Beefy vegan crumbles are so easy to make from whole foods. These beefy-textured plant-based crumbles are made with walnuts, mushrooms, and either bulgur or quinoa. This is a perfect way to make vegan taco “meat” and can be used in pasta sauces and other preparations.
Use the latter if you want to keep this gluten-free (and also make sure to use GF soy sauce in that case). Nicely seasoned and deliciously moist, these crumbles are great in their own right, not necessarily as a dead ringer — excuse the metaphor — for ground beef.
These crumbles are also good as a burrito filling, and any other way you might use beefy crumbles — casseroles, pastas, and more.
For another way to make vegan taco crumbles, see Walnut and Tempeh Taco Filling.
For making traditional-style tacos
Use hard taco shells or soft corn tortillas. Layer with these beefy vegan crumbles followed by your favorite add-ons. Use any combination of shredded lettuce, vegan cheese shreds, chopped tomatoes, slivered onions, cilantro, vegan sour cream, and/or pico de gallo or salsa.
- 1 cup bulgur or quinoa
- 1 tablespoon onion flakes
- 1 cup brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup good-quality ketchup
- 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning (see Note) or 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1 cup salsa, your favorite variety
- Combine the grain and onion flakes in a medium skillet with 2 cups water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the mushrooms and walnuts in a food processor and pulse on and off until they’re both broken up into tiny pieces. Don’t overdo it — you don’t want to end up with a puree.
- Add the mushroom and walnut mixture to the skillet along with an additional cup of water and the remaining ingredients except the salsa. Return to a simmer, then cook over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in half of the salsa, then turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook until the bottom of the mixture browns lightly, then stir; continue to do this until the entire mixture is touched with golden-brown spots here and there.
- Stir in the remaining salsa, cook for a minute or so longer, then remove from the heat. Use in tacos or any of the other ways suggested in this recipe’s headnote.
Look for barbecue seasonings in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets. The original Barbecue blend and Mesquite by McCormick® are my favorites, but there seem to be new flavors all the time that are excellent as well.
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