Raw Taco Salad

I’ve eaten this raw taco salad almost every day for the last two weeks.

Raw taco salad close up

And that’s a big deal for me, because normally if eat the same thing more than four days in a row I never want to eat it again. Ever.

But not this delicious concoction.

I could eat it over and over and over and over and over and over again.

In fact, I have.

Raw taco salad bowls

It’s slightly different every time, but it’s always delicious, and very satisfying. Even on cold autumn days.

Which is surprising, because it’s full of “salad-y” ingredients, and HEAPS of greens.

But so long as I stick to the recipe, I never feel like I’m eating a salad. Cool. (Or in fact, warm, not cool.)

Once you’ve made the walnut taco meat and the cashew sour cream, it’s so easy to throw together on the spot.

First, you get yourself a big bowl of greens.

Raw taco salad rocket

I’m really enjoying my raw taco salad with salad rocket (aka roquette or arugula), but Paul really enjoys his with baby spinach, so it’s really a very flexible recipe.

Then you chuck on a generous handful of raw walnut taco meat.

Raw taco salad rocket and meat

Throw on some chopped avocado and tomato.

Raw taco salad tomato avocado

Drizzle your creation with cashew sour cream, and garnish with spring onion, or whatever else you feel inspired to add.

Raw taco salad ready

And voila!

What a masterpiece.

I just grab myself a big forkful of greens, and snag some tasty toppings as I go.

One of the other things love about this recipe, is that you end up with a big pile of chunky, creamy toppings…

Raw taco salad leftovers

…to which you just add more greens!

You could eat them on their own, but I really think they taste better with an extra handful (or two) of greens.

I can’t believe how much rocket I’m eating, and on really cold days too.

And I always feel full and satisfied afterwards, like I’ve eaten the heartiest winter meal.

Awesome stuff.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Raw Taco Salad
Diets: Raw, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free
Makes: 1 serve
Walnut Taco Meat (4 serves)
  • 1 cup (150g) walnuts
  • ½ packed cup (50g) sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 2-8h and drained
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • pinch chili (or more if you like it hot)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
Cashew Sour Cream (12 serves)
  • 1 cup (140g) cashews, soaked 1-2h (soaking optional)
  • scant ¼ cup (55g) lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup (85g) water
  • ⅔ cup (95g) ice
Salad (1 serve)
  • 2 cups rocket (arugula)
  • ¼ cup Walnut Taco Meat (see above)
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 med tomato
  • 1 tbsp Cashew Sour Cream (see above)
  • 1 tbsp spring onion, sliced
  1. Cover the sun-dried tomatoes in water and leave to soak for 2 to 8 hours. Drain.
  2. Process all of the walnut taco meat ingredients in a food processor until well combined, but still chunky.
  3. Blend all of the cashew sour cream ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  4. Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl (one per person), serve and eat.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 478


  • If your sun-dried tomatoes are in oil, you probably won’t need to soak them, as they’ll already be soft enough to process properly.
  • If your sun-dried tomatoes are dry (my favourite way to buy them because of the lower oil content), you really need to soak them a minimum of 2 hours to get them soft enough to break up properly. But you can also soak them for longer and it certainly won’t hurt. For instance, you could start them soaking before you leave for work, and then you’re ready to make your taco meat as soon as you get home. And if you’re concerned about leaving your tomatoes soaking on the bench for that long, you can always soak them in the fridge instead. They will still get just as soft.
  • The combination of walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes really, truly creates a texture like minced (ground) meat.
  • I found 1/4 tsp of salt in the walnut taco meat too much for my tastebuds, so I added less. Start with 1/8 tsp if you don’t like things too salty, and then adjust it to suit your tastebuds.
  • I seriously reduced the chili powder and cayenne from the original recipe because we don’t like things too hot. Feel free to add more, especially chili, until it satisfies your tastebuds.
  • The taco meat should keep in the fridge for about a week (although ours never lasts that long).
  • The ice in the sour cream recipe helps to keep the sour cream cold while you blend it thoroughly. Without the ice, your sour cream may overheat before it is blended sufficiently, especially in a high-speed blender.
  • If you don’t pre-soak your cashews, the sour cream will thicken up quite a bit after a few hours in the fridge, so take this into account when adjusting the amount of water.
  • The cashew sour cream should keep in the fridge for up to a week.
  • This raw taco salad really should work with any greens you want to try. I love rocket, Paul loves spinach, and lettuce works well too. Try your favourite green and let me know how it goes.
  • You could also top your salad with chopped red onion, sliced mushrooms, diced red capsicum, fresh salsa, flax crackers (or corn chips). The possibilities really are endless, but it doesn’t need to be complicated or fiddly.

