Mushroom Vegan Taco Meat (Nut Free, Grain Free)

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This Vegan Taco Meat is packed full of veggies and seasonings for a tasty meat substitute that will keep you full for hours. It’s also soy free, grain free, and nut free!  Make it ahead of time for easy, vegan, low-carb, and kid-friendly meals! 

Overhead image of vegan taco meat cooked on a sheet pan.

Happy May! If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that this month we’re moving away from spring produce and focusing on kid-friendly recipes – and what kid doesn’t like tacos? Ground beef taco meat is a staple in most homes for taco Tuesday. But this vegan taco meat will give you all the flavor without anyone asking, “where’s the beef?” 

This recipe is loaded with healthy vegetables and flavorful spices for an incredible taco flavor with none of the animal meat. I know you’re thinking there’s no way your kids will eat vegetables in place of meat, but don’t worry! When you’re finished this vegan taco meat recipe will resemble traditional ground beef and be so tasty your kids won’t even realize it’s good for them, too! 

Easy Meatless Meals

Whether you’re vegan or not, this recipe is guaranteed to please a crowd. Plus, incorporating one meatless meal a week is a great way to add more variety to your diet, try new foods, and save money. You won’t believe how far you can stretch vegan and vegetarian recipes or just how filling they are to eat! 

Overhead close up image of vegan taco meat in tortillas with avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, on a wooden platter.

This recipe is ready in about 30 minutes and is a great meal prep staple to keep on hand for those days when you’re just out of creativity for cooking but still want to serve something nutritious. Try this vegan meat mix on spaghetti squash with homemade nomato sauce for a filling, an alternative to spaghetti and meat sauce. 

What is this Vegan Taco Meat Recipe Made Out Of? 

In true Cotter Crunch fashion, this Vegan Taco Meat is made out of only good-for-you ingredients. As mentioned, it is loaded with fresh vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, and jalapeños, but the star of the show is the mushrooms. Did you know mushrooms are a great source of fiber and antioxidants? They’re also packed with protein and what gives this recipe a true “meaty” texture and flavor. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at all the incredible health benefits of mushrooms here. For this recipe, we used crimini mushrooms, but any you prefer will work. 

Overhead image of a sheet pan with ingredients for vegan taco meat including: yellow onion, mushrooms, spices, shredded carrots, cauliflower florets, and jalapeno.

To add to the meatiness of the mushrooms, we also tossed in ground sunflower seeds. Super tasty, these little nutrient powerhouses are also full of healthy fats to keep you satisfied. Of course, if you have a sunflower allergy feel free to omit them from this recipe, but we do not recommend substituting them with something else as the taco meat flavor will be changed. 

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Nutrient-dense cremini mushrooms are perfect for those looking to increase their Vitamin B, selenium, potassium, and Vitamin D intake. These tiny powerhouse veggies (fungi) are especially beneficial to those who struggle with headaches, thyroid issues, depression, and insomnia.

How to Make Vegan Taco Meat

This vegan taco meat recipe is super simple to make but does require a few tools including a food processor and the oven. The food processor is needed to chop all the veggies into small pieces. However, if you do not have one available, feel free to use a blender or even a vegetable chopper instead. No matter what method you choose, just be sure not to over-process your veggies. You don’t want rice-like or diced veggies but thicker pieces that are roughly the size of beef crumbles.

Once well chopped, the easiest cooking method is to toss your vegan taco meat into the oven on a sheet pan. If necessary, you could use a stovetop as well. However, this method will take longer and may result in uneven cooking. If you do choose to use the stovetop, set your heat on a medium level, and stir the mixture frequently to prevent burning and allow all the pieces to cook. 

How to Store Vegan Mushroom Taco Meat

For quick recipes, make this vegan taco meat ahead of time for an easy family-friendly meal prep! This recipe can easily be doubled to accommodate feeding a crowd and supporting the appetites of your growing little ones. Just be sure to store your meat in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you could toss it in an airtight container, and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, when you’re ready to use it, just reheat your “meat,” and toss it in whatever recipe you’re using. 

Close up image of vegan taco meat being scooped with a spatula off of a sheet pan.

What Does Vegan Taco Meat Taste Like? 

What vegan meat tastes like is probably the most common question I get. Given the name, this recipe definitely has that familiar taco flavor we all love. Also, while it is not an exact replica, this recipe comes pretty close to the texture and mouth-feel of real meat. The mushrooms give off that slightly gummy texture of beef. Meanwhile, the rest of the veggies cook until they are soft and absorb all of the smoky flavors of the spices so you don’t even realize you’re eating veggies. 

Overhead tabletop image of vegan tacos being prepared with vegan taco meat. Taco toppings including avocado, slaw, limes, cilantro, and green onions can also be seen.

How to Serve Vegan Mushroom Taco Meat

The obvious answer to how to serve taco meat is in tacos, but there are so many incredible ways you can serve this recipe! Of course, it works well in both hard and soft taco shells as well as lettuce wraps. However, this vegan taco meat recipe can also be used as a meat replacement in Loaded Leftover Turkey Nachos Salad Bowls, as a topping for No Yeast Pizza Dough, a dip with Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips, and as a true Tex-Mex spin on this Crock Pot BBQ Taco Salad! Really, the options are endless with this recipe. Toss it into quesadillas, on a bed of lettuce, baked in stuffed peppers, or however you like! 

Close up image of charred tortillas with vegan taco meat served as soft shell tacos with purple cabbage and avocado slices.

More Meatless Meal Ideas

I hope you incorporate this Vegan Taco Meat into your Meatless Monday or meal prep routine! If you do get creative with how you use it, I would love it if you shared how you serve this recipe in the comments below or over on Instagram


Close up image of vegan taco meat being scooped with a spatula off of a sheet pan.

Vegan Taco Meat + Tacos (nut free, soy free, grain free)

  • Author:
    Lindsay Cotter

  • Prep Time:

  • Cook Time:

  • Total Time:
    40 minutes

  • Yield:

  • Diet:


The best vegan taco meat is homemade with mushrooms, cauliflower, and Mexican-inspired flavors. Ready in about 30-minutes. So ‘meaty’ you’ll never guess it’s completely vegan!


  • 10-ounces cauliflower floret equal to 1 small head cauliflower (2 cups riced)
  • 68 ounces cremini mushrooms (1 cup sliced)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds, optional 
  • Sliced deseeded jalapeños, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce or chipotle adobo sauce, plus extra for plating
  • 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning or spice mix below 
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
    • 1 teaspoon cumin 
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon each salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon each pepper 


  1. Rice cauliflower and mushroom in a food processor. Make sure not to over-process.  If you have a small food processor or blender, then work in batches. The finished texture should be a similar texture to that of ground meat. Place the mix in a large bowl to the side. 
  2. Prepare the carrots, onion, and sunflower seeds. Add to the bowl with mushroom/cauliflower mixture.
  3. Mix in finely diced jalapeños if using. 
  4. Toss with seasoning and taco sauce.
  5. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
  6. Toss/flip ingredients and bake an additional 15-17 minutes or until veggie “meat” is browned.
  7. Now the meat is prepped for the desired recipe. 
To use in tacos 
Combine vegan taco meat in a skillet with hot sauce or chipotle adobo sauce. Stir to combine and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until ready to serve in tacos, burritos, etc. 


Omit sunflower seeds if needed but it gives the mix an extra meaty texture.

To store – keep the cooked mixture in a Ziplock back or airtight container for 2 days or until ready to “mix” with the recipe of choice.

  • Category: main dish
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: mexican

Keywords: gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, vegetables, hidden veggies, meatless, taco, mexican, easy

Until next time, stay tuned! We’ve got a great lineup of recipes coming your way and are so excited to dive into all things kid-friendly!




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