A glass jar layered with dressing, rice, beans, pico de gallo, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and lettuce sits on a folded dish towel. Extra ingredients are scattered around the jar.

We have a lot of wonderful mason jar salad recipes on Wholefully, but this Vegetarian Taco Salad is the one that I go back to time and time again.

Why? Well, it’s packed full of flavor, and it tends to work really well with all sorts of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern flavors. We tend to always have some chili, enchiladas, or taco skillet in the fridge—I just pair those leftovers with one of these mason jar salads, and BAM, my lunch for the day is done! Adding a salad in a jar is a great way to magically transform ho-hum leftovers into a well-rounded and delicious lunch for the next day.

Ingredients for black bean fiesta salad are in blue bowls. Bowls are sitting on a wooden cutting board and a white countertop. Two empty jars and lettuce are on the counter.

What is a mason jar salad?

Mason jar salads are pre-assembled fresh salads that you can stash in your fridge until lunchtime. They are a great meal prep option, and since the flavor varieties are endless, you’ll never get bored. If you want to know more, we have a comprehensive post with all the information you need to build a perfect salad in a jar.

But wait, won’t my salad get all soggy and limp?

Not if you pack it in the proper order! The key to this vegan taco salad in a jar staying fresh and crisp is to keep the liquid ingredients (like the dressing and pico de gallo) away from the greens. As long as you keep the jar upright until you are ready to eat, your lettuce should keep its crunch! We talk a lot more about properly packing mason jar salads in our big Salad in a Jar 101 post.
A hand holds a spoon with teal handle. The spoon drips chile-lime salad dressing into a small jar. The jar is surrounded by small tomatoes, a lime slice, and red onions.

Do I really want to be buying tomatoes in the middle of winter?

Tomatoes can be pretty anemic in the off-season, but I have better luck buying cherry tomatoes throughout the year than the big tomatoes. Something about those little beauties seems to keep them from succumbing to the January pink, mealy tomato disease that infects their bigger cousins. But if you can’t track down good fresh tomatoes, leave them out, and instead add a good size dollop of salsa lower in the jar.

Can I add avocado to this fiesta salad?

Avocado is delicious on this salad, but foods that oxidize—like avocado—are something I don’t recommend adding to mason jar salads in advance. Over the course of time, they start to get brown, mushy, and not super appealing. Instead, I recommend bringing an avocado with you and cutting it fresh right before serving.

If you are making this salad for short-term use (like for lunch the same day or even the next), you can get by with treating the avocado with Fruit Fresh and then packing it in the jar. I wouldn’t try to push it past 24 hours though.

Two tall mason jars sit on a white countertop. The jars are layered with ingredients for black bean fiesta salad. Jars are topped with a white lid.

Can I leave the grains out of this taco salad to make it paleo and Whole30-friendly?

You sure can! Drop the cooked grains, and you have a wonderful grain-free salad that is perfect for paleo and Whole30 diets.

How long will this salad last in the fridge?

Because this salad is entirely plant-based, it will last upwards of a week. So you can prep them on the weekend, and still have salads by Friday.

What should I serve this vegetarian taco salad with?

This spicy black bean soup in a jar combined with a black bean fiesta salad in a jar makes for a cozy and warm meal like I always crave in winter, but it’s packed full of bright, summery flavor. It’s the best of both worlds! Enjoy.

Want more salad in a jar recipes like this?

A glass jar layered with dressing, rice, beans, pico de gallo, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and lettuce sits on a folded dish towel. Extra ingredients are scattered around the jar.

Fiesta Lime Salad in a Jar

Yield: 1 24-ounce jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

It’s a party in your mouth with this meal prep Vegetarian Taco Salad in a Jar! This vegan salad is packed full of flavor and works as a side dish or main.


For the Chile-Lime Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

For the Salad:


  1. To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid, and then shake to combine.
  2. To make the salad, layer the salad ingredients in the order listed into the jar, packing in as much romaine as you need to create a tight pack. Cover the jar, and place it in the fridge for up to a week.
  3. To eat, dump the entire contents of the jar into a bowl, toss, and enjoy! 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 24 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 4.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 596mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 5.7gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 6.3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. Hi,

    I tried this recipe, but found the salad too cold. Is it okay to leave it out for like an hour before eating so it can get to room temperature? I’m worried about bacteria. Thanks in advance!!!☺️

    1. Hi, Jennifer! Since there’s no meat or dairy, and it’s only for an hour or so to take the chill off, it should be fine!

  2. I don’t see how you manage to keep the salad dressing emulsified for several days? Doesn’t the oil and the water based ingredients separate after a few hours at the bottom of the jar?

    1. I haven’t had any issues with this. I think part of the reason is that the dressing coats the beans and is absorbed into the rice relatively quickly, so really it’s the wet rice and beans that acts as the “dressing” to the salad.