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Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Walnut Taco Meat
  2. More Vegan Taco Substitutions
  3. How to Use Walnut Taco Meat
  4. Vegan Walnut Taco Meat Recipe

I know… I know…vegan walnut taco meat?! If there is a nasty vegan meat option out there, then I’ve probably tried it. But if you’ve tasted this homemade recipe, you would celebrate with me. It’s a winner.

This simple staple will instantly elevate your homemade Mexican Pizza, Chipotle Veggie Bowl and more!

2 vegan tacos made with walnut taco meat on purple cabbage leaves.

How to Make Walnut Taco Meat

Use this vegan walnut taco meat recipe in as a vegan swap in a traditional Mexican meal with ground beef, or go a more plant-based route. It doesn’t matter because it’ll still be tasty.

If you buy vegan taco meat at a store, then it’s got about 22 ingredients that you can’t identify. Yet if you make it at home, it doesn’t get more simple and tasty than this walnut taco meat recipe because I stripped it down to the core of what is needed (and skip any additives). All you need is 6 ingredients:

  • walnuts
  • cumin
  • chili pepper
  • tamari
  • paprika

First, place the walnuts in a bowl. Then fill the rest of the way with water until the walnuts are completely covered. Let soak at 20 minutes, but ideally 8+ hours. I think of this step as the ‘slow cooker’ step. It makes a huge difference in texture, so don’t skip!

Once the walnuts are thoroughly soaked, drain and rinse, add the walnuts, tamari, and spices in a food processor, and process until it resembles minced meat. Make sure to taste after processing, so that you know you’ve got the right flavor. Sometimes I add in a bit of heat with some red pepper flakes, or a little garlic for some more flavor. And that’s it! Your walnut taco meat is ready to serve as well as savor.

vegan meat in a bowl ready to scoop.

More Vegan Taco Substitutions

According to The Vegan Society, “veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

At Simple Green Smoothies, we consider ourselves “plant-based” which means embracing fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, while trying to “limit” the amount of meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods. We eat mostly plants, yet aren’t gonna say no to homemade ice cream or a slice of pizza.

Here’s a few vegan-friendly tips for tacos.

  1. Swap a flour tortilla (which may contain lard) for a corn tortilla (or a cabbage leaf)
  2. Swap sour cream with cashew cream
  3. Skip the shredded cheese and instead, opt for more salsa or roasted shredded carrots on top of the vegan taco meat. You can even sprinkle on a little nutritional yeast, because it’s flavor is similar to cheese.
bowls of fresh pico de gallo, walnut taco meat, cashew cream and purple cabbage leaves next to a prepared taco.

How to Use Walnut Taco Meat

This vegan walnut taco meat is a versatile addition to many dishes. Serve it up with my sweet potato nachos from Simple Green Meals, in a delicious vegan taco salad, a lettuce-based taco salad, or in some tacos de papas. It works great as a swap in these chickpea tacos, and also with the BBQ flavors found in my jackfruit tacos.

Look… I told you that I’m obsessed with tacos, right?

Though this vegan meat does take a small amount of prep work, you’ll find yourself dreaming up all the ways you can use it after you take your first bite.

4.67 from 12 votes

Vegan Walnut Taco Meat

Vegan walnut taco meat is a great plant-based option to boost your protein and still get your taco fix. Works great in any mexican dish by swapping out traditional "taco meat" with this recipe.
Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired, Plant-Based
Serves: 1 people


  • food processor


  • ½ cup raw walnuts soaked
  • tsp tamari
  • tsp cumin ground
  • tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp chili powder
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  • Soak walnuts in water for at least 20 minutes (overnight is even better).
  • Drain and rinse well. Place the drained walnuts, tamari, and spices into a food processor.
  • Pulse until the walnuts are chopped and look like ground (minced) meat. 
  • Taste and add more spices if desired. 
  • Store in airtight container in fridge.


  • Soaking walnuts helps improve their digestibility and also remove phytic acid and tannin.
  • Soaking also improves the “meat-like” texture in the recipe.


Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 48mg, Potassium: 275mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 212IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 61mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 5 stars
    This is a game changer! Three colleagues tried my lunch (vegan taco meat) and loved it. I can think of many other uses for it in other dishes.

  2. 4 stars
    I was not to sure about the walnut taco meat, so after testing I added a little more spice to the meat. I also used the rest of the mixed greens as I did not have romaine nor did I want a lot of different types of salad. Used soy sauce in place of the tamari sauce. I enjoyed the salad but it was not my favorite.