The options for plant-based meat alternatives are growing by leaps and bounds. While there are a number of convenient beef-less ground brands to choose from, vegan “beefy” crumbles are super-easy to make from scratch using whole foods. We’ve got a few great beef-less ground recipes to choose from on this site, including an Italian-flavored variation, one with an Asian spin, and two that are perfect for tacos and other Tex-Mex specialties.
Packaged brands often need help in the flavor department, so starting with a fairly blank canvas of grains (like quinoa or bulgur), walnuts, mushrooms, and tempeh, in varying combinations, isn’t much of a stretch in terms of added effort. Your homemade beef-less crumbles can also be made in bigger batches and in that way, are more economical than the packaged varieties.
Some of the popular brands of packaged plant-based (vegan) beefless ground, or crumbles, include Gardein™ Ultimate Beefless Ground; Trader Joe’s® Beef-less Ground; Morningstar Farms® Grillers Crumbles; Lightlife Smart Ground; Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Crumbles; and The Meatless Farm Co. Meat-Free Mince (the latter so far just in the U.K.). There’s also the completely blank canvas of TVP (AKA TSP, texturized vegetable or soy protein) and a nifty newer product called Longéve™ Plant-Based Protein Crumbles, which are used in this taco recipe.
Though we’re not opposed to packaged meat alternatives — being of the opinion that anything’s better than meat — they all have their pros and cons, and so presenting these whole foods beefy crumbles recipes just adds to your choices, and it’s always good to have options!
Homemade beef-less crumbles, if well seasoned and moist, are tasty in their own right and not necessarily as a dead ringer — excuse the metaphor — for ground beef. And if you’re looking to avoid soy and/or gluten, some of the recipes that follow will give you some fantastic options. All the recipes in this round-up freeze well, too.
Italian-Flavored Vegan Beef-less Ground
Italian-Flavored Vegan Beef-less Ground: Made with bulgur and/or quinoa, this recipe is also quite budget-friendly.I enjoy using a 50-50 combination of bulgur and quinoa, which results in a terrific melding of texture and protein. For an extra protein boost, there’s also an optional addition of hemp seeds. To give the crumbles plenty of Italian flavor, I simply use a good-quality marinara sauce rather than having to add a million ingredients! Use these homemade vegan crumbles over pasta, on pizza, or in hearty sandwiches.
Vegan Korean Beef-less Rice Bowl
Vegan Korean Beef-less Rice Bowl: Here’s an easy recipe to convert to a completely meatless version. The original recipe for Korean Beef Bowl is a simple dish made of ground beef bathed in a gently spiced and slightly sweet sauce, served over rice and topped with scallion. This recipe will show you how to make a simple Asian-flavored vegan beefy crumbles substitute from three basic plant proteins: red quinoa, black beans, and walnuts. In addition to using these vegan beefy crumbles in this rice bowl recipe, you can also toss them into noodle stir-fries as a nice change of pace from tofu.
Walnut and Mushroom Vegan Taco Crumbles
Walnut and Mushroom Vegan Taco Crumbles: These beefy-textured vegan taco crumbles are made with walnuts, mushrooms, and either bulgur or quinoa. Use the latter if you want to keep this gluten-free (and also make sure to use GF soy sauce in that case). The mushrooms and walnuts five this beef-less ground a truly scrumptious flavor. These crumbles are also good as a burrito filling or used to top tostadas.
Walnut & Tempeh Taco Filling
Walnut & Tempeh Taco Filling: Two high-protein foods team up to make an easy and tasty taco filling. This recipe goes a long way, so you may be lucky enough to wind up with leftovers. Use them to boost protein and add texture to bean dishes and stews, and, like the recipe above, can be used to fill burritos. You can always freeze half of the yield for a future taco dinner.
- See Veganize This! for more ways to make familiar dishes meatless.