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This vegan ground beef is full of big, savory flavor! It’s perfect using to stuff peppers, in tacos, and more.

Vegan Ground Beef
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Here’s a fun trick for making a plant-based substitute for ground beef: try this Vegan Ground Beef! These days, there are lots of great plant-based crumbles and meat substitutes on the market. Because they’re essentially a processed food, we try not to eat them too often: and this recipe is a great homemade option! It’s perfect for making crumbles to stuff into a zucchini or pepper, for a taco filling or on a salad. You’ll be surprised at how much the savory flavor and texture mimics the real thing!

Ingredients for vegan ground beef

This vegan ground beef doesn’t taste like meat, exactly: but it’s so juicy and savory-spiced, it’s a great alternative to the real thing! We use store-bought plant-based crumbles (like Impossible or Beyond brand) for burgers, but we try not to eat them more than once a week. This recipe is a great homemade version that tastes incredible and uses all natural, whole-food ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Whole walnuts
  • Baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (or substitute white button mushrooms)
  • Soy sauce or tamari (use coconut aminos for soy free)
  • Ketchup (use tomato paste for sugar free)
  • Cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
Vegan Taco Meat

Tips for the process

Here’s the basic idea for making vegan ground beef: you’ll simply chop everything up, sauté it, and mix in some olive oil for richness. You’ll be sold, one bite in. Here are the basic steps to follow (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Chop walnuts and mushrooms very finely to the texture resembling ground beef. It’s easiest to use a food processor for this step, but you can also use a chef’s knife to chop everything very finely.
  • Mix in the seasonings to amp the meaty flavor. The soy sauce and ketchup in particular help to infuse salty, tangy undertones.
  • Sauté the mixture until it is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. The mushrooms add juiciness and the walnuts add some texture.
  • Stir in a little olive oil to simulate the richness of ground beef.

Ways to serve vegan ground beef

This vegan ground beef is perfect for stuffing vegetables, pasta, tacos, or in casseroles. However, don’t use it in a burger: it’s not meant to pack together like a veggie burger (we’ve got other recipes for that!). Here’s what it works well in:

What if you want a burger or meatballs?

Again, this vegan ground beef is not intended for a burger or meatballs! Also don’t add it to chili, since adding it to liquids makes it much too soggy. If you’re looking for a plant-based burger option, here’s what we recommend:

Vegan Ground Beef

Storage info for vegan ground beef

This vegan ground beef tastes great the day of making and stores well! Here’s what to know about storage:

  • Refrigerate 1 week. It lasts very well in the refrigerator: simply reheat it in a skillet for a minute or two before serving.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months. To freeze vegan ground beef, place it on a baking sheet in a single layer for 1 hour. Then remove the crumbles from the tray and place them in a freezer safe container. Store for up to 3 months.

More vegan recipes

Love eating plant-based? Here are a few more vegan recipes you’ll enjoy:

This vegan ground beef crumbles recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Vegan Ground Beef

Vegan Ground Beef Crumbles

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (about 3 cups) 1x


This vegan ground beef is full of big, savory flavor! It’s perfect using to stuff peppers, in tacos, and more.


  • 2 cups whole walnuts*
  • 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos for soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ tablespoon each smoked paprika**, cumin, dried oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided


  1. Roughly chop the mushrooms. Place them in a large food processor, then add the walnuts and tamari, ketchup, cumin, spices, and salt. Pulse gently multiple times until everything is evenly chopped, being careful not to over process (or it will be too mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef’s knife to roughly chop everything and place in a bowl with the spices.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring until it releases all of its liquid then becomes dry and browned. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Taste and add more salt to taste if desired. Store refrigerated for 1 week or freeze on a sheet pan, then place in a sealed container and freeze up to 3 months.


*This recipe also works with 1 cup walnuts and same amount of mushrooms: reduce the kosher salt to ¼ teaspoon and then add more to taste.

**If you can’t find smoked paprika, you can substitute chili powder here.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Sherry Ashberger says:

    I have to live quite frugally as well as being in a very rural area that doesn’t carry a lot of processed items. These seasonings look AMAZING and I was thinking that I might try them with crumbled tofu, which I already use for many things. What do you think?

    And for the person asking about almonds – any nuts can be soaked for several hours or overnight to reduce the crunchiness ;-D

    Thanks for the idea!

  2. Angela H says:

    Is there a tip for softening the almond so my “ground beef” isn’t crunchy?
    Love your recipes! Thank you for the inspiration! I’m currently using your recipes for the Daniel Fast.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You could try reducing the heat a bit more so that the walnuts soak up more of the liquid!

  3. Broil Rivera says:

    Thanks for sharing. What ingredient can I use instead of ketchup?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! Here we’d use 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar.

  4. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!