 5 minutes, although I recommend planning ahead to allow the cashews to soak in hot water before blending the sauce.
Once the sauce is done, set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
Make the tofu taco meat
Drain the package of tofu and then, wrap it in a clean towel or a few layers of paper towels. Press on it gently to help dry it out, but no need for a "real" tofu press, we will add more water to the tofu later!
Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil (or not, can be done oil-free, I like using an oil spray). Then, crumble the tofu using your hands and fingers right over the pan.
Then, add the spices over the tofu (paprika, chili, cumin and oregano), garlic, tomato paste, lime juice and water. Stir to combine and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes stirring often. The tofu will caramelize and might tend to stick to the pan, so scrape the bottom using a wooden spoon often. The tofu is ready when most of its moisture is gone and the crumbles are a little browned and crispy.
Assemble the vegan taco salad bowl
While the tofu is cooking, clean and chop the lettuce, tomatoes and red onion.
Also, you can warm up the black beans and corn using the microwave or another pan until heated to your taste.
When the tofu is done and the rice is cooked, then build up the bowl: add some romaine lettuce at the bottom of your serving bowl, top with rice, tofu taco meat, black beans, corn, tomatoes and red onion. Garnish with some salsa and then drizzle/scoop the vegan avocado lime crema sauce over. Serve with more lime wedges, enjoy!
- If that's easier for you, then you can also use taco seasonings that come pre-made in a sealed packet. You can start with about 2 tablespoons and then add more as needed.
- I like those plastic bottles for drizzling sauce over bowls or pizza. They are not expensive and easy to find online.
- I'll usually use frozen corn unless it's the end of the summer. To prepare it, simply warm up in the microwave until thawed and heated up, which should take about 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook! If you want to use fresh corn, then slice the kernels off the cob, then cook them in a pan with a little oil (I use oil spray) for about 5-8 minutes or until tender.
I like serving the ingredients in a large bowl with tortilla chips to scoop the yummy food and with an extra squeeze of lime juice to add more zesty flavor to my bowl.
Other than serving in a bowl, you can also serve the ingredients in a burrito wrap (check out my black bean burritos) or use the recipe to make regular tacos.
For a fun way to serve this recipe, you can make a tortilla bowl from scratch, they are easy! Simply bake the flour tortillas into the shape of a bowl while making the tofu taco filling and then, serve the ingredients in the crunchy yummy bowl.
Also, an easy way to add more veggies to your diet would be to serve over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or swap the brown rice for cauliflower rice.
Or make a delicious Mexican-style pasta salad by tossing the ingredients (including the avocado sauce) in a bowl and served garnished with salsa.
Variations to the recipe
As mentioned above, these bowls are super flexible and you can tweak the recipe as you wish, especially by swapping the taco fixings for anything that you like. There are no rules!
You can also check out this tofu fajitas recipe for more inspiration!
Here are more favorite taco toppings you can include in your taco bowls:
- Black olives
- Crushed tortillas chips
- Vegan feta cheese
- Refried beans
- Mexican-style pickled red onion
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Cooked red pepper and onion (have a peek at my fajita bowl for inspiration)
- Fresh cilantro
- Vegan cheese
Also, here are more sauces to try serving over this bowl:
- Protein guacamole
- Pineapple pico de gallo
- Warm vegan queso sauce
- Vegan sour cream
- Cucumber pico de gallo
For a spicy bowl, then try adding those:
- Spicy jalapeño peach salsa
- Roasted mango habanero salsa
- Marinated sliced jalapeño or fresh jalapeño
- Harissa dressing
- Chipotle mayo sauce or chopped chipotle peppers
- Favorite hot sauce
Storage and meal prep tips
I recommend gathering the ingredients in your bowl only when ready to eat to ensure maximum freshness.
That being said, you can make the tofu taco filling ahead of time and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To meal-prep a few vegan taco bowls:
- Make ahead the taco meat, rice and avocado lime sauce.
- Keep them apart from each other in airtight containers in the fridge.
- When ready to eat, warm up the tofu filling and rice before building the bowl with the extra fresh veggies. Drizzle the avocado sauce over and scoop some salsa as well. Or use the leftover taco bowl ingredients to make a burrito wrap for a fun way to use the extra.
More healthy bowl recipes
- Mediterranean chickpea quinoa bowl
- Greek marinated tofu bowl
- Chimichurri bowls
- Edamame poke bowls
- Tofu teriyaki buddha bowls
- Tofu buddha bowls
- Falafel buddha bowl
- Quinoa poke bowl
- Mexican buddha bowl
- Vegan vermicelli tofu bowl
I hope you like this vegan taco bowl recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Taco Bowl
For the vegan tofu taco meat
- 454 g extra-firm tofu - drained and patted dry
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ lime - juiced
- ⅓ cup water
- salt to taste
For the taco bowl
- 2-3 cups cooked rice - or enough for 2-3 bowls
- 15 oz black beans
- 1 cup corn - fresh or frozen
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes - chopped
- ¼ red onion - diced
- 1 cup romaine lettuce - finely sliced
- ½ cup salsa - or to taste
- 1 batch vegan avocado crema - find the avocado crema recipe here
- Make the vegan avocado lime crema and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve so it has some time to chill.
- Then, make the tofu taco meat: warm up some oil in a large non-stick pan (I like using oil spray, can be done oil-free), then crumble the tofu using your hand and fingers right over the pan. Then, add the garlic, spices (paprika, chili, oregano and cumin), tomato paste, lime juice and water. Stir well to combine and cook on medium-high heat until the moisture is mostly gone and the tofu is slightly browned and roasted, about 10-15 minutes. Stir often and scrape the bottom of the pan often to remove all the caramelized bits.
- Meanwhile, clean and prepare the other fresh ingredients. You can warm up the black beans in the microwave until heated through. If using frozen corn, simply warm up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and if using fresh corn, then remove the kernel from the cob and cook in a pan (with a little oil if desired) stirring often for a few minutes or until the corn is tender and roasted.
- When ready to serve, place some lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl and then top it with rice, tomatoes, black beans, corn, taco meat and red onion. Add a dollop of salsa and drizzle the vegan avocado lime cream over. Enjoy!
- Storage tips: keep the leftover taco meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Once the taco bowl is assembled, then enjoy right away.
- If you don't want to use an avocado crema sauce, then you can swap for chipotle mayo, protein guacamole, harissa dressing, pico de Gallo, etc.
- This taco bowl is super versatile! You can include your favorite vegetables or taco filling ingredients you like, such as cooked red pepper and onion, black olives, marinated jalapeño, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!