This vegan taco meat is an easy recipe for all of your favorite tacos, burritos, bowls and more! It’s gluten free, bursting with flavor and easy to make. It’ll impress even the biggest meat eater in the room!
Does anyone else feel like winter is the season for all things tacos and burritos? Maybe because it’s dark by noon and so cold out my lips are always blue so I crave all the warming spices of tacos.
This vegan taco meat is the perfect add in for tacos (of course), burrito bowls, or whatever else you can think of! I personally love it with a bowl of my Mexican rice because I am a child at heart and love simple foods.
It’s comfort food at its finest and perfect for some Sunday night football. You can wrap it up into a burrito with Spanish rice, cilantro, guac, salsa, chopped romaine, or do the same in taco shells.
Maybe the wrapping part sounds like a little *too* much effort for you on a Sunday evening (I get it) so you can throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and call it a day!
How to make this recipe
In the past, I’ve made vegan taco meat out of tofu and just cooked it on the stove. It tasted great this way, but I always found it was too wet no matter how long I cooked it for.
So, for this recipe I’ve opted to bake it! This allows SO much flavor to come through and dries out the ingredients just the right amount. To make this recipe, the first step is to preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the tofu from the container and drain out all excess liquid.
Place it between two towels and gently pat it to get some liquid out. If you have time, press it for about 20-30 minutes, but don’t worry if you skip that step, it still turns out great.
Cut the tofu into about 1 inch cubes and add to a food processor.
Add in all remaining ingredients including the chipotle peppers. You don’t need any of the sauce in the can of peppers, just 2 individual peppers from the can.
Pulse the food processor a few times, scrape down the sides, and pulse again. It should only really take a few spins of the food processor to get the right consistency. Be sure you just pulse the food processor and don’t let it run for too long because the tofu might end up mushy this way.
You want the tofu, walnuts and chipotle peppers broken up, but not completely mushy. See the above photo for reference.
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to break up any larger chunks and to ensure the edges don’t burn. When you stir, try to mix it up really well so everything cooks evenly.
Remove from oven and serve with Spanish rice, in burrito bowls, or tacos.
As written, this recipe has a decent amount of spice because of the chili powder and chipotle peppers. However, if you really want to take it up a notch, you can add in 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the mixture before you process it along with all other ingredients.
Or, just top the whole thing off with a generous drizzle of sriracha when you serve!
There are a million and one ways to serve this recipe. Whether you have it in an official taco, or maybe in a taco bowl, some of my favorite ingredients to serve with it include:
Spanish Rice or White Rice, Avocado, Salsa, romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, roasted red peppers and/or onions and fresh cilantro!
The best kind of tofu
Be sure to use extra firm tofu for this recipe. Some brands are firmer than others, I really love the brand SoyBoy (not sponsored) which I’ve found at many grocery stores, including Whole Foods. It’s the firmest of the firm and doesn’t require much pressing which is always a win.
Does it keep?
Once prepared, this vegan taco meat will keep in the fridge for 5 days. It will dry out slightly as it sits, so reheat it on the stove with some olive oil to keep it nice and moist.
This recipe has a slight smokey flavor. If you’re not into that, substitute the smoked paprika for regular paprika and use only 1 chipotle pepper instead of 2.
With 2 chipotle peppers, this vegan taco meat is fairly spicy. If you’re sensitive to spice, you can use just 1 pepper and add a bit more adobo sauce for flavor without spice. If you want more spice, you can add an extra chipotle or some red pepper flakes.
Try these next!
Follow along on on instagram and subscribe to my email list for more recipes and updates. Leave a comment and rating below if you try this recipe and let us know how it turns out!
Tofu and Walnut Vegan Taco Meat
by: claire cary
- 1 14 ounce block extra firm tofu
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 3 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the tofu from the container and drain out all excess liquid.
- Place it between two towels and gently pat it to get some liquid out. If you have time, press it for about 20 minutes, but don’t worry if you skip that step, it still turns out great.
- Cut the tofu into about 1 inch cubes and add to a food processor.
- Add in all remaining ingredients.
- Pulse a few times, scrape down the sides, and pulse again. It should only really take a few spins of the food processor to get the right consistency. You want the tofu, walnuts and chipotle peppers broken up, but not completely mushy. See photos for reference.
- Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to break up any larger chunks and to ensure the edges don’t burn. When you stir, try to mix it up really well so everything cooks evenly.
- Remove from oven and serve in tacos or burrito bowls!
This is so good! After it came out of the oven I put it in a pot with a can of black beans, a cup of frozen corn, a small can of diced jalapeños and a can of Rotel. It’s like a taco casserole. If I’d had some cilantro I would have added that too. Either way, so good!
Claire Cary says
Delicious! So happy you enjoyed this recipe.
My family is new to vegetarian meals and my boys are meat and potato guys. This one did not disappoint! My youngest didn’t even realize that it was not meat in the taco salads. I prepped it on the weekend and then reheated it with some taco sauce a few days later and it worked like a charm.
Claire Cary says
Love to hear that! Thank you Vanita!