Take it further

  • Soak the cashews for 2-4 hours before making the sour cream to make them blend more easily, and also to release extra nutrients. You’ll need to add less water to keep the sour cream thick enough, and it won’t thicken up as much after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.
  • You could activate the walnuts before making the taco meat. Soak them for 8-12 hours, and then dehydrate them for 12-24 hours. This helps to release the nutrients in the nuts.

My inspiration

I was looking for raw dishes with added spice, to help get my digestion moving, and I happened across this Layered Raw Taco Salad from Oh She Glows.

And then I discovered this walnut taco meat recipe with added sun-dried tomatoes at The Naked Avocado and once I toned down the spices, I was all set. The soaked sun-dried tomatoes do add something very special to this recipe.

I tried both the raw macadamia sour cream and the raw cashew sour cream recipes, and although both were delicious, I settled on the cashew version in the interests of keeping my fat intake on the lower side.

I did make the quick guacamole once, but it’s SO much faster (and still just as tasty in my opinion) just to chop up a whole avocado. And I just substituted a chopped fresh tomato for the salsa. And this dish would be even more delicious with fresh cherry tomatoes in summer.

Have an awesome day!

~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly


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What others are saying...

  1. Vanessa says

    I made this pretty much how you have presented it. I added some herbs and spices to the cashew sour cream to make it more like a ranch dressing. I was very surprised at how the mock meat tastes like the real thing. I added a little smoked paprika to that which I think makes it taste even MORE realistic. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Vanessa,

      The meat does taste surprisingly realistic, and I love the idea of the smoked paprika for an even more authentic taste. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Hoshi says

    Uh oh! This salad is seriously addicting! I’m on my second day of eating it. My aunt, mom, and I are doing a raw diet but my brothers are regular ol’ meat-eaters so we have to still make them “normal” food. It was taco night last night and I told my mom I had to make this! It was absolutely amazing! I wasn’t even tempted by the real taco meat my brothers were eating because this taste just as good, if not better! The sour cream was a really nice addition along with the guacamole and tomatoes we added. This is a must try! Thank you so much for a great recipe!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Hoshi,

      I’m so glad it was a success, and isn’t wonderful to be able to eat something that tastes even better than the original!

  3. Rhonda says

    Hi! Your salad looks amazingly tantalizing. As a person who eats salads for dinner everyday (I like to eat extremely light in the evenings), I am often excited to try new recipes. I was wondering if I could use my blender to blend the walnut “meat” since I do not have a food processor. Also, will the results be the same or should I go ahead and get a processor? Thanks!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Rhonda,

      It’s certainly worth a try in the blender. I would say that the texture might come out a little smoother, but the flavour should be the same. If you crumble the resulting “meat” by hand onto your salad, it might be close enough to the processor version. You could also try soaking your sun-dried tomatoes a little less, to see if that keep the texture a bit chunkier. Certainly not worth buying a processor just for one recipe!

      • Nikki says

        Hi Sandi,

        Thanks for the feedback – apparently it works best in the processor. I’m so glad we’ve managed to win over your meat-eating husband.

  4. Caroline C says

    I just made this and it is seriously delicious!!! Thank you so much for the recipe! One tip I have is that I used sun dried tomatoes from a jar that were in olive oil and I think I would have been better off with dried tomatoes soaked in water (as stated in the recipe) so keep that in mind when making this (which I highly recommend that you do)!!!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for the feedback. I haven’t tried it with sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, so it’s great to hear about how it went for you. It sounds like it didn’t detract from the experience too much, thankfully.

