This tasty walnut taco meat is packed with nutrients. It works great in a variety of dishes, ranging from tacos and burritos to salads and nachos. 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.
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Vegan Walnut Taco Meat for Everyone
Pico de gallo? Check!
Now we’re gonna finish it up with plant-based meat and cashew cream to make a wholesome + flavorful meal. No joke, every time Ryan and I make this meal, I always say “Gosh, I wish we made more! It’s sooooooo good!”
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.
How to Make Walnut Taco Meat
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:
- chili pepper
- lemon juice
First, place the walnuts in a bowl and add 2 tsp of lemon juice. Then fill the rest of the way with water until the walnuts are completely covered. Let soak at least 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. Then place 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.
3 Ways to go Vegan with Tacos
If you’re trying to eat cleaner and more plant-based, here’s a few tips for doing that when it comes to tacos.
- Swap a flour tortilla (which may contain lard) for a corn tortilla (or a cabbage leaf)
- Swap sour cream with cashew cream
- 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.
More Ways 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 plant based 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.
Vegan VS Plant-Based
You’ve most likely heard both of these words flying around a bit lately. They are quite similar in many ways, but also different. Plant-based eating is the basic principle of embracing fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, while trying to “limit” the amount of meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid eggs, dairy, meat— yet they will not benefit you as greatly as plants will.
Whereas, 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 welcome everyone to enjoy our recipes. My team creates recipes and lives a lifestyle around the plant-based mindset— or what we like to call “plant-power!” We eat mostly plants, yet aren’t gonna say no to homemade ice cream or a slice of pizza when visiting the city.
21-Day Plant-Based Diet
This walnut taco meat recipe is from Seasonal Cleanse. For three weeks, I avoid all dairy, gluten, meat and processed food and just use plants to nourish my body. A seasonal cleanse is a fantastic way to reset your cravings and kickstart your weight lost, as well as feel amazing.
No matter where you’re at right now, you can try to embrace a more plant-based, vegan or plant-powered lifestyle with this 21-Day Plant-Based Cleanse. It will help you experience the amazing flavors (and incredible results!) in just 3 weeks. You won’t be starving, you’ll get to enjoy tacos with vegan taco meat, nourishing veggie soups, homemade granola bars and daily smoothies.
Vegan Walnut Taco Meat
- food processor
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ¼ tsp tamari
- ½ tsp cumin ground
- dash smoked paprika
- ½ tsp chili powder
- Soak walnuts in medium bowl with water for at least 8 hours. If you don't have that much time, you can do flash soaking (see notes below)
- 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 until ready to assemble tacos.
- Flash soaking nuts: boil 2 cups of water and pour over walnuts. Allow to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour and continue making the recipe. Please note that flash soaking does destroy some of the nutrients in the walnuts.
- You can add lemon juice when soaking walnuts to neutralize and break down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors found in nuts.
will the texture of the walnut soften when boiled? my nuts are very hard still after soaking for about 4 hours
Adding 2 tsp of lemon juice helps to soften them as well, then fill the rest of the way with water until the walnuts are completely covered. Let soak at least 8 hours. I think of this step as the ‘slow cooker’ step. It makes a huge difference in texture, so keep ’em soaking!
Loved this recipe. I used smoked paprika & upped the quantity of the spices. Used low sodium tamari.
A good alternative.
Really flavourful salad. Walnut taco meat was surprisingly very tasty. Substitute roasted sweet potatoes for tortilla chips. Will definitely be making this again.
What a great salad, I used Mexican Street corn and the cashew cream in it. Really really great flavors I will make this again.
I did not use the tortilla chips because I’m not a fan of those
Delicious!! Really flavorful and a great meatless dinner!! Love it!!
Super easy and tastes like taco seasoned meat!
I was not looking forward to trying this. I am so glad I did – it was really delicious! All the components together really worked.
I’ll give it a try.
Definitely do and let us know what you think!
I’m allergic to most nuts (all but peanuts), do you think I could do this with seeds (pumpkin, sunflower?) or would peanuts work?
That’s a good question, Kamilah! You could try peanuts but I’m not sure if those or seeds would work as well. I suggest giving mushrooms a try, like baby Bellas for example. I made some taco meat from another SGS recipe and it called for mushrooms + walnuts but I think you could use mushrooms only. And even if you’re on the fence with mushrooms, please try it out anyway! With all the wonderful spices and the way mushrooms (especially Bellas) have a meaty texture, you won’t be able to tell your taco “meat” used to be fungi. 😀
I’ve made this taco “meat” when doing the cleanse, and it’s surprisingly a great swap for ground beef. It has the right texture and size, and the seasoning makes up most the flavor 🙂
I agree, Olivia! I love this recipe and how flavorful it is with all the spices.
Do you just eat this cold (or room temperature) when it’s time to assemble the tacos? Or do you warm the walnut “meat” up?
You can go either way. I usually eat it at room temp, but it’s really good warmed up too. I would just be careful to only heat it too much (like you don’t want it to be smoking hot) because that’ll “zap” the nutrients out of the nuts.
This is my go-to taco meat recipe! So glad it’s on the blog on!!! The first I had it from your 21-day autumn cleanse I felt like I was in heaven— it really tastes like taco meat!!!! And it’s so easy to make… and store in the fridge during the week. I still make this at least once a month and love how much protein I can get here. Happy Cinco de Mayo Jen and the rawkstar team!
Awww! I’m so glad you fell in love with this recipe like I did. It’s really a winner (and a great way to get meat lovers to see how “meaty” plant-based recipes can be. It’s not all soups and salads here!
Can I sub pecans for walnuts?
For sure! That’s probably the best substitute there is since it will have a similar color, taste and texture. Enjoy Mada and happy Cinco de Mayo!