This recipe is an easy way to make vegan walnut taco meat: it has all the flavors of traditional taco meat but uses walnuts instead of ground beef. It has a magically similar look, taste, and texture to taco meat that will surprise even the most avid carnivores!
This is a simple recipe that uses raw walnuts as the base. There are no other add-ins to the 'taco' meat itself, except for onion, garlic, and some seasonings. The goal in creating this recipe was to mimic how beef taco meat is made; but swapping out beef for walnuts.
The recipe definitely has a 'nuttier' flavor than traditional taco meat, but it's a tasty compliment to the taco seasonings.
The primary flavors you'll taste in the recipe are the taco seasonings and delicious saltiness + acidity from the soy sauce and fresh lime juice.
You can use this walnut taco meat as a substitute for anywhere you would use regular taco meat!
Some popular ideas include:
- Soft or hard shell tacos
- Taco bowls
Be sure to also add all of your favorite taco toppings: cilantro, avocado, vegan cheese, salsa, red onions, etc. One of our favorite toppings for when we make this recipe is a drizzle of our of 5 Ingredient Vegan Cashew Queso.
- Yellow onion
- Garlic minced
- Olive oil
- Chili powder
- Soy sauce
- Walnuts: the walnuts should be raw and can be in whole or half pieces
- Soy sauce: substitute tamari sauce or coconut aminos to make this recipe gluten-free
- Lime juice: the option is to use the juice of a freshly-squeezed lime, but you can also substitute 1 tablespoon of lime juice from concentrate
- Cayenne pepper: if you're craving some spice, add cayenne pepper as part of your seasonings (start with ⅛ or ¼ teaspoon)
- Pulse the walnuts: use a food processor or blender (or chop them by hand) to pulse the walnuts until they are chopped but some large chunks remain. Avoid over-blending your walnuts as they will turn mushy. Set aside.
- Cook onion & garlic: to a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil. Saute the onion for 3 - 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add seasonings: turn the heat to medium low. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Cook walnuts: add the walnuts and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring often. Pour in the soy sauce, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix. Cook 4 - 5 minutes more, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are heated through and lightly browned.
- Serve: serve immediately in your favorite tacos or tacos bowls.
You'll want to pulse the walnuts in a food processor or blender several times. You can also chop them by hand. The goal is to still have some large chunks of walnuts left — if you over-blend the walnuts turn mush (like walnut butter).
Yes, this recipe makes about 4 servings (3 cups) of walnut taco meat. You can double (or triple) the recipe to make more by doubling all of the ingredients.
You'll cook the walnuts for about 6 - 8 minutes total. The walnuts should be heated through and lightly browned. Avoid cooking them for longer as the spices on the walnuts could burn/turn dark brown