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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Mushroom Walnut Taco Meat

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I’ve created a delicious mushroom walnut taco meat that’s a perfect vegan substitute for ground beef, ideal for anyone looking for a plant-based option. This easy-to-make recipe, ready in about 15 minutes, offers the same crumbly texture and rich flavor as traditional taco meat, making it great for tacos, burrito bowls, and more. It’s a simple, healthy choice for busy weeknights, ensuring a satisfying meal for those seeking plant-based alternatives!

Walnut taco meat, served in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.

While vegetarian tacos with beans and rice are tasty, sometimes it’s nice to have a vegan meat substitute that replicates traditional tacos. I wanted something that had great flavor and the same crumbly texture as ground beef, but also happened to be plant based.

That’s where this walnut taco meat recipe comes in! I tested this a few times with different proportions of ingredients, and I can confidently say that this walnut mushroom meat substitute is super hearty and satisfying, very similar to the real deal, so even meat eaters will love it!

Vegan walnut tacos will become a regular in your rotation of meals. Everyone will love it, and you can feel good about providing your family with a wholesome, hearty meal with protein, healthy fats, and fiber!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Quick And Easy To Make: This recipe is super easy, requiring only a skillet and some basic ingredients. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just whipping up a quick dinner, this vegan walnut taco meat is an affordable and satisfying choice that promises a rich blend of flavors and textures.

Perfect For Family Dinners: Taco night offers something for the whole family with the addition of this recipe! It’s ideal for anyone, regardless of age or dietary preference. I recommend serving it alongside a toppings bar so everyone can customize their meal. Kids especially love customizing their tacos with various toppings, making dinner time fun and interactive. The walnut and mushroom combo creates a crumbly texture that closely mimics ground beef, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters will be impressed.

A Healthier Option: There are many vegan meat substitutes on the market that are super processed and include modified ingredients (source). Making your own vegan taco meat is a great, whole-food-based alternative to processed vegan meats.

Packed With Plant-Based Protein: The walnut crumbles not only provide a great texture, they also give a good boost of protein to this vegan walnut meat recipe.

Versatile: While this mushroom walnut meat is great for tacos, it’s also versatile enough to be used in salads, pasta, or as a savory filling for wraps. It can also be customized with any of your favorite spices. Not in the mood for Mexican spices? You can swap out some of the ingredients for a whole new flavor. Keep reading (in the variations section below) to see how to transform this delicious vegan walnut meat with an Asian flare, Indian spices, or even classic Italian flavors for a plant based bolognese pasta sauce!

Loaded With Flavor: This mushroom walnut taco meat proves that plant-based eating can be flavorful, nourishing, and satisfying! It suits a Mexican cuisine theme and makes for the best vegan taco recipe!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

With simple ingredients, this walnut and mushroom meat recipe makes grocery shopping a breeze! You might even have some of these items already on hand. See the recipe card at the end of this post for daily values and nutritional information.

Ingredients for walnut taco meat recipe on a white background.
  • Walnuts: When perfectly pulsed, the walnuts create a protein-rich base for this meatless mixture and add a bit of a crunchy texture. Just be careful to not over-blend into a walnut butter!
  • Cremini Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a great swap when you are looking for that meaty texture and are a popular choice for vegan meat replacements. They have an earthy flavor that pairs well with the walnuts.
  • Olive Oil, Garlic & Onion: Nearly any savory recipe is enhanced by the addition of garlic and onion! These two are a must, adding the best flavor to this vegan walnut ground beef.
  • Tomato Paste: This will help the mixture combine together, while also boosting the taste.
  • Soy Sauce: This adds a kick of flavor, but you won’t directly taste the soy sauce!
  • Seasonings: Smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and dried oregano give this mushroom walnut meat the perfect balance of savory flavor!

