I have a confession to make.
I never make tacos on Taco Tuesday. I mean, I might, but if I do it is totally accidental. I always forget that it is Taco Tuesday until about 10pm when I’m endlessly scrolling my Instagram feed and start seeing all of the #tacotuesday hashtags and the taco emojis and then I think, “why don’t I ever make tacos on Tuesdays?”. So that is why I am sharing this recipe for vegan taco meat on a Friday. Because that’s how together I am.
Let’s be real. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. Taco time is anytime. I came up with a plant-packed taco meat that even a carnivore can love, so let’s get started!
We start with the vegetable meat substitute, which is, I’m not ashamed to admit, a simply terrible name. I’m currently crowd-sourcing alternative monikers, so please add your voice to the mix in the comments. Veggie grounds? Vegan ground meat? I don’t know. The answer eludes me. In any case, this is a meat substitute made of vegetables, if the name wasn’t convincing enough. It consists of cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, pepitas (or walnuts), and sun-dried tomatoes. It really does look like ground beef when it’s cooked into things, and thanks to the pepitas, it has almost the same amount of protein! But to make it into taco meat, we need some seasonings.
I did some research into taco seasonings, and there were lots of variations, but the main components stayed pretty consistent, so I stuck with what works. We’ve got chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. These are spices I always have on hand, which makes this easy to throw together. If you want more heat, some cayenne or chipotle powder is a great addition too.
You’ve got your vegetable meat substitute, you’ve got your spices, now they just need to get married and let things heat up in a skillet with some water. A taco bath? I really should stop writing so late at night. It gets weird so fast.
So there you have it! Doesn’t that look like ground meat? I KNOW, RIGHT? It kind of creeps me out sometimes. And yes, it does taste delicious in a taco salad. But it’s especially good in…a vegan crunchwrap supreme. Oh yes, I went there.
Whether you are a stickler for eating alliteratively according to the day of the week, or, like me, you whip up dinner in a frenzy giving no regard for the calendar, I hope you’ll give this a try for your next taco night! Any excuse to use the taco emoji, right?Print
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into large florets
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup raw pepitas or walnuts
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoons oregano
- 1.5 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, optional
- 1 cup water, or more as needed
- In a food processor, pulse the pepitas (or walnuts) and sun dried tomatoes until a fine meal forms. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Using the same food processor bowl (no need to wash), switch from the s-blade to the shredding attachment.
- Process the cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic. If you don’t have a shredding attachment, pulse small amounts using the S-blade until finely chopped but not pureed.
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook the shredded vegetables over high heat until the moisture has evaporated and the vegetables are cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the pepita and sun-dried tomato mixture into the skillet, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the seasoning mix and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the water and cook for 3-5 minutes until the most of the water has evaporated (it’s ok if there’s a little bit of sauce still in the pan).
- Use in place of ground taco meat with the ratio of 2 cups of vegetable meat substitute for 1 pound of ground meat. Try it in a Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme!
This recipe makes a large volume, the equivalent of 3 pounds of ground beef after cooking. If you don’t plan on using all of it for tacos, you can portion out half of the mixture before adding the seasoning mix and you have a vegetable meat substitute to use in place of ground beef for other dishes, such as Vegetable Bolognese.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 220