This vegan tacos recipe stars a flavor-bursting taco meat with classic toppings like pico and lettuce. An easy vegan dinner in 30 minutes!

Vegan Tacos

It’s easy to resolve to eat more plant-based healthy dinners, but actually doing it is another matter entirely. Here’s one way to make it mega-delicious: this Vegan Tacos Recipe! There are lots of ways to make a vegan taco, but this one is our favorite. It’s filled with hearty, spiced walnut taco meat that tastes remarkably similar to the real thing. Add refried beans, your favorite classic toppings, and dollop with a creamy, spicy sauce. These were a major hit at our house. Eating vegan dinners never tasted so good!

The basic idea behind vegan taco meat

There are lots of plant-based meat substitutes available these days: which speeds up the prep of these vegan tacos. But many brands can have additives and odd ingredients, and aren’t all that different from the processed food many home cooks like to avoid. So we like to make our own! Walnut taco meat might sound a little odd: until you try it for the first time. You’ll be sold, one bite in! Here are the basic steps (or jump right to the recipe):

  • Chop walnuts and mushrooms very finely to the texture resembling ground beef. Use a large food processor for the easiest prep.
  • Add savory seasonings to amp the “umami” flavor of these ingredients: tamari, ketchup, cumin, smoked paprika and garlic powder.
  • Saute the mixture until it is lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in a little olive oil to approximate the richness of ground beef.
Vegan Taco Meat

Toppings for vegan tacos

Once you’ve got the taco meat, all you need are the taco toppings! We wanted this vegan tacos recipe to mimic a classic ground beef taco, with toppings to match. So we’ve kept everything pretty classic! Here are our must-have toppings, and a few other ideas for getting creative:

  • Refried beans: This is a must! It makes the tacos more filling with plant-based protein, and provides a soft texture contrast to the taco meat
  • Pico de gallo and iceberg lettuce: These are so classic! They’re required too.
  • Corn: We like adding corn to bring in a yellow element to mimic cheese (but of course, it doesn’t with the flavor)
  • Pickled vegetables (optional): If you have time, Pickled Red Onions add a tangy flair, or use storebought jarred Pickled Jalapenos
  • Guacamole: Another natural fit!
  • Hot sauce: Add a few dashes of hot sauce or taco sauce! Speaking of sauces…
Vegan Tacos

A few vegan taco sauces

Sometimes when we’re making tacos, making a separate sauce feels like too much effort with all the work on the toppings. But in my opinion, the sauce is what ties it together! Vegan sauces are difficult because you can’t rely on the richness of dairy. But there are a few great options to make a killer sauce:

  • Chipotle Sauce: This Chipotle Sauce recipe uses tahini to make the creamy base. It’s quick to whisk up and the spicy favor is spot on.
  • Yum Yum Sauce: Use vegan mayo and coconut oil to make this rich and creamy Yum Yum Sauce.
  • Cilantro Sauce: This Cilantro Sauce requires soaking cashews for 1 hour, but it’s absolutely worth it for the zingy flavor.

Tips on warming tortillas

The last thing about this vegan tacos recipe: make sure to warm tortillas! It’s impossible to make a good taco with a cold, leathery tortilla. Here’s how to warm tortillas like a pro:

  • Place them over the flame of a gas burner. Place each tortilla directly on a gas burner for a few seconds per side, turning with tongs. This lightly chars the edges and warms the tortillas. Then throw them into a tortilla warmer!
  • Warm them in the oven. Go to How to Warm Tortillas. You can also char them with a kitchen torch, if you’re a stickler for a charred tortilla (which is what we did here, because we cook on this induction range!).
Vegan Tacos

More ways to make vegan tacos

This vegan tacos recipe is a take on a classic ground beef taco. But there are so many different ways to make a vegan taco! Here are some favorites:

This vegan tacos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free (with corn tortillas)

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Vegan Tacos

Easy Vegan Tacos


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 tacos 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan tacos recipe stars a flavor-bursting taco meat with classic toppings like pico and lettuce. An easy vegan dinner in 30 minutes!


Ingredients

Scale

For the vegan taco meat

  • 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
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon each smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the vegan tacos


Instructions

  1. Make the vegan taco meat: 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. Cook the vegan taco meat: 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 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. )
  3. Prep the toppings: Heat the refried beans on the stovetop with ½ teaspoon cumin and a few pinches of salt. Chop the iceberg lettuce.
  4. Make the sauce: If using, make the Chipotle Sauce or Yum Yum Sauce with vegan mayo (or make the Cilantro Sauce in advance).
  5. Warm the tortillas: Warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  6. Assemble the tacos: Add a generous spoonful of refried beans to a tortilla, then top with vegan taco meat, pico de gallo, lettuce, corn, and sauce.

Notes

*To make a smaller amount or reduce the calories, it also works with 1 cup walnuts and same amount of mushrooms. Reduce the kosher salt by ¼ teaspoon and then add more to taste. You can also substitute plant-based taco meat to speed up the recipe; here’s some notes on a favorite brand of ours.

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

Keywords: Vegan tacos, vegan tacos recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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