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Nuts: While walnuts tend to provide a more neutral profile for this taco meat, you can really use any nut or seed of choice! Almonds or sunflower seeds will work well. Alternatively, pre-cooked lentils can be used in place of walnuts. Use any of these as a 1:1 substitution for the walnuts.
  • Mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms, also known as baby bella mushrooms, are my favorite in this recipe but feel free to play around with other variations! Use as a 1:1 substitution for the creminis.
  • Oil: Any high heat oil, like avocado oil, will work for sauteeing the mixture, use as a 1:1 substitution. 
  • Coconut Aminos: If you do not have any soy sauce handy, opt for coconut aminos as a 1:1 sub. This will still provide a touch of umami flavor to the vegetarian taco meat.

🔪 How To Make Walnut Taco Meat

This quick and tasty meal is totally beginner friendly, and ready is under 20 minutes! Whether you are making a vegan burrito bowl or hearty tacos, this is a great recipe to impress your friends and family. See our video in the recipe card below for more detailed instructions! Here is how to make walnut meat:

Step 1 – Pulse Walnuts & Mushrooms: In a high speed food processor combine the raw walnuts and mushrooms. Pulse several times to chop the ingredients until the mixture resembles ground beef. Do not over-process! Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Ground walnuts and mushrooms mixed in a mixing bowl.

Step 2 – Saute Onion & Garlic: Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat and sauté the diced onion until soft. Next, add the minced garlic and walnut mixture to the pan and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Mushroom walnut meat cooking in a pan.

Step 3 – Add Remaining Ingredients: Combine the remaining ingredients and stir.

Mushroom and walnut meat added to a saute pan with spices.

Step 4 – Sauté for another 3 minutes to cook the taco filling completely. 

Vegan walnut meat for tacos, sauteeing in a pan.

Step 5 – Adjust If Needed: Adjust seasoning to taste. Fill your tacos or burritos, and enjoy!

Vegan walnut taco meat, served in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Avoid Over-Processing: Use the food processor as an easy method for chopping the mushrooms and walnuts into perfect crumbles. Make sure to “pulse” and not “process” — don’t turn on the food processor continuously. You will only need to pulse a few times to get a meaty consistency that resembles ground beef. Alternatively, you can also use a knife to chop the mushrooms and walnuts into small pieces. 
  • Use Sliced Mushrooms: Instead of adding in whole mushrooms, it is important to slice the mushrooms first. This will allow the walnuts and mushrooms to evenly chop in the food processor.
  • Save Time: While this is already a fast recipe, you can cut down on time even more by using a premade taco seasoning instead of separate spices!
  • Extra Spice: If you love spicy food, this is the tip for you! Add in some adobo sauce or hot sauce with the mixture to a little extra heat. You could also add in cayenne pepper.
  • Smoky Flavor: If you aren’t a fan of the smoky flavor, opt for regular paprika. However, if you are a fan of it you could add an extra boost with liquid smoke.

📖 Variations 

This easy recipe can be used in so many different ways, aside from walnut meat tacos! Check out these suggestions for next time:

  • Italian: Remove the cumin from the recipe and add ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp dried Italian herbs. Stir through some marinara sauce and serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Mexican: If you want to level up the Mexican flavors, add 1 tsp chili powder, ½ tbsp ground coriander, ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with your favorite Mexican sides.
  • Turkish: Combine ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander and ½ diced red bell pepper with the recipe above. Use it as a filling for vegan gozleme (Turkish stuffed flatbread) or serve with your favorite Turkish sides.
  • Indian: Remove the oregano from the recipe and add ½ tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground coriander and ½ tsp cayenne pepper. Perfect for a ground beef curry or ground beef and potatoes (keema aloo)!
  • Asian: Remove paprika and oregano from the recipe and add chopped lemongrass, finely chopped ginger, fresh chilies, cilantro, and optional ground cinnamon.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

As shown above, this ground walnut meat can be served in a variety of dishes depending on how you season it! Enjoy it as a vegan swap for any recipe that calls for ground meat. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve this as an alternative to classic taco meat:

  • Taco Toppings: Serve the walnut meat for vegan tacos, taco salad, burritos, or burrito bowls, and pair with toppings like this pineapple pico de gallo, vegan sour cream, smoky red pepper crema, cheese, and a little bit of fresh lime juice. This meat goes well with corn or flour tortillas, or a side of chips!
  • For Fajitas: Use this for the ultimate vegan fajitas! Serve along with sauteed bell peppers and onions, black beans, rice, healthy guacamole, homemade salsa, and a side of your favorite tortillas.
  • For Nachos: Make vegan nachos, lining up these air fryer tortilla chips in a single layer and garnishing with the walnut mushroom taco meat and vegan cheese. Top with avocado crema, chopped onion, and maybe even some black bean salsa!

