Vegan Ground Beef (plant-based, oil-free)

  • Author: Beth Hornback | Pass the Plants
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Vegan American


No one will guess there’s no meat when you use this vegan ground beef in your favorite dishes – try it in tacos, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, and more!



  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into large florets
  • 8 ounces crimini or baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 23 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I use the julienne cut, packed dry)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), or walnuts


  1. In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process the pumpkin seeds (or walnuts) and sun-dried tomatoes until a fine meal forms, but be careful not to go so far as to puree into a smooth mixture.
  2. Remove the pumpkin seed and sun-dried tomato mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Remove the s-blade from the food processor and attach the grating disc.
  4. Shred the cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic. If you don’t have a shredding attachment, pulse small amounts at a time using the S-blade until finely chopped but not pureed.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the shredded vegetables over medium-high heat until the moisture has evaporated and the vegetables are cooked, about 6-8 minutes. See notes for alternative oven roasting method.
  6. Add the pumpkin seed (or walnut) and sun-dried tomato mixture into the skillet, and combine with the vegetables, cooking for 1 minute.
  7. Use in place of ground beef with the ratio of 2 cups of vegan ground beef for 1 pound of cooked ground meat.


Oven Roasting Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare two large sheet pans by lining them with parchment paper.
  3. Spread out the shredded vegetables and tomato/seed mixture evenly between the two sheet pans, and stir to combine.
  4. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is cooked and reduced in size due to moisture evaporation. Stir halfway through the time to ensure even cooking.

Things to Know

  • This recipe stores for up to a week in the refrigerator, and a minimum of 3 months in the freezer. As Daryl Hannah said in Steel Magnolias, it freezes beautifully.
  • I use the sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in liquid, and there is no need to rehydrate them before using.
  • Vegan Ground Beef is wonderful in Vegetable Bolognese, Vegan Cheeseburger Soup, and Vegan Taco Meat. In fact, one batch should give you enough to make all three recipes!

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