Enter Taco salad. It is not like the taco salad I grew up with (and not just because it doesn't involve meat and cheese), but it is our favourite way to make it. Plus it uses lots of "cupboard" ingredients so I can make it whenever the mood takes me if I buy some tortilla chips.
The whole thing comes together in less than 20 minutes if you have made the vegan cheese sauce earlier, and about 30 minutes if you haven't.
The vegan cheese sauce relies on this magical ingredient. Nutritional yeast. Sometimes called nooch or vegan fairy dust. These yeast flakes have a nutty cheesy taste and are full of vitamins. They make a great cheese as they add that umami flavour that non-vegan cheese has.
If you buy it in the UK it looks like this:
If you can't be arsed to use the recipe below and need cheese sauce, like, right now then buy some of this stuff.
My cheese sauce is an adaptation of the one by Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows. I made a bit extra and we'll have it on pizza and for cheese grits later in the week.
Vegan cheese sauce
1/2 cup raw cashews (soak for a few hours to soften if you don't have a high powered blender)
1/2 to a 3/4 cup vegetable broth or non dairy milk (I used 3/4 cup soya milk)
2 TB lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp dijon mustard
1.5 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
Blend like heck until smooth. then when the rest of the taco topping is heating, heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
(note: I prefer black beans in this, but tinned black beans are a bit thin on the ground here. Hard to find in shops and when you do they cost like £1.20 a tin. Seriously, what??? So i buy a bag of dried black beans for £1.50 and make the equivelant of 4 tins. But in case you haven't been cooking up dry beans, a 30p tin of kidney beans will work just fine. )
1 tin black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar salsa
1/2 to 1 cup frozen or canned sweetcorn
If you want to be all fancy add a chopped onion or diced mushrooms or whatever, but it tastes perfectly fine just the 3 ingredients.
Drizzle of lime juice from a bottle or a fresh one if your budget allows for it.
Heat that in one pan. Heat the cheese sauce in another pan. Then layer it like this:
Put some tortilla chips on your plate. A 200g bag costs about 45p at Lidl.
Add some greens. This is the salad bit of taco salad. You can use lettuce, but I used sauteed kale here. 1) because it is more nutritious. 2) because we had some in the fridge. Just take your taco pan off the heat and put a big pan on the already hot burner and heat the kale for a few minutes with a splash of water until it wilts.
Spoon your taco filling over your tortilla chips and greens.
Drizzle with cheese sauce.
That's it. It is fast and delicious. it can be easily doubled (2 tins of beans, 2 salsas and 2 tins of corn) especially if you add some sauteed onion, extra peppers or mushrooms.