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This vegan walnut meat for tacos is dairy-free and vegan, but might need a few additional modifications if you have further dietary needs!

  • Gluten-Free & Soy-Free Option: Most soy sauces will contain gluten. Opt for gluten-free tamari, or make it totally soy-free with coconut aminos. Be sure to use GF corn tortillas or lettuce wraps as your taco shell, too.
  • Nut-Free Option: If you have a nut allergy, swap the walnuts for a seed like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. 

🫙 Storage Directions

  • To Refrigerate: Once cooled, place leftover walnut mushroom meat in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: When ready to enjoy, add a little oil to a pan and heat the nut meat until warm, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can also place in a microwave safe dish and reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

❓Recipe FAQs

HOW CAN I MAKE THE VEGAN TACO MEAT HAVE A SIMILAR TEXTURE TO GROUND MEAT?

The cremini mushrooms provide the perfect meaty texture to replicate ground meat. When pulsed into small bits and sauteed, the mushrooms will soften into a chewy, juicy consistency! It is a good idea to blend up the mixture in gradual pulses, until it begins to look similar to ground meat crumbles. Do not overmix as this will result in a paste rather than the chunky texture.

WHAT ELSE CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR MEAT IN TACOS?

There are so many vegan and vegetarian friendly taco fillings! In addition to this easy vegan walnut taco meat you can try black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, vegan chorizo, or other nut based meat mixtures! Two other great alternatives are lentil walnut taco meat or walnut cauliflower taco meat!

DOES WALNUT MEAT GO BAD?

Yes, this vegan walnut meat recipe uses clean, whole food ingredients with no preservatives – so it will go bad if it’s not stored properly. When stored properly in the fridge, it will keep for about 4 days.

Healthy walnut taco meat, served in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.

🥣 More Vegan Recipes!

Love this vegan recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/5wvasft4NDw
Walnut taco meat, served in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Mushroom Walnut Taco Meat

This vegan mushroom walnut taco meat makes the perfect plant-based alternative to any recipe calling for ground beef! Ready in about 15 minutes, with just a handful of ingredients, this will become a go-to recipe for busy weeknights. Perfect for tacos, burrito bowls, and more!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine the walnuts and mushrooms in a high speed food processor and pulse several times to chop the ingredients to resemble ground beef. Making sure not to chop too fine otherwise the mushroom will become too soft and watery.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the diced onion until soft.
  • Next, add the minced garlic and walnut mixture to the pan and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Sauté for another 3 minutes to cook completely.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

Flavor Variations:
  • Italian: Remove the cumin from the recipe and add ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp dried Italian herbs. Stir through some marinara sauce and serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Mexican: Add 1 tsp chilli powder, ½ tbsp ground coriander, ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with your favorite Mexican sides.
  • Turkish: Combine ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander and ½ diced red bell pepper with the recipe above. Use as a filling for vegan gozleme or serve with your favorite turkish sides.
  • Indian: Remove the oregano from the recipe and add ½ tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground coriander and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.
  • Asian: Remove paprika and oregano from the recipe and add chopped lemon grass, finely chopped ginger, fresh chilies chopped, cilantro and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
Other Tips:
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Cremini or button mushrooms can be used in this recipe.
  • Do not overpulse the walnuts and mushrooms as this will cause the vegan taco meat to become soggy and too wet.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 405mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g

10 responses to “Mushroom Walnut Taco Meat”

  1. I keep meaning to try this but never got around to it until now! And I’m so glad I did – this was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  2. Using walnuts and mushrooms as the “meaty” part for tacos sounds fabulous. Great for taco Tuesday or meatless Monday.5 stars

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