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Vegan taco meat

Mushroom Cauliflower & Walnut Taco ‘Meat’ (Vegan, Paleo)

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan


Versatile and healthy, this vegan mushroom walnut taco meat can be used as a filling in quesadilla and burritos, as a topping in salads and taco bowls, enchiladas, casseroles and more. Below is the recipe for the oven-baked taco meat and the fresh tomato salsa you can serve with it.  This recipe is paleo, gluten-free, low-carb and plant-based.



300 g /0.6 lb Brown Swiss mushrooms, cut into quarters (or regular white mushrooms or Portobello)
150 g /5 oz cauliflower (3 large florets, cut into quarters)
80 g (1/2 cup) walnuts
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 45 halves, preserved in oil)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 red chili (such as serrano or jalapeno)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 tablespoons tomato paste

For fresh tomato salsa (small batch)
1 large tomato, finely diced
1/4 white or red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro
Juice of 1 lime juice
A generous pinch of salt
1/2 red chili, finely diced (serrano is hotter, jalapeno is milder)


  • Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 395 F.
  • Using a food processor, grind the mushrooms into ground meat like mince. Make sure to NOT over-grind them too fine as we want to keep a little texture and shape. I recommend doing this in smaller batches or using the Pulse function to process briefly, then scrape and stir, and pulse again. You can also chop the mushrooms finely with a knife. Transfer this mixture a large bowl.
  • Add cauliflower, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and chili to the food processor and grind into mince as well. Add this mixture to the bowl.
  • Add salt, spices, tomato paste, and a tablespoon of olive oil to the taco mixture and stir well.
  • Spread a sheet of baking parchment paper on a flat baking tray. Spread the taco mixture into a thin layer. Pop in the hot oven, middle shelf and cook for 25 minutes. Remove and stir the mixture and pop back for 10 more minutes. Then stir again and bake for 10 more minutes. The idea is to slowly rehydrate and brown the mixture. If it starts to brown quicker, stir it more frequently to allow the mixture to dry and cook through evenly.
  • While the taco meat is cooking, you can prepare other ingredients for your meal. I love making the fresh tomato salsa – simply mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • You can also cook some quinoa or roast sweet potatoes in the oven at the same time. Mash a bowl of guacamole and you’re ready to go.
  • Use this vegan taco meat as a filling in burritos or tacos or make a nutritious bowl with quinoa, guacamole and salsa. You can add cheese if you want.


This mushroom walnut taco meat can be stored in a container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat in a frying pan before using. I haven’t tried freezing it but I imagine that it will be quite moist when you defrost it and I would recommend to bake it the oven for 10-15 minutes again.

Below nutritional breakdown is for mushroom walnut taco meat only and is based on 0.5-0.75 cup of the cooked mixture per serving. Serving suggestions:

Paleo/Whole30 – sweet potatoes, tomato salsa and guacamole bowl or salad.

Gluten-free – quinoa or rice bowl with taco meat, salsa and guacamole (cheese can be added), or corn tacos.

Vegan – any of the above!


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 168
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 19.6 mg
  • Fat: 13.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Protein: 5.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
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