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Vegetarian Taco Salad and Soup

Hope that you love this vegetarian taco salad and vegetarian fall soup. This post is all about comfort food at its finest updated for modern times! Let’s talk Have you ever taken an old-time family recipe, passed down from generations and lighten it up?

I have taken several of my family’s recipes and made them over for our current lifestyle with amazing results. These recipes can be transformed to work for variety of health conditions. One of my favorite activities to do with clients is to take an old recipe that they love and make it new, improved and delicious while better meeting their dietary needs!

I also have to honest that sometimes you just can’t really change a special family recipe and we talk about how to work it in while eating mindfully, savoring it and enjoying it even more than ever. Some recipes should not be changed to keep their integrity. A good example is a holiday cookie that is eaten and shared once a year so if the texture and flavor is affected a lot by changes, I think that they need to stay as they are.

However, many times the recipes that have been adapted are better than before.  I wanted to share two family recipes that have been passed down from our families that I have made been lightened up. I think you will love the changes that I have made! .

Here are a few tips that I use to update a recipe:

  1. Choose a healthier fat in your recipe instead of the old one listed.,
  2. Reduce sugar & fat in a recipe by about 25 % in many of my recipes.
  3. Add herbs and spices in savory recipes and dried fruits, fruit peels and flavoring extracts.
  4. Try making some of my favorite meat recipes more plant based by including more vegetables and meat alternatives.
  5. Reduce salt in recipes and increase the flavor with herbs, spices, vinegar and citrus juice.

It’s soup season! And soup is a great way to get some additional vegetables in your day and warm your heart and soul on a cold day! With all the additional veggies, it is a great cancer prevention, builds a healthy immune system, keeps you full so you don’t overeat to help maintain and achieve a healthy weight! Soups are also a great way for seasonal eating because you can use what’s available at the local farmers’ markets!

Recipe for Vegetarian Soup and Vegetarian Taco Salad

Healthy Re-makes of Recipes

Grandma Ida’s Famous Vegetable Fall Soup

I adapted my great grandmother Ida’s recipe to make it vegetarian. Growing up, it has been one of my son’s favorites and he even asked to have it on his birthday! This recipe went from fatty hamburger meat that Grandma Ida used to make it during the depression and beyond. She used canned veggies also.  Next came my mom’s changes when she started using beef stew and fresh carrots, potatoes and frozen vegetables. And then to my latest plant based, vegetarian version!

46 ounce tomato juice or tomato and vegetable mixture

2 1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 stalk chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped onions

1 ½ cup sliced carrots

16 ounce frozen mixed vegetables

3-4 potatoes, cut into ¾-1 inch chunks

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1-2 large bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

15 ounce can tomatoes

½ teaspoon pepper

½ head cabbage-cut into wedges and chunks

In a large stock pot saute onions, potatoes and carrots until softened. Add 2 ¼ cup water for and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add frozen vegetables, ¼ teaspoon salt, 15 ounce tomato sauce and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes longer.

You can also add seasonal greens in it also or even beets! You can also use fresh herbs!

Colorful salad with green and red
This family recipe got a delicious makeover

Wanda’s Taco Salad Recipe

I want to share this family favorite from my husband’s family. His Aunt Lillian had made it every Christmas Eve for their family gathering and celebration of her husband’s birthday. My mother-in-law Wanda started making it also and later I started making a version of it. Wanda’s recipe uses hamburger and flavored taco chips and mine is now a vegetarian version!

Makes 6 meal size servings

1 can of rinsed and drained kidney beans (try garbanzo beans or lentils if kidney beans are an IBS trigger)
1/2 cup chopped red onion (or if onions are an IBS trigger use chopped chives or the green portion of scallions)
1 package of soy or pea crumbles (you could even use cooked, seasoned crumbled tempeh)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium size head of iceberg lettuce (I use iceberg if I make ahead of time or if I think there will be leftovers, however if I make small individual servings to be eaten immediately, I might you any type of dark green lettuce)
Salad dressing Simply Vinaigrette Italian Dressing | Ken’s Dressings ( or for a garlic onion free version Low FODMAP Garden Herb Salad Dressing | Fody Food Co. – FODY Food Co. – USA (
Garlic oil

Taco Salad Seasonings

Freshly ground cumin (1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon chili powder (Fody Foods and Spices | Penzeys make an onion and garlic free)
Garlic oil

Toppings for Taco Salad

Shredded cheddar (or vegan alternative)
Corn Chips
Salsa Mexican Salsa | Frontera ( or for an onion and garlic free Low FODMAP Ketchup & Salsas – Onion & Garlic-Free! – FODY Food Co. – USA (
Sliced avocados, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapenos

Cook the meat alternative crumbles in garlic oil and add seasonings. Allow to cool. Wash lettuce and tear into small pieces. Chop your choice of onions.

Wash tomato and chop. Add lettuce, onion and tomato. After meat alternative has cooled add that and top with cheese or cheese or cheese alternative.

If you are going to serve all of the salad at once, add salad dressing and salsa and toss. Serve up in bowls and top with chips and avocado.

If not ready to serve entire salad, serve amount needed and then add salad dressing and salsa each one individually and then add salsa, dressing and toppings.

Here are Some Additional Recipes that You May Enjoy Also

Here are a few additional tasty ideas:

Ways to Swap Vegetarian Substitutions for Meat Ingredients into Your Favorite Recipes

To make vegetarian favorite recipes, try these best vegetarian meat alternatives. And don’t forget the fact that some of these are more highly processed than others.

I also love to add roasted winter squash, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms in place of meat (watch portions and make vegetable substitutions is you sensitive to a few of these high fodmap foods).

9 Best Vegan Meat Substitutes – Clean Green Simple

Make Some Veggie Taco Salad and Vegetable Soup

I hope you enjoy my lightened versions of Veggie Taco Salad and Vegetable Fall Soup. This are two very sentimental recipes. And I hope that you get a chance to make a few of your own recipes. Here is a little plant-based eating inspiration!

I love giving my recipes a little face lift whether it is just to freshen it up or to make it a little healthier. As a registered dietitian nutritionist working in Asheville, I love to help my clients find ways healthy to eat that they will enjoy! Recipe makeovers can be one of the ways that we can do it! Hope that you feel inspired to make a few changes in the kitchen to make your favorites even better! On the Vine Ripe website, you can find some of the ways that I work with my clients! What recipe have you lightened and how did it work out?

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