Vegetarian tacos are one of the most delicious ways to eat vegetables! Here’s how to make tacos and our 10 best tacos recipes.
Whether you’re looking to eat more vegetables or eat plant based on the regular, vegan and vegetarian tacos are one of the most delicious ways to do it! The tortilla is the perfect canvas for vegetable deliciousness. You can go straight up authentic with Mexican flavors, or branch into a fusion taco with flavors taking cues from Thai or Korean elements.
All of our 10 best vegetarian tacos below are not considered “authentic” or traditional tacos: they’re plays on the concept of delicious flavors and textures inside a tortilla. Keep reading for how to make tacos, and our 10 best vegan and vegetarian tacos recipes!
How to make tacos
Everyone makes tacos differently, but there are a few elements that are key to how to make a delicious taco:
- Use a well-seasoned “main” element: Tacos aren’t just about meat. For vegetarian tacos, there are lots of proteins to feature: beans, lentils, cauliflower or mushrooms, tofu, etc. It’s key that the main element is seasoned to perfection.
- Accessorize with contrasting colors, flavors and textures: Tacos are all about contrast. Use other elements to contrast the main element: crunchy vegetables like a cabbage and pepper slaw, and a salsa or a creamy sauce like a chipotle drizzle.
- Don’t fill too full: One taco faux pas is that they’re filled too much. Use just enough of the ingredients so that you can taste each of them, and also it doesn’t overflow.
- Char your tortillas! Charring your tortillas warms them and adds a delicious charred flavor. You can do this if you have a gas range. Place a tortilla on the grates above an open gas flame on medium heat for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (If you don’t have a gas stove, here are a few other ways to warm your tortillas.)
And now, our vegan & vegetarian tacos recipes!
Make it vegan! All taco recipes below are vegan or can be customized to be vegan with the substitutes listed in the recipe, except for 5 Minute Tacos and Tacos Rancheros.
These vegetarian tacos are a total crowd pleaser! They’re loaded with a taco-spiced quinoa filling, bell pepper slaw, and spicy sour cream.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon each: cumin and paprika
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 green onions
- 1 lime
- 1 bell peppers (we used 1/2 red and 1/2 orange)
- 4 cups baby greens
- Salsa, store bought or Salsa Fresca
- Sour cream (or vegan sour cream or cashew cream)
- Hot sauce
- Feta cheese crumbles (omit for vegan)
- Pickled red onions (optional; make ahead)
- 10 to 12 corn tortillas
- If using, make the Pickled Red Onions.
- Cook the quinoa: In a dry pan over medium heat, add the dry quinoa and toast it over medium heat, stirring frequently. After a few minutes you’ll start to hear a popping sound; continue stirring until the quinoa just starts to brown and smell toasty, about 3 to 4 minutes total.
- Immediately transfer the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it in the sink. Return it to the pot and add the vegetable broth and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer where the broth is just bubbling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the broth has been completely absorbed. (Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if broth remains.) Turn off the heat and let sit with the lid on to steam for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Prepare the toppings: While the quinoa cooks, make a quick bell pepper slaw: Thinly slice the peppers, then cut them in half. Place them in a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon lime juice and a few pinches kosher salt, and allow to stand until serving. If serving with spicy sour cream, stir in few shakes hot sauce to taste (or do the same with hummus for a vegan option).
- Finish the quinoa taco filling: When quinoa is done, melt the coconut oil in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Add the cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and stir. Then cook without stirring for about 5 minutes or until the bottom starts to get crispy. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice and green onions. (Add any remaining lime juice to the bell pepper slaw.)
- Serve the quinoa tacos: Warm the tortillas, or char them by placing a tortilla on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until slightly blackened and warm. Top the tortillas with the greens, quinoa filling, bell peppers, pickled onions, sour cream and feta crumbles. Serve immediately with a side of canned refried beans or our Easy Refried Black Beans.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican Inspired
Keywords: Vegetarian Tacos
Looking for more vegetarian tacos?
If none of the tacos above strike your fancy, here are a few more vegan and vegetarian tacos we love:
- Spiced Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Cream
- Black Bean Tacos with Radish Salsa
- Chickpea & Veggie Tacos
- Grilled Veggie Healthy Tacos
- Baked Tofu Tacos with Chipotle Sauce
- Egg Taco with Salsa Fresca
- Corn Tortilla Recipe
Last updated: June 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.