This vegan taco meat is made with tofu, walnuts and spices and makes a wonderfully chewy and ‘meaty’ vegan meat substitute.
This vegan taco meat is the best thing ever to go in your tacos! Or on top of your nachos.
It’s chewy and delicious and high in protein and makes a nice big portion so you can either serve a bunch of people for taco night or just eat tacos for days in a row (highly recommended).
It’s also really easy to make! Don’t let all the process photos fool you into thinking it’s more complicated than it is, this is simple.
How To Make Vegan Taco Meat
Full instructions and measurements can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is just a summary of the recipe to go along with the process photos below.
- The base ingredients for this vegan taco meat are tofu and walnuts.
- Add the walnuts to the food processor and process into crumbles.
- Add tofu to a bowl and mash it with a fork.
- Add the walnut crumbles and crumbled tofu to a bowl or dish.
- Add garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and tomato paste to a measuring jug and mix it into a thick sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the crumbled tofu and walnuts and mix it until everything is coated with the sauce.
- Spread it out over a parchment lined baking tray and bake until perfectly dried out and ‘meaty’ in texture.
- And there you have it!
Walnuts – create a really great texture with the tofu. I have not tested this with other nuts but it’s possible that other nuts (pecans and almonds come to mind) could also work.
Tofu – should be extra firm and does not need to be pressed first.
Dark soy sauce – we used a dark soy sauce which is responsible for the great color of this taco meat. Dark soy sauce and tomato paste combine to create a really great color there.
We tried a batch using regular soy sauce and it was delicious but the color was not nearly so rich, so just bear it in mind that you can use any soy sauce but there might be a slight difference in color.
How To Serve Vegan Taco Meat
So of course, it’s wonderful on some vegan tacos.
Serve in tacos with shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole and some vegan sour cream for a seriously delicious dinner!
But you’ll also love this on your fully loaded vegan nachos. Our recipe for vegan nachos features this vegan taco meat as one of the stars of the show.
This would also make a wonderful addition to other delicious vegan Mexican recipes like our vegan enchiladas, vegan quesadillas and veggie fajitas. It would be great in a vegan burrito or vegan burrito bowl too. It would also be divine sprinkled on a salad or over some vegan chili.
Storing and Freezing
Keep leftovers stored in the fridge and enjoy over the next 4-5 days. You can serve it cold or you can reheat it.
You can also freeze it if you want to. When you’re ready for it, thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat as usual.
More Vegan Meat Substitutes
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
Vegan Taco Meat
- 2 cups Walnuts (200g)
- 16 ounces Extra Firm Tofu (450g)
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce or sub tamari for gluten-free
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Add walnuts to the food processor and process into crumbles. Mash the tofu with a fork. Add the crushed walnuts and crumbled tofu to a dish.
- Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and tomato paste to a measuring jug and whisk into a thick sauce.
- Mix the sauce in with the tofu and walnut crumbles and mix in until everything is coated in the sauce.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and spread out evenly across the tray.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, bring it out at the 15 minute mark and give it a stir and then put it back in.
- Serve in tacos with shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole and vegan sour cream.
- If you want this vegan taco meat to be entirely gluten-free then use a gluten-free soy sauce or switch for tamari. If you use a regular (not dark) soy sauce, the color of the taco meat will be much lighter.
- This makes a fairly large portion, enough for 6 people if served with tacos and other fillings.
- Nutritional information is for vegan taco meat only and not anything else you would serve it with.
- This recipe was first published in October 2018.
Suzie Jones says
I loved this! Added some canned chipotle chillies but otherwise made it just as the recipe is written and loved it.
Alison Andrews says
Thanks so much Suzie!
Thank goodness we found this recipe. I hadn’t been able to win my husband over with any substitutes before like lentil recipes. We love this! We freeze the leftovers and put it on baked potatoes later and it’s so good. I’m a little unsure of whether to press the tofu or not, I know it says you don’t have to but it seems like a lot of moisture. Does it turn out just as good without any pressing? Thank you!
Alison Andrews says
So happy you love the recipe Erica! Extra firm tofu doesn’t have much moisture to remove, and also since it is baking it turns out great even without pressing the tofu. If you want to try it pressed then definitely go ahead and compare it! 🙂
Alert the press! A once in a lifetime event has occurred. My husband, Mr. Meat & Potatoes, Mr. Must have meat with every meal, has announced that this is better than regular taco meat. “You can make this instead of regular taco meat from now on.” I hope you realize the magnitude of this statement. It is astronomical. My vegan daughter and I thank you for this recipe!
Alison Andrews says
YAY! That’s so amazing! So pleased to hear that. Thanks so much for sharing and the amazing review.
Delicious and so versatile, I use it a lot as a substitute for bolognaise or else with beans etc. Thank you.
Alison Andrews says
So happy to hear that! Thanks for posting and the awesome review!
Great recipe but for my taste, a tad sweet. I’ll omit the maple syrup next time. Doubles well.