  5. Cathy says

    Made this for dinner tonight! Super, Super Yummy and Easy!! I soaked the walnuts and sun dried tomatoes while I was at work and whipped it up in minutes. I added the smoked paprika, some onion powder, and oregano. I also made a tofu based “sour cream,” easy to make, too. This “taco meat” can be used so many ways: salad, tacos, quesadillas, burritos….Thank You so much for sharing this fantastic recipe!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Cathy,

      You’re welcome! Sounds like a delicious dinner all ’round. I’ve used the taco meat in lots of different ways too. So yum!

  6. Christina says

    Wow, wow, wow!

    I made this for lunch today and added fresh pico de gallo (tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime, green pepper, garlic) instead of just tomato and it was one of the best raw meals I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for this new staple to my diet.

    Note: For anybody else out there like me with a cashew allergy, I substituted the same amount of macadamia nuts and it worked just fine.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Christina,

      The pico de gallo sounds amazing. I think the recipe that inspired me used salsa, but I was looking for quick and easy, so I just used tomato. Thanks for the macadamia substitution tip. So glad you’re loving it!

  7. Hazel says

    I can’t get enough of this! I love taco salad type recipes, but this is by far the best I have tried. Absolutely love it! I added a smokey chipotle seasoning mix this last time and it rocked. Super delish! Thaaaaaaaaaaank you for this awesome recipe!!

    • Nikki says

      Baby steps are definitely the way to go, and that’s exactly how I’ve done it too – one day at a time and one recipe at a time – and it’s taken me three years to get from a “healthy” mostly vegetarian diet to what I eat today. So give yourself as much as time as you need, cut yourself lots of slack and everything little thing you can do will add up.

  8. says

    holy guacamole! it’s soooooo good! i made these on the fly – used sunflower seeds instead of cashew for the sour cream, put them in romaine leaves instead of making a salad – but whatever whatever because my eyes are rolling in my head right now :) you are so very right: the sun-dried tomatoes give it a kick that is so satisfying. (but i also spiced them up – lots of cayenne and chili cuz i love spicy) thank you so much! all hail the google search that reveals your great site . . .

  9. Alita says

    WOW…. this salad so delicious that I been making it to take to the parties, Everyone just loved it from the moment they see the presentation on the plate until the last spoonful. Tried serving the salad on cos lettuce leaves for a cocktail party and that was a hit. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  10. Fred says

    The only thing wrong with food processors is the plastic bowl. After using a while you’ll notice the crazing of the plastic which, to me, means some of the plastic goes in the food! Ugh. Some processors from Europe have glass bowls but I haven’t been able to procure one. Meanwhile I stick with my (glass jar) blender. Just pulse at low speed and enjoy this DELICIOUS recipe. Fred

    • Nikki says

      Hi Fred,

      That’s a good point, although I think it might also depend a bit on the quality of the processor. I’ve been using my Magimix processor a few times a week, to make all kinds of raw food dishes since I got it almost three years ago, and the bowl doesn’t look damaged at all. And neither is the plastic on my Vitamix jug which I’ve been using a couple of times a day for the last 2.5 years.

      But I do like the idea of the glass bowl. It would be very sturdy and easy to clean I imagine. Hopefully you’ll get your hands on one soon.

  11. Elisa says

    I added a little paprika and some lime juice to the walnut mixture – it came out really great – the lime added alot to the flavor
    I put the “walnut meat” on a romaine leaf with chopped tomatoes avocado cilantro and jalapeños for my raw tacos fun but messy way to eat it :)

  12. Raynece says

    Love this much!! Thank you!! Love using the faux meat for raw tacos And my steak and potatoe eating husband actually request this for dinner!! Thanks again

    • Nikki says

      Hi Raynece,

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Isn’t it fantastic when food tastes SO good that it’s irrelevant what’s in it? And the fact that it just happens to be good for you as well is a bonus :)

  13. Linda says

    Delicious!! We enjoyed the leftover Walnut Taco Meat with a lovely ripe mango the next day, scrumptious. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Linda,

      You’re most welcome. I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying it. Mango is one of my favourite fruits so I LOVE the idea of combining it with some taco meat. Delicious indeed!

