Craving tacos but don't want to eat ground beef? Try our vegan taco meat for a healthy, high in protein, and absolutely delicious meal that even your meat-loving family members will love!
Vegan taco meat is easy to make for your next Taco Tuesday or any weeknight dinner with just a few simple ingredients. Let's talk about the most important ones you'll need for this recipe.
- Vegetables: cauliflower florets, baby bella mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes
- Protein: sunflower seeds, pepitas
- Aromatics: white onion, garlic
- Spices: chipotle chili powder, cumin, salt, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper
- Oil: olive oil
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Don't want to use seeds? Replace the pepitas and sunflowers with walnuts.
- Want it spicier? Increase the cayenne pepper or add crushed red pepper flakes.
- Need this vegan taco meat cooked on the stovetop? Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, then cook in batches over medium low heat until browned.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for vegan taco meat. Place the cauliflower florets in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large baking trays with foil.
- Place half of the cauliflower (4 cups) into a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped and has a meat-like texture. Repeat with the other 4 cups of cauliflower, then dump it into a very large bowl.
- Pulse half of the mushrooms in the food processor until they are finely chopped. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
3. Place the shelled sunflower seeds into the food processor and pulse until they are small, but still, have some texture.
4. Pulse the pepitas in the food processor until they are small.
5. Place the quartered onion and the soaked sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor, pulse until they are finely chopped, and place in a bowl with the other ingredients.
6. Mix these ingredients really well with a wooden spoon.
7. Mix in the olive oil, then add the dried taco seasoning spices (chipotle chili powder, cumin, salt, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder) and minced garlic.
8. Divide the vegan cauliflower pepita mixture in half and evenly spread out on two large baking trays. Bake one tray at a time in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes.
9. Stir with a wooden turner to make sure the meat gets evenly browned, and bake for another 15 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings if desired, stir, and place the vegan taco meat back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Repeat the cooking process with the second tray.
10. Serve vegan taco meat warm with your favorite taco toppings: skillet charred corn, black beans, red onion, grape tomatoes, jalapeno coins, avocado slices, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
This recipe consists of cauliflower, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, pepitas, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and spices. Only four of the ingredients are fresh, and the rest of the ingredients have a long shelf life. This means that you can create this recipe mostly from pantry staples at the drop of a hat.
Meat alternatives for vegans are substitutes made from plant based ingredients. Some popular base ingredients are lentils, cauliflower, walnuts, and quinoa. The base ingredient you choose can then be mixed with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes for a wonderful umami flavor.
If you don't normally like mushrooms, you might surprise yourself with this recipe since the mushrooms are finely chopped and have a different texture. My youngest daughter refuses to eat mushrooms, but she will gladly eat them in this vegan taco meat.
There are lots of options for topping tacos but some of the most popular are lettuce, tomato, salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.
In most cases yes, flour and corn tortillas are vegan since they don't contain any animal products but to be sure you should always check the package you are buying.
Make ahead: Feel free to make up a big batch, as this vegan taco meat tastes amazing the next day too.
Leftovers or Meal Prep: Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Freeze: Allow the vegan meat mixture to cool completely, then freeze in 2-cup serving containers. It will keep in the freezer for up to one month.
Reheat: To use, simply reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- To get the right texture, pulse the cauliflower and mushrooms in batches.
- Taste after 30 minutes of cooking and adjust the seasoning to your tastes.
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Vegan Taco Meat
- 8 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 pound baby bella mushrooms
- 2 cups sunflower seeds, shelled, roasted, and salted
- 1 ½ cup pepitas, roasted and salted
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Soak the sun dried tomatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them.
- Pulse the cauliflower, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and pepitas in a food processor until they are finely chopped and have a meat-like texture. It's best to pulse each ingredient separately, as each one needs a different length of time in the processor. Put the pulsed vegetables and seeds in a very large bowl.
- Finish off by pulsing the onion and sun dried tomatoes, then add to the same bowl. Mix everything together until well incorporated.
- Pour the olive oil onto the mixture and mix together, then sprinkle on the spices and stir until well combined.
- Evenly spread the mixture out on two foil lined baking trays. Bake one tray at a time for 15 minutes. Take out the tray and stir to mix up so it browns evenly. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat with the second tray.
- Serve warm with your favorite nachos, tacos, or taco salad toppings.
- Pulse the cauliflower and mushrooms in batches to get the texture right.
- Adjust the seasonings to your tastes, after 30 minutes of cooking.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.