This easy vegan walnut taco meat will blow away even the carnivores! Just 8 ingredients needed! Quick vegan dinner recipe idea!
If you are a busy person (insert: likely everyone), you are always looking for quick and easy meal ideas. Oftentimes we get into ruts and loo for new ideas. This vegan walnut taco meat is going to be your new go to!
It’s not only quick and easy, but it has minimal ingredients and can easily be meal prepped.
We don’t get to test every recipe on people who still consume animal products; however, with this vegan walnut taco meat, I knew it was a must.
Multiple people have tried this meatless walnut taco meat and both plant based and non-plant based people alike, agree that it’s amazing. Even kids love it.
What ingredients do you need for Vegan Walnut Taco Meat?
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is super flavorful, without needed a bunch of ingredients. In fact, you only need 8 ingredients for this vegetarian walnut taco meat. The ingredients that you need are:
- Avocado Oil (or Olive Oil — can sub for vegetable stock if oil free)
- Red Onion
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Taco Seasoning (we use this homemade taco seasoning – ensure if you are buying store bought that it is in fact dairy free as some are not)
- Soy sauce (sub for liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or soy free, gluten free sauce)
- Lime juice
How do you make Vegan Walnut Taco Meat?
The first step in making this vegetarian taco meat, is that you want to soak your walnuts to soften them more. We do this by placing in a bowl and covering with hot water for at least 30 minutes. You can also do this overnight if you need to prep ahead.
Once your walnuts have soaked, drain them and you are going to put them into a food processor and pulse until you have meat like crumbles. They should be small in size. Be careful not to over process or you will end up with walnut butter.
Then, chop your onions, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. You want everything to be very small because you are using a finely crumbled nut as your meat base.
Add a small amount of oil to a skillet, and saute your onions until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add in the garlic for 1 more minute. Sprinkle the taco seasoning across and stir to combine. Then, add in your sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 1 more minute.
Add in the crumbled walnut and stir very well. Pour in the soy sauce (or substitute) and the lime juice. Stir well. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. The color will go from a light brown to a robust, medium brown color hue. Take off the skillet and serve.
How much does this make and can I double the recipe?
We know some families are large and may need to make more. The recipe as written makes 2 cups of walnut “meat”. It’s enough for our family of four; however, you can easily double or triple the recipe for your needs. Just add the same amount line for line.
Where do I buy sun dried tomatoes?
Sun-dried tomatoes can in either dry packs like dried pepper (ancho chilis for example) or packed in oil. We personally prefer the jars packed in oil; however, we know many people avoid those because of the oil.
If using the jar in oil, you can find the jars in the section where olives are or in the pasta aisle of most grocers, including places like Walmart and Target. You could also purchase sun dried tomatoes in oil on Amazon.
For dry packs, you can find those in the produce aisle or ask your local grocer. They are hit or miss in store. Sometimes Walmart has in the produce aisle, Whole Foods usually has also.
Another option would be to call ahead before driving to your store to verify they have it or purchase sun-dried tomatoes no oil from Amazon.
For the non-oil sun-dried tomatoes, you will have to place into water to soften before using.
Can I sub sun dried tomatoes for something else?
We have tested this recipe subbing out the sun dried tomatoes for both tomato paste and fire roasted tomatoes. While you can sub either of these for the sun dried tomatoes, the texture will be different. It’s much more moist with either option and does not have a crumbly appearance like in our photos. The taste however is still great.
Can I make Top 8 Allergy Friendly vegan taco meat?
We can easily tell you how to make this Top 7 free, but the base of the dish is walnuts, making it hard to say it’s easily Top 8 Free.
The soy sauce is the only other ingredient that we are concerned with. Depending on the allergies you have, you can replace the soy sauce with gluten-free tamari, coconut aminos or a Top 8 no soy sauce (click links to see each).
While it will taste different and the texture won’t be the same, you could also pulse chickpeas down and replace the walnuts to make it Top 8 Allergy Free.
Can I meal prep this Vegan Walnut Taco Meat ahead of time?
Yes! This is actually a great meal prep planning dish to make. You have 2 options.
One, you can soak the walnuts for up to 2 days ahead of time, as well as chopping your vegetables (onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes) and store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Then, when ready proceed with the recipe as normal.
The other option is to make the entire recipe at one time, but place the finished product in an air tight container for up to 7 days in the fridge.
What toppings should I put on top of my walnut taco meat tacos?
Anything that you would normally serve on top of tacos goes great with this vegan meat dish. Things like avocados, tomatoes, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, lettuce, salsa, and more.
If you are looking for more creative dishes for taco toppings, you can try:
- Avocado Dip
- Mango Salsa
- Homemade Taco Sauce
- Kale Guacamole
- Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto
- Chipotle Corn Salsa
Can I use this to make vegan walnut meat quesadillas, burritos, etc?
Absolutely! This vegan “meat” option can be used in any dish you’d use taco seasoned meat for. Some ideas would be:
- Dairy Free Nachos
- Vegan Enchiladas (swap out the jackfruit for this)
- Added into our sweet potato and black bean tacos
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Vegan Walnut Taco Meat
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil (*See post if avoiding oil)
- 1 tbsp avocado (or olive) oil
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 tsp soy sauce (*See post for soy free options)
- 1 juice of a lime
- Soak walnuts in a bowl, covered with water for at least 30 minutes. *See post for tips on prepping ahead
- Drain walnuts. Put them into a food processor and pulse until you have meat like crumbles. *Be careful not to over process or you will end up with walnut butter.
- Chop onions, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes very fine.
- Add oil to a skillet, and saute your onions until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add in the garlic for 1 more minute.
- Sprinkle the taco seasoning across and stir to combine.
- Add in sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Add in the crumbled walnut and stir very well.
- Pour in the soy sauce (or substitute) and the lime juice. Stir well.
- Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Take off the stove and serve.
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This post was originally published on 5/17/2019 and updated on 2/20/2020 to include a video.