This Vegetarian Taco Meat is packed full of veggies and seasonings for a tasty meat substitute that will keep you nourished. It’s also gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, and nut-free to suit a variety of dietary needs! Make it ahead of time for easy, vegan, low-carb, and kid-friendly meals!
Your New Favorite Meatless Monday Recipe
Whether you follow a plant-based diet or not, this vegetarian taco meat is guaranteed to please a crowd. Plus, incorporating one meatless meal a week such as on Taco Tuesday is a great way to add more variety to your diet, try new foods, and save money. You won’t believe how far you can stretch vegan and vegetarian recipes or just how filling they are to eat!
This plant-based taco meat is a great meal prep staple to keep on hand for those days when you’re just out of creativity for cooking but still want to serve something nutritious. Made with simple ingredients, it’s full of warm flavor, has a “meaty” consistency, and is ready in under an hour!
What Does Plant-Based Taco Meat Taste Like?
What vegan meat tastes like is probably the most common question we get. Given the name, this recipe definitely has that familiar taco flavor we all love. Also, while it is not an exact replica, this recipe comes pretty close to the texture and mouthfeel of real meat.
The mushrooms give off that slightly gummy texture of ground beef. Meanwhile, the rest of the veggies cook until they are soft and absorb all of the smoky flavors of the spices. The end result is a taste and consistency so similar to the real deal that your picky eaters won’t even realize they’re eating their veggies!
What Is Vegan Taco Meat Made From?
Unlike store-bought plant-based meats that often contain soy and a long list of other hard-to-pronounce ingredients, these vegan mushroom tacos come together with nutritious, whole food items, most of which you probably already have on hand!
- Vegetables – Cauliflower, cremini mushrooms, onions, carrots, and cauliflower combine to create a mealy, meat-like texture while adding flavor and nutrients.
- Seeds – Technically optional, these help contribute to the “meaty” texture and add healthy fats to keep you full.
- Seasonings – To save time, we use a pre-made taco blend, but you could also make your own homemade taco seasoning using garlic powder, dried oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Tomato Paste – This helps bind the ingredients together while giving a hint of sweet, smoky flavor.
- Hot Sauce or Adobo Sauce – Use as little or as much as you’d like for plating.
How to Make Vegetarian Taco Meat
If you’ve ever been too intimidated to attempt to make alternative meat options, prepare to be pleasantly surprised! These vegan mushroom tacos come together in under an hour with minimal effort.
- Make cauliflower rice. Add the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until cauliflower rice is formed. Work in batches, if needed. Then, transfer the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl.
Pro-Tip: To save time, you can also find pre-made cauliflower rice at most local grocery stores. Just be sure that it’s fresh, not frozen! If you use frozen varieties, you’ll want to thaw and bake it first.
- Combine the vegetables. Add the mushrooms and carrots to the food processor, and pulse until a mealy, meat-like texture is formed. Be careful not to over process! Then, add the mixture to the bowl of cauliflower rice. Toss to combine the veggies
- Add the remaining ingredients. Mix the remaining ingredients in with the veggies, tossing to combine and coat them evenly.
- Bake. Spread the vegetarian taco meat on a baking sheet greased with cooking oil spray, and transfer it to a preheated oven. Allow the mixture to bake, tossing it halfway through, until it is browned.
We love to use this “meat” to make vegan mushroom tacos, but the options are endless! Feel free to use it any way you would regular taco meat. For instance, some of our favorite serving methods include:
What’s a vegan mushroom taco without all the best toppings? No matter how you serve this vegetarian taco meat, you can’t go wrong by loading it up with all the good stuff such as:
- Guacamole or avocado slices
- Shredded cheese or vegan cheese
- Dairy-free sour cream
- Black beans
- Lime juice
How to Store and Reheat
For quick recipes, make this vegan taco meat ahead of time for easy family-friendly meal prep! This recipe can easily be doubled to accommodate feeding a crowd and supporting the appetites of your growing little ones.
Just be sure to store your meat in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you could toss leftovers in an airtight container, and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Then, when you’re ready to use it, just reheat your “meat” in a skillet or the oven, and stir it in whatever recipe you’re using. Note: The texture of the mushroom meat won’t be as crispy when reheating from frozen.
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