This collection of vegan Tex-Mex recipes might just become your family’s favorites — fantastic for everyday meals, company fare, Cinco de Mayo, or game days. Call these kinds of dishes what you will — Tex-Mex, Southwestern, Mexican — they’re easy, flexible, and crowd-pleasing, even if they’re not 100% authentic!
Many of these are nearly-instant meals that need only one central, uncomplicated preparation. For example, with fajitas, quesadillas, or tacos, you need only focus on a filling (which can often be made ahead of time), and most of the embellishments go on the table, allowing everyone to assemble their individual tastes.
Complete these meals easily
In many of these dishes, the protein, veggies, and even salad-y elements mingle companionably and are almost the entire meal in themselves, so completing the menu simply is the way to go.
Accompaniments that go well with tortilla dishes: Leafy greens, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, bell peppers, chili peppers, and tomatoes.
Choosing good tortillas
Many (but not all) of the dishes that follow use one form or another of tortillas. Not surprisingly, a key to making successful tortilla recipes is to use good-quality tortillas, whether corn or wheat.
As good as some of the products are in the Mexican foods section of supermarkets, some of the corn tortillas and white wheat tortillas aren’t the absolute best (they’ll definitely do in a pinch, though).
Corn tortillas can splinter and fall apart under even gentle heat or manipulation — something less than optimal for soft tacos, though it doesn’t matter as much in casseroles.
- More and better corn tortilla choices: Eons ago, after falling in love with Southwestern cuisine on a trip to New Mexico, I was disappointed to return to the northeast and find no resources for good corn tortillas. Fortunately, that’s changed, as stone-ground and even organic tortillas are readily available in natural food stores.
- Wheat tortillas: These, too, are open to more interpretation and include multi-grain, sprouted, and even tomato- and spinach-flavored varieties. Finding gluten-free corn tortillas isn’t be too difficult, but be aware that not all corn tortillas are necessarily be gluten-free; some varieties are mixed with a little whole wheat.
- Favorite tortilla brands: My personal faves include Vermont Tortilla Company, Sonoma, and Maria and Ricardo’s. Some good brands are available only regionally, so keep exploring, because good tortillas are, obviously, essential to making great tortilla dishes!
Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos: These can serve three purposes: they make a great appetizer for a small crowd a game day snack for sports watchers; and they can even function as an emergency dinner. Piled with corn, beans, vegan cheese, and veggies, these tasty nachos that can be made with pantry and refrigerator staples in a matter of minutes.
“Beefy” Vegan Nachos Grandes: This hefty version of nachos takes almost no time to make, and is fantastic party fare or even an emergency dinner. They’re also a great way to convince your skeptical friends to take a walk on the veg side.
Fiesta 7-Layer Bean Dip: This luscious dip is the perfect dish for any party! Make sure to serve it with plenty of chips because it disappears quickly. It’s a fantastic appetizer for game days, casual company gatherings, and Cinco de Mayo.
Creamy Guacamole with Red Onion: A Tex-Mex-themed meal wouldn’t be complete without guacamole. This creamy guacamole gets its yum factor from vegan mayonnaise. Flavored with lime, red onion, and jalapeño, serve the classic dip with chips or use it in other recipes.
Fresh Tomato & Peach Salsa: If you enjoy making fresh salsa once in a while, this salsa is a fantastic variation of classic salsa fresca. It’s especially welcome in midsummer, when peak tomato and peach season intersect. Feel free to use nectarines in place of peaches. We’ve got more homemade salsas for you to choose from:
- Fresh Tomato Salsa (Salsa Fresca)
- Cucumber & Pineapple Salsa
- Classic Mango Salsa
- Salsa Verde (Fresh Tomatillo Salsa)
Fajitas, Tacos, Tostadas, Burritos, & Quesadillas
Sizzling Tofu or Tempeh Fajitas: Fajita dinners are so much fun that those you’ve made dinner for will hardly notice that for the most part, they’re actually making their own meal, right at the table. When it comes to vegan Tex-Mex recipes, this one’s a contemporary classic.
Lime-Marinated Tofu Fajitas or Soft Tacos: These lime-marinated tofu fajitas or soft tacos are delectable served with the usual embellishments that go with tortilla dishes.
Easy Vegan Mushroom & Tempeh Chorizo (for Tacos & More): If you’re a DIY cook, you’ll be delighted by how easy and fast it is to make your own vegan mushroom and tempeh chorizo with this recipe. It’s fantastic in tacos, and can be added to to tofu scrambles, chili, and other Southwestern and Tex-Mex Dishes.
Vegan “Carne Asada” Tacos: Carne asada refers to beef steak strips marinated in citrus juices and grilled or in another way cooked over high heat. This recipe for vegan carne asada tacos replaces the meat with steak-style plant protein. It’s equally good made with seitan.
Summer Squash and Black Bean Soft Tacos: Lots of garlic and smoky seasoning infuses the base of these easy summer squash and black bean soft tacos with a wonderfully rich flavor.
Vegan Pulled Protein Tacos with Corn-Pineapple Salsa: Who needs pulled pork when you can use plant-based protein? These easy vegan pulled protein tacos are deliciously embellished with corn-pineapple salsa.
Walnut & Tempeh Taco Filling: Two high-protein foods team up to make a tasty walnut and tempeh taco filling. A cousin to vegan burger crumbles, this recipe goes a long way, so you may be lucky enough to wind up with leftovers.
Vegan Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Cream: Save the oceans as well as its living beings with these easy and tasty vegan fish tacos (or more accurately, fish-less tacos). Using any of the plant-based fish alternatives available or DIY tofu-based fillets, this recipe makes an easy, fun weeknight dinner.
Walnut & Mushroom Vegan Taco Crumbles: Here’s another way to make beef-less taco crumbles from whole foods. These beefy-textured vegan taco crumbles are made with walnuts, mushrooms, and either bulgur or quinoa. Use hard taco shells or soft corn tortillas. Layer with this filling, followed by your favorite add-ons.
Super-Easy Lentil Tacos: The tasty, high-protein filling in these super-crazy-easy lentil tacos consists of just two ingredients — canned lentils and bold-flavored chipotle salsa. Then, all you need are a few traditional toppings, and you’ve got a fun meal in minutes.
Easy Black Bean Tostadas: Tostadas are crisp tortillas layered with a variety of toppings — the standards include beans, lettuce, and salsa. Everyone can construct their own tostadas, making it easy on the cook. Tostadas make a quick weeknight meal for the family or fun fare to serve to company.
Hearty “Meaty” Vegan Vegetable Burritos: This recipe for hearty homemade vegan vegetable burritos can be made with various kinds of plant protein, from chick’n style strips to spicy chorizo. The choices suggested will offer a different kind of flavor profile each time you make it.
Tex-Mex Burrito Bowls: While not fitting precisely into this category, these bountiful bowlfuls — minus the tortillas — are bursting with what makes plant-based burritos so delicious.
Flexible & Easy Vegan Quesadillas: We can think of quesadillas as a Mexican/Southwestern grilled cheese sandwich. In our case, of course, that would mean vegan cheese. They can be an easy centerpiece for a meal, a hearty appetizer, or served with soups and salads.
Breakfast and brunch
Spicy Vegan Tofu Rancheros: Here’s a well-seasoned egg-free version of the Southwestern classic, huevos rancheros. It’s an easy brunch or dinner dish, served with slices of avocado and/or orange.
Southwestern Tofu Scramble: This vegan interpretation of migas, a dish developed for using up corn tortillas that have lost their freshness, is brimming with lively southwestern flavors. In the original recipe, tortilla pieces are scrambled with eggs; this version replaces eggs with tofu.
Savory Tex-Mex French Toast: Warm notes of chili peppers, tangy tomato, rich cumin, and savory oregano infuse this savory coconut milk-based take on French toast. A crisp sear on the outside locks in a rich, savory custard interior, a perfectly proportional contrast to delight the taste buds.
Casseroles & Skillets
Easy Vegan Taco Casserole: Vegan taco casserole makes Taco Tuesday even easier! In this super-easy recipe, corn tortillas form the bottom layer, followed by a bean layer and vegan cheese. Lettuce and tomato top it once out of the oven, followed by optional toppings to add to the deliciousness.
Vegan Enchilada Casserole: Filled with Southwestern flavors, and making a generous amount, this is my favorite in-a-hurry casserole. It involves throwing together a lot of convenient ingredients like canned beans, tomato sauce, and frozen corn. Yet it’s unbelievably good when you need an inexpensive, tasty dinner that everyone devours.
Southwestern Cheesy Vegan Rice Casserole: In this luscious casserole, salsa and cilantro add a vivid flavor to a simple preparation. This is a great dish to serve with a colorful salad or a dish featuring black beans.
Skillet Black Beans with Sweet Potatoes & Tortillas: Black beans with sweet potatoes embellished with tortillas is a hearty vegan main dish for families that enjoy lively south-of-the-border flavors.
Vegan Frijoles Borrachos: The name of this delicious and simple recipe, frijoles borrachos, literally means “drunken pinto beans.” Scoop up with fresh tortillas or serve as a simple, protein-packed side dish with other Southwestern or Mexican-style specialties that don’t themselves contain beans.
Soups & Stews
Tortilla Soup with Summer Squash & Corn: There are many ways to make this classic southwestern soup. One constant is the addition of corn tortillas, cut into strips and cooked on the stovetop or baked until crisp. The finished soup is either ladled over or garnished with them, which is what gives it a major yum factor.
Vegan Taco Soup: The presentation of this easy, offbeat vegan taco soup is fun and dramatic. It’s basically an easy chili base made with quinoa or bulgur, which lend the dish a meaty texture.
Quick Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili: With the addition of sweet potatoes, this easy chili is invigorating yet comforting. Black bean and sweet potato chili has become a classic combo, and this easy vegan recipe for it proves why it’s such a favorite.
Classic Vegetable Chili with Lots of Variations: Does the world really need another recipe for vegetable chili? Maybe not, but I want to share my version of a classic in the plant-based repertoire — easy, hearty, and inexpensive.
Texan Pinto Beans: Another from Hannah Kaminsky’s BitterSweetBlog, meltingly tender pinto beans cooked simply with a pinch of spice, this essential staple goes well with any down home meal, Texan or not. Make it as a side or the main event; you won’t be disappointed either way.
Do you want more vegan Tex-Mex recipes?