  14. Paula says

    This looks and sounds amazing. I have an allergy to tomatoes and am wondering if you think it would taste ok without the sun-dried tomatoes? I read the comments…but thought I would ask anyway. It’s a new allergy, so I am having a time of adjusting, since I used to LOVE tomatoes. Thoughts on leaving it out?

    • Nikki says

      Hi Paula,

      I’m not really sure, to be honest. They add to both the flavour and the consistency. Could you find another sundried veggie to use that might at least help with the texture maybe, like eggplant or squash? (I’m guessing wildy here!) As for the flavour, you could probably add extra spice or maybe even a bit of a salty sauce (soy sauce or similar) to give it some extra oomph. I think you’d just have to give it a go and see if you can make work. I don’t think I was much help, sorry :)

  15. says

    There is one word for this recipe – YUM! Or maybe that should be delicious. Or divine. Or scrumptious. You get the picture!

    So simple and easy to make, yet so incredibly tasty. I’ll certainly be adding this to my meal plan on a very regular basis! Thank you :)

  16. Melanie says

    Is there a reason that you didn’t include apple cider vinegar in the cashew sour cream recipe? Every other version that I have seen includes it.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Melanie,

      No particular reason, no. I was using Angela Liddon’s Layered Raw Taco Salad as inspiration, and she uses lemon juice in her cashew sour cream.

      I haven’t tried my raw sour cream recipe with apple cider vinegar, but I imagine it would add a similar tang, with a slightly different depth of flavour. It might just be a case of trying both and deciding which you like best. I like the slight sweetness of lemon juice, and it can be a bit more forgiving if you overdo it than apple cider vinegar. Hope this helps.

  17. Rhonda says

    Hi Nikki!

    I apologize for the late and long review. I want to thank you and Sandi for your input regarding the food processor. I did purchase one and cannot imagine how I lived without it. I have gradually changed by diet from vegetarian, to vegan to 100% raw. As an American black woman, growing up with parents from the South, dinner could have been anything. My mother however, was definitely a jet setter–changing our diets when we were young to mostly vegetarian–until my dad just had to have his chicken. However, as an adult, the conversion has been easy. Not to mention, that your blog as well as others, has given me more than enough information to keep my recipes fun, modifiable, delicious and interesting. So thank you. Regarding the raw taco salad, it is absolutely delicious and part of the reason why converting to a raw diet was easy. My boyfriend, who is Korean American and once heavily tied to his traditional foods, has even started eating more raw foods. He too, loves this taco salad and I make it often for him to take to work. And my jet setting mom visits your site often for recipes to make for her and my dad. Thanks Nikki!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Rhonda,

      Thank you for wonderfully long review. I love hearing all about your success stories and I’m thrilled to be an ongoing part of it!

  18. Yana says

    Oh my god, it was delicious!!! An easy and highly recommendable recipe. A huge bowl of this salad disappeared in no time between us 3 today at lunch. Thanks a lot, Nikki!

  19. Fiona Robinson says

    OMG….This is the most amazing dish I”VE EVER MADE! Really. Thank you for sharing. I put the “meat” in a seaweed wrap with salsa and avacado and LOVED it!

  20. Annie says

    This was awesome! I used almonds (what I had on hand), added some marinaded veggies and topped with cilantro. I’ll be eating this salad often!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Annie,

      I love your improvisation with almonds – that’s a great idea – and I’m so pleased it turned out well. Sounds delicious!

  21. Anne Dolan says

    I think beans, black, garbanzo, cannellini, pinto, red beans…black eyed peas… that would be a great addition.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Anne,

      Yes, beans would be be a great way to add more nutrient-dense food to this recipe. Beans do generally need to be cooked to be digestible, so you might leave them out if you wanted to keep the salad completely raw.

  22. says

    New to raw, been raw for a little more than a week. Made this dish today and all I can say is WOW!!!! I am amazed at how much the walnut taco meat tastes and looks like ground beef taco meat! I left out the chili, and only added a small bit of the cayenne, and added a splash of ACV to the cashew sour cream because it wasn’t sour enough for my liking as is in the recipe, and I was blown away!!!! This will definitely be one of my main dishes on my raw menu!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Beth,

      I am SO pleased that you loved it. And I love that it’s such a flexible recipe too – you can easily adapt it to suit your tastes – but no matter how you make it, it rocks! Welcome to the world of raw ♥

  23. michelle says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s delicious! I used a pepper sauce that I had already made for the seasoning, just adding it to the sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts. So good!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m so glad you love it! And the pepper sauce trick sounds very handy and delicious.

  24. Kristel says

    Just wanted to let you know this is my family’s absolute favourite salad recipe! It has been my go to recipe for over a year! It’s very kid and potluck friendly too! :)

    • Nikki says

      Hi Kristel,

      Thanks so much for letting me know. I love that it’s become such a staple in your house, and that your kids (and potluck friends) get to enjoy it too. It warms my heart 😀

  25. Alana says

    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe. I made this for my family last night night – and after they cleaned their bowls told them about the magic of using nuts as a meat / dairy substitute. I love using cashews as a cream base in my raw cooking but the walnut taco meat was a great idea and so yummy. Will use walnut base again!!

  26. Liezele says

    Glad I clicked on your link when I Googled Walnut Taco Meat. I never heard of making sour cream out of nuts and this sounds so wonderful! I will have to go pick some up when I get to the store again. I was prepping meals for the week and I just LOVE Mexican food. I thought I had walnuts because I knew I was going to make this recipe one day and I was completely wrong! Instead, I had pecans. Love pecans which is probably why I bought it my mistake instead of walnuts LOL. BUT It turned out so wonderful anyways! I took the suggestion of one of the commenters and added paprika and lime to mine to make it a little more authentic. I sure wished that everyone else in my household would eat clean with me HOWEVER, I do not mind NOT sharing this LOL
    Anyways, thanks for sharing your recipe. Especially now that I can make my own sour cream with nuts instead of dairy!
    I will check out your other recipes as I am trying to go as raw as much as possible. I seldom eat meat these days and recipes like this will be great!!

    • Liezele says

      You must be on the other side of the world or something. It shows I posted on July 20th at 6:28am LOL It is only the 19th and 3:30in the afternoon! :)))

      • Nikki says

        Hi Liezele,

        I’m so glad the recipe worked out well for you. Pecans are a great substitute for walnuts, and the cashew sour cream is definitely an awesome dairy-free option.

        I am in fact on the other side of the world, in Melbourne Australia, and right now it is just after 6:30AM on July 20th. Wouldn’t it be nice if my site could show you the times in your local time instead of mine?

        Have a great day :)

  27. mike says

    I didnt have all the ingredients so I got creative, and I’m not raw, so I threw a bunch of things together and it tasted great, I also made it lower in fat. What I did was like 1/2 cup of brazil nuts because i had those, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with salt and spice, i used like 4-8 carrots i cut up and put that in too for more nutrients and less fat. I added a like 4 tbsp of white rice cooked and 2 tbsp of black beans cooked and seasoned, about hald a tbsp of hummus, some chia seeds, all making it a complete protein, about 3/4 to 1 whole red bell pepper, of course salt and cayenne pepper, tomato paste, cumin and garlic, I think that’s it. mixed it with rice and greens and stuff like that…also I made raw-ish brownies for dessert, 15 medjool dates, tbsp of cocoa, tbsp of carob, 4 tbsp of coconut flour, blended in food processor with strawberry jelly and godiva chocolate sauce…

    • Nikki says

      Hi Mike,

      Sounds like you had a great time in the kitchen getting very creative.

      Raw hemp seeds are also a complete protein, as well as having the perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 fats, so they’d be a great addition too.

  28. Debee says

    A friend served the “Walnut Taco meat” this weekend, but had processed it long enough to create a spread, served on Kalamata Olive bread with fresh Mozzarella cheese and fresh Basil. Excellent sandwich. She used the Sun dried tomatoes in oil. Am going to try it as a pasta sauce

    • Nikki says

      Hi Debee,

      That sounds delicious. I’m so excited to see how creative you’re getting with my recipes. Enjoy!

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