The BEST Vegan “Meat” for Tacos, Meatloaf, Lasagna and More!
Ever since giving up meat for health reasons and adopting more or less a plant-based, vegan diet, we’ve been searching for a decent substitute for those days when what you really want is a good old-fashioned taco, burger or meatloaf. I love my veggies, and bean burgers are great, don’t get me wrong, but I like to bite into something with a bit of umami and a lot of flavor in a familiar format every once in a while. Easy vegan recipes are hard to come by, and my family has other dietary considerations which ruled out some of the most popular vegan meat recipes we’d found. So, I’ve been experimenting…
I’ve been working on this recipe for a few months, trying various implementations, and I think I’ve got it down well enough to share. The basic meat is really very simple – three main ingredients diced and sautéed with herbs, spices, salt and pepper, with some liquids for flavor. I can make the basic “meat” in about 30-40 minutes, and that’s good enough to eat by itself but we like to mix it up and have different meals from the same recipe throughout the week. With this basic vegan meat recipe you can make everything from vegan taco meat for tacos, tostadas or enchiladas; vegan meat sauce for pasta or lasagna; vegan taquitos; vegetarian meatloaf and meatballs as well as burgers. I frequently double or even triple the recipe because…teenagers.
Vegan Meat Recipe
Makes about 3 cups finished “meat” or 6 servings
Approximately 350 calories per serving
2 Tbs grapeseed, avocado or other neutral vegetable oil, divided
1 large red onion, approximately 2 cups, diced into small dice
16 oz mushrooms, diced into small dice
2 Tbs Earth Balance or other vegetarian butter substitute
3 Tbs (or to taste) fresh garlic, minced
2 cups walnuts, finely diced
2 tsp salt, divided
Heat a large skillet (I like my T-Fal 12″ induction ready saute pan for this) to medium heat and add 1 TBs oil to pan. Add all the red onion and half the salt and sauté the onions until translucent. Add mushrooms to pan and the other teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until mushrooms have lost their moisture and the onions have cooked down.
Push mixture to the side of the pan and add Earth Balance and remaining Tbs oil to pan. Once melted, add the garlic (I like a LOT of garlic!) and cook until fragrant. then add the chopped walnuts to the garlic and stir to combine. Allow to toast for a couple minutes, then mix walnuts and garlic into the mushrooms and onion mixture.
That is the basic meat – without any additional seasonings, it could go any which way at this point. This is so yummy while cooking, that we often end up just eating it straight away with a fork, but there are so many potentials for easy vegan meals here. Mexican taco meat, Italian lasagna meat, juicy burger meat, meatloaf…
This recipe for vegan meat is high in manganese, very high in Vitamin B6, low in sugar and has no cholesterol.
Vegan Taco Meat Recipe
Makes about 3 1/2 cups or 6 servings
Approximately 413 calories per serving
2 TBs cider vinegar
1 TBs vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 TBs dried minced onion
1 TBs cumin
1 TBs garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 TBs oregano
2 TBs, more or less to taste, chili powder
2 tsp dijon or brown mustard
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup port wine
Salt and pepper to taste
To the base “meat” recipe above, in the pan over medium heat add the cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and simmer all ingredients until liquids have been mostly absorbed.
Add minced onion, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chili powder to the meat and stir to combine. Cook for about 10 minutes, allow bits to begin to brown on the bottom of pan. Add mustard and tomato paste and mix, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add port wine and combine, again scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to low and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until most of the moisture has been absorbed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve as meat along with sides of lettuce, tomato, onion, lime, and any other toppings you like in everything from tacos to tostadas, taquitos, burritos, enchiladas, taco salad or other any recipe calling for Mexican seasoned ground beef.
This recipe is high in manganese, very high in Vitamin B6, contains lycopene and no cholesterol. Next up is the variation of this vegan meat recipe for meatloaf. Baked and glazed, there is nothing missing from this classic comfort food – except the meat. Also still to come, how to turn it into meat sauce, meatballs and burgers … Stay tuned!