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.
First up in our best vegetarian tacos: our Crispy Cauliflower Tacos! They star our crispy breaded cauliflower (baked, not fried), which are reminiscent of the texture of fish tacos. Add to that refried beans and silky Yum Yum Sauce and they’re all about one thing: big flavor! They are one of our fan favorite recipes because they’re so satisfying — even without the meat. Scroll down for the recipe.
These vegetarian tacos are a bit outside the box, since the filling is made of quinoa! The quinoa filling is toasted and filled with taco spices and lime. Then combine it with a bell pepper slaw, spicy sour cream, salsa, and feta cheese, and you’ve got a new level of delicious. Oh and pickled red onions for color and crunch!
Here's the very fastest vegetarian tacos: Epic 5 Minute Tacos! Can dinner really be made in 5 minutes? We'll let you find out for yourself. These tacos feature our chorizo-style eggs, which materialize into a meaty flavor and texture before your eyes. Top with salsa fresca, cilantro and hot sauce, and prepare to be amazed!
Jackfruit is a plant based substitute for pulled pork. Fruit standing in for meat? Turns out this tropical fruit magically mimics pulled pork in a way we never dreamed. This meaty filling is flavored with adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers), tomato paste, cocoa powder, cumin, and oregano. Throw it in a tortilla, add our best salsa and serve with refried black beans. Dinner is served!
These plant-based BBQ bean tacos with pineapple salsa are a delicious fast and easy dinner recipe! They’re on the table in less than 30 minutes. These vegetarian tacos contrast barbecue-flavored pinto beans with a tangy pineapple salsa made with red onion, cilantro and lime.
Got an Instant Pot? These vegetarian tacos feature our delicious Instant Pot smoky lentils and rice, which cook up together into a meaty, savory mix. Top with a rainbow of veggies, salsa, and crunchy romaine, and you’re in business!
*Don’t have an Instant Pot? Try our Stovetop Lentil Tacos instead!
Here’s an interesting take on vegetarian tacos: grilled mango tacos! These feature strips of grilled mango, nestled in a tortilla with refried black beans. Then top with our Mango Dream Sauce, a creamy green sauce that also stars…mangos!
These vegetarian tacos have a special theme, and it’s a color: green! These “verde” vegan tacos are full of fresh flavors, featuring green lentils, green cabbage, and a bright green cilantro drizzle. Celebrate verde!
Chickpeas are the center of these vegetarian tacos! They’re spiced with a dose of delicious: smoked paprika, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, and cumin. Top it off with a light green creamy avocado sauce and you’re in taco heaven!
And to round out our vegetarian tacos recipes: tacos rancheros! This recipe transforms the Mexican standard into egg tacos! A delicious huevos rancheros sauce covers the runny eggs, topped with queso fresco. (Per above, these are the only vegetarian tacos that don’t convert to vegan with substitutes.)
These quinoa tacos are a crowd-pleasing vegetarian taco recipe! 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 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:
- 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
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.