Did someone say #TacoTuesday?! This Vegan Taco "Meat" substitute is made with cauliflower, quinoa and a spicy chipotle sauce. Perfect for vegetarian tacos, burrito bowls, nachos and more! Video tutorial below.
This versatile vegan taco meat is so easy to make, meal prep and freezer friendly, and packed with flavor!
The "meat" is a mixture of finely minced mushrooms, riced cauliflower and quinoa for a meaty, crumbled texture. For flavor, we cook the mixture in a spicy, smoky chipotle sauce that comes together in less than five minutes.
This recipe is so versatile and tastes great with all of your favorite taco toppings. A few of our favorites: guacamole (always!), corn salsa, pickled onion, spicy black beans and fresh vegetables.
- Onion & garlic
- Cauliflower: you'll need to rice the cauliflower before using, which can be done with a food processor or a grater. Alternatively, most grocery stores sell pre-riced cauliflower these days!
- Mushrooms: regular button mushrooms do the trick but feel free to use something more flavorful like shiitakes or cremini mushrooms.
- Quinoa: cook the quinoa ahead of time according to package directions.
- Seasonings: oregano, salt, fresh cilantro
- Chipotle sauce: made from chipotles in adobo (you can find these in the canned section of most grocery stores), lime juice, oil, coconut sugar, cumin, salt and paprika.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. We sometimes cook ours in vegetable broth for more flavor, but this is totally optional and water works perfectly fine.
Prep: Rice cauliflower by pulsing in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. Alternatively, you can use a grