Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

4 Modern Spins on Taco Salads That classic Tex-Mex dish is ready for its Instagram moment

The taco salad is primed for creative menu play. This inverted version, the Volcano Taco Salad, topped with chipotle nacho cheese, showcases the playful side of taco salads.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mission Foodservice

The taco salad is a beautiful thing. Chefs across the country seem to be jumping on its built-in craveability and retro sensibility, then updating it for today’s foodservice landscape. Interestingly, it seems to be taking a turn toward the plant-forward side of things, leading with a wholesome combination of ingredients.

And when looking at the trend in indulgent vegan food, taco salads are making a play, loading up on crispy tortilla strips, creamy avocado and rich dressings.

Here are four sightings that signal an opportunity in the salad category—a popular area for modern menu development that demands fresh, creative spins on fan favorites.

Fish Taco Bowl with roasted steelhead, shredded cabbage, cilantro, tortilla chips, warm quinoa, organic arugula, Sweetgreen hot sauce, lime-cilantro-jalapeño vinaigrette
Sweetgreen, based in Los Angeles

Vegan Taco Salad with walnut chorizo, cashew queso, organic corn, organic black beans and organic mixed greens
JuiceLand, based in Austin, Texas

Taco Salad: Housemade chips on a bed of greens, with salsa, black beans, black olives, red onions
Better Bowls, Bakersfield, Calif.

Quinoa Taco Salad: Romaine, quinoa, picy seitan chorizo, black beans, sweet corn, avocado, tomato, tortilla strips, tofu crema and agave-lime vinaigrette
by Chloe., with locations in New York and Los Angeles

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About The Author


Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.