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!

looking down and to the side at tacos lined up

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.

We usually eat this vegan taco meat in crunchy shells or soft corn tortillas, with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, vegan cheese shreds and perhaps diced avocado or vegan sour cream.

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.

hand holding a taco, lettuce in background

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.

pan full of ingredients to make vegan taco meat

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.

wooden spoon holding taco meat over a pan

Want more vegan taco/burritos fillings?

close up of 3 vegan tacos close together

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square image of tacos with "meat
4.98 stars (36 ratings)

Vegan Taco Meat

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!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 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.


  1. You can purchase frozen or fresh riced cauliflower, or use whole cauliflower and blitz it in a food processor.
  2. Nut allergy? You can substitute sunflower seeds for the walnuts, or use 8 ounces of mushrooms instead of 4. 
  3. 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".
  4. 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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was first posted in March 2018 and has been updated with new photos and options.



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  1. This recipe is insanely amazing! I did not have walnuts, I used pecans because that’s what I had. I also added a taco seasoning pack I had on hand.

    I am definitely making this again.

    1. Hi Shay. Thank you for your encouraging feedback and review! I’m so glad you love the taco meat! Wishing you happy cooking!

    1. Yes! Just be careful not to over-pulse the cauliflower/walnuts/mushrooms. You don’t want them to be mushy or like a paste.

  2. Another grand slam home run by Nora! This absolutely incredible and easy and versatile and DELICIOUS! I made it for an animal loving meat eater and he couldn’t imagine after tasting it why you would need the hamburger? Nora you gave a love for cooking back to this farm girls heart that she didn’t know she had forgotten. Thanks again!

  3. I am Indian and I never tried this kind of food. I was searching for new recipe and found this vegan taco meat, seems delicious . Super excited to try this one, hope my kids will love this .

    1. This is absolutely amazing! It was so,so,sooooo good! I made the mixture exactly as instructed, and then I added some vegan cheese and wrapped it in corn tortilla and made flautas with it. Restaurant quality meal, for sure!! Thank you, Nora!

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