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Our healthy southwest salad with tofu and chipotle ranch dressing is super filling and is packed with delicious ingredients like crispy seasoned tofu, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, and more!
Get that tofu crispy!
Crispy tofu is one of m favorite salad toppers. While I usually pop the little tofu nuggets in my air fryer, I know not everyone has one, and that not all air fryers are created equal. While oven crisping takes a little longer than an air fryer, I know most of you have one of those.
The secret, I’ve found, to crispy AF tofu is by adding cornstarch to the tofu before baking. When you use cornstarch and oil together, it increases the absorption of oil into the tofu which makes for an extra crispy nugget without having to add extra oil.
For this southwest salad with tofu, the tofu is seasoned with a package of taco seasoning. I used the Sprouts brand, but feel free to use whatever kind you’d like. To my knowledge, most taco seasoning blends are vegan!
Don’t forget the dressing!
A good southwest salad needs a good dressing. These salads absolutely need some kind of creamy dressing. And if you’re vegan like me, let me tell you, those store-bought dressings are kind of a rip-off. To save you some money, I recommend making your own with raw cashews.
This southwest salad with tofu goes really well with my cashew chipotle ranch dressing. The coolness of the ranch compliments the cilantro and avocado while the chipotle boosts the flavor of the seasoned tofu and contrasts nicely against the acid in the tomatoes.
If you’re not a ranch fan, consider trying out my cilantro lime dressing. It would also go really well on southwest salad!
What ingredients are in southwest salad with tofu?
There are a couple of elements in southwest salad with tofu. First, you’ll need the ingredients to make the crispy tofu – a block of firm or super firm tofu, some extra virgin olive oil, and a package of your favorite taco seasoning.
You’ll also need a dressing of some sort. Again, I recommend making my chipotle ranch dressing or this creamy cilantro dressing. If you’re short on time or don’t have the ingredients on hand, I’d try to get your hands on some Follow Your Heart Southwestern Ranch.
For the rest of the southwest salad, you’ll need a handful of produce items like greens, fresh corn, avocados, green onions, cilantro, and grape tomatoes. Lastly, you’ll need a can of black beans.
How do you make southwest salad with tofu?
Making southwest salad with tofu is pretty easy. The hardest part is crisping the tofu in the oven. The rest is just chopping and arranging ingredients to your liking. To make southwest salad, you’ll need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a medium-sized bowl, a large bowl, a knife, a cutting board, measuring spoons, and a can opener.
To make the crispy tofu, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, drain the tofu and gently press. Cut the tofu into half-inch cubes and add to a medium-sized bowl with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of cornstarch, and half a packet of taco seasoning. Use your hands to mix the tofu until the seasoning and start are evenly distributed.
Next, add the tofu cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the tofu nuggets for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway. The nuggets should be golden brown, so if they need a couple more minutes, let them have it!
After baking the tofu, it’s time to prep the rest of the salad. In a large bowl, add a pound of spring mix, a half-cup of cilantro leaves, a can of drained black beans, kernels from two ears of corn, and a few green onions, tomatoes and a sliced avocado. When the tofu is cool enough to handle, spread the cubes across the salad.
Serve the southwest salad with tofu with chipotle ranch dressing or creamy cilantro lime dressing and top with optional salt and pepper.
Substitution ideas and more
This recipe is a salad after all. Here are some ideas below to adapt the southwest avocado salad to your liking.
Make it spicy: The easiest way to make this into a spicy southwest salad would be to add some serrano or jalapeño slices to the mix.
Add some vegan cheese: Consider adding some vegan cheddar shreds to the salad to add some extra creamy goodness.
Convert it into taco salad: Look, I did my research. Southwest salad with tofu can’t be called taco salad without a crispy taco shell bowl or crunchy tortilla chips. Simply add either one of those to convert southwest salad into taco salad.
Add some pico or salsa: Add some extra flavor to your salad by adding pico or salsa to it!
Sub soyrizo: If you’re not a tofu fan, this southwest salad would be awesome with soyrizo instead. Simply brown both sides in a non-stick skillet and crumble across the salad.
Liked this recipe?
If you loved this southwest salad with tofu, you might like some of my other Mexican American recipes like
- Pumpkin pasta with soyrizo
- Chile de árbol hummus
- Breakfast potatoes with soyrizo
- Chipotle Corn pasta salad
- Green chili lentil sloppy joes
- Southwest avocado salad
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make southwest salad with tofu! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Drop Kick the Punks by The Faint.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Southwest Salad with Tofu
- cutting board
- measuring spoons
- medium-sized bowl
- baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- large bowl
- 1 package super firm tofu
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ packet taco seasoning
- 1 lb spring mix
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes, (sliced in half)
- 4 scallions, (chopped)
- 2 ears corn, (kernels shaved off)
- 1 can black beans, (drained and rinsed)
- 1 avocado, (sliced)
- ½ cup cilantro, (chopped)
- ½ cup chipotle ranch dressing, (or more to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tofu into ½ inch cubes. Add to a bowl and gently toss with olive oil, taco seasoning, and cornstarch.
- Spread tofu out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes (or until golden brown) flipping halfway through.
- Assemble your southwest salad with tofu. In a large bowl add the greens, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, black beans, corn, and cilantro. Top with spiced tofu nuggets and dress with chipotle ranch dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.