Looking for a fun and tasty dinner idea? Try a taco bar! Heat up a stack of tortillas and let everyone fill them with their favorite taco fillings.
On nights when I have a bunch of junk in the fridge – chopped cilantro, sliced peppers, a container of cooked black beans – I warm up a stack of tortillas and make a taco bar for dinner. It’s a far cry from traditional Mexican food, of course, but Jack and I always have fun stacking our tacos with the best sounding toppings.
I love this kind of DIY dinner on weeknights. On the one hand, it’s much easier to make taco fillings than it is to make a mixed main course, especially if you start with fixings you already have on hand. Second, it allows everyone to get involved in the kitchen. Whether you have kids or have slightly different tastes than your partner (eg Jack doesn’t like avocado…), it’s a win-win.
You’ll find 25 of my favorite taco toppings below. They are all simple and tasty, and many will store well if you prepare them ahead of time. Pick two, three, four or more and put together a fresh and fun taco bar every night of the week!
Taco bar essentials
Before we move on to taco toppings, let’s talk about the basics of the taco bar. To start, you will need tortillas. A side of beans and rice never hurts either.
Whether store-bought or homemade, tortillas are a staple in any taco bar. I suggest choosing small corn tortillas or soft tortillas made with a mixture of corn and wheat flour. This way you can enjoy the rich flavor of corn tortillas and the flexibility of flour tortillas all in one!
Seasoned with cumin, oregano and lime, they make an excellent garnish or side dish for tacos. Cooked pinto beans or refried beans would also be a great choice for a taco bar.
Cilantro and Lime Rice
No taco night is complete without some sort of accompaniment, and the Cilantro Lime Rice is one of my favorites. Lime, green onion and cilantro give it a fresh and tangy flavor.
Hearty Taco Toppings
Who says you need meat to make a tasty taco bar? These hearty taco toppings – while not at all traditional – are tasty, satisfying, and all-vegan.
Shiitake nut taco meat
Shiitake mushrooms add a rich umami flavor to this tasty and smoky vegan taco meat.
Jackfruit Taco Topping
This Jackfruit Jackfruit recipe comes from The Vegan Instant Pot recipe book by Nisha Vora. I love it because it 1) packs a huge punch of flavor and 2) is perfect for making ahead. Bake it up to two days before your taco bar party and reheat it on the stovetop or in a slow cooker just before eating.
Very vegetarian taco bar ideas
Tip: Vegetables will enhance any taco bar. For a crunchy topping, make a quick coleslaw by mixing red cabbage with lime juice, salt and pepper, or arrange bowls of shredded lettuce, sliced radish, and / or diced onion. Toppings aside, vegetables can also be the “meat” of a taco! These plant-based taco toppings are all hearty and tasty. Best of all, they’re super easy to make!
A 5-ingredient marinade infuses grilled portobello and peppers with a tangy, smoky flavor.
Stuff them in tortillas with pickled jalapeños, cilantro and a scoop of avocado sauce to make tasty veggie tacos in minutes.
roasted sweet potatoes
Never tried sweet potato tacos? You are missing something! Tossed with chili powder or a little taco seasoning, roasted sweet potatoes make an irresistible sweet and spicy taco filling.
Cauliflower Air Fryer
I’ve been eating this crisp cauliflower as a snack for months, but it wasn’t until recently that I thought about trying it in tacos. What took me so long ?! Crispy on the outside, tender in the middle and spicy with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, this is a must-have taco garnish.
Pour a few into your tacos and serve the rest with tortilla chips for dipping.
Pico de gallo
If making homemade salsa sounds intimidating, Salsa Fresca is a great place to start. Dice the tomatoes, onions, cilantro and peppers, mix them together and add a large squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt. It’s so simple and refreshing!
Come to think of it, making this salsa recipe might even be easier than making pico de gallo. Add the ingredients in a food processor, pulse and season to taste (and taste, and taste…). You’ll never get the store-bought genre again!
Tomato Salsa Verde
If you love crisp, tangy taco toppings, this salsa verde recipe is for you. For a fun creamy twist, toss an avocado in the food processor before mixing the salsa.
If you’re adding rich, spicy taco toppings like this creamy chipotle sauce or spicy jerk taco meat to your taco bar, consider making this mango salsa too. It will provide a soft and refreshing contrast to the bold flavors.
Tip: Use pre-cut pineapple to prepare this recipe quickly and easily.
I like this salsa best in the summer when the sweet corn is at its peak. Lightly grill the corn before mixing the salsa, or toss the raw kernels for easy preparation and lots of crunch.
This zesty dip is so versatile! Serve it at a taco bar for dinner and toss the leftovers with mixed greens for a tasty salad the next day.
Rich and creamy taco toppings
When I create a taco bar with cool fixings like salsa, crispy toppings, and a vegetarian topping, I always include something creamy too. It could be as simple as a sliced avocado, or it could be one of the punchy sauces below. No matter what you choose, your tacos will be better. They will be richer, more satisfying and more complex.
Top it on your taco or scoop it up with crisps. When it comes to guac, you really can’t go wrong.
This lively and creamy sauce comes from Julia Turshen’s cookbook Simply Julia. It’s fantastic on his roasted cauliflower tacos, or any tacos for that matter.
Cashew sour cream
You don’t make dairy products? This creamy and tangy taco filling is a perfect replacement for sour cream.
I doubt you have any leftovers (this sauce is really addicting), but if you do, you’re in luck. You can drizzle them over a bowl of cereal, brush them with a veggie burger, or devour them with sweet potato fries the next day.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
Totally inauthentic? Yes. Totally delicious? Yes too. I love how its rich, garlic and tangy flavor plays on fresh toppings like grilled veggies and roasted sweet potatoes.
Coriander and Lime Dressing
3 ways! Make it a refreshing and tangy dressing, or add avocado or Greek yogurt for a creamy richness.
Marinated Taco Toppings
Hold the dill pickles! Here we’re talking pickled onions, jalapeños, and radishes – taco toppings that will add a delicious crunch and a splash of lively flavor to your next taco bar.
pickled red onions
If you’ve never made pickled onions before, you won’t believe how easy they are to make. Try them once and you’ll start to keep them on hand at all times for making tacos, avocado toast, and everything in between.
I make this recipe whenever I have extra jalapeños in the fridge. The crunchy and spicy pickles are perfect for a taco bar, and I love them on veggie burgers and salads too.
Bright pink, tangy and electric, they’ll take all the tacos on top.
25 taco toppings for your next taco bar
Serves 4 or more
These tasty taco toppings will take any taco bar to the next level!