This Vegan Taco Meat is made entirely of plants! Generously seasoned with spices, it’s perfect for tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas or nachos. Kid friendly!
Not only is this taco “meat” made out of whole plant foods, it’s actually easy to make! It can be ready in about 30 minutes, and is cooked right on the stovetop. If you prefer, you can bake it. I give instructions for both methods.
It’s Kid Approved
No joke, my kids love the stuff. And I truly don’t have the most adventurous eaters, they can be quite picky. If your kids (or yourself) are sensitive to spice, you can substitute the adobo sauce for a little chili powder. That will make it much less spicy and more mild.
It’s also perfect for adding to burritos, salads, quesadillas, burrito bowls or nachos. Or mix it into a batch of Vegan Nacho Cheese for a “meaty” nacho cheese. YUM.
How to make it on the stovetop
In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower, then the walnuts and mushrooms until crumbly. Don’t over process and turn it into mush!
Add everything to a large pan or pot, and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir until well combined, and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom.
How to bake it
You can bake it instead if you’d like. It will be a bit drier, which is not really a bad thing, especially if you serve it with some vegan sour cream, salsa or avocado.
To bake, first add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Lightly grease a large rimmed sheet pan and spread the mixture on it. Bake for 30-40 minutes, giving it a little stir once in the middle of baking.
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Vegan Taco Meat
- 4 cups cauliflower florets (1 small head, or 3 cups riced cauliflower)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or water for oil free)
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can, see Notes for options
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
For serving, optional
- crunchy corn, soft corn or flour tortillas
- shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, non-dairy cheese shreds, salsa, avocado slices or vegan sour cream
- Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor. Pulse several times, creating cauliflower rice, but don't process so much it becomes mushy. Add cauliflower rice to a large pan (at least 12 inches, or use a large pot).
- Now add the walnuts and mushrooms to the food processor. Pulse a few times until they are a similar consistency as the cauliflower. Don't over process or you will have a paste. Dump them into the pan with the cauliflower.
- To the pan, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, adobo sauce (or chili powder), soy sauce, cumin, smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat to medium-high, and stir until well combined. Continue to cook, stirring every couple minutes, for 15-20 minutes. Taste; add more salt or spices as desired.
- Remove from heat and serve in tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas, nachos or anywhere else you like! We like crunchy or soft tacos with diced tomatoes, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream/avocados and lettuce.
- To Bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a large rimmed sheet pan. In a large bowl, mix together the processed cauliflower, walnuts, mushrooms and all other ingredients. Spread onto the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring once in the middle of baking. Remove from the oven and serve.
- You can purchase frozen or fresh riced cauliflower, or use whole cauliflower and blitz it in a food processor.
- Nut allergy? You can substitute sunflower seeds for the walnuts, or use 8 ounces of mushrooms instead of 4.
- Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo (find in the Mexican section at your grocery store) adds a ton of flavor to the "meat". I just use the sauce, not the whole peppers so it's less spicy, but it still adds quite a bit of heat. If you don't like things spicy, or have kids who are sensitive, replace it with 1 teaspoon of chili powder for a milder spiced "meat".
- Freezer option: To prepare vegan taco meat for the freezer, place the processed cauliflower, mushrooms and walnuts in a freezer bag along with the rest of the ingredients. When ready to cook, dump in the pan and cook for 20-30 minutes.
*This recipe was first posted in March 2018 and has been updated with new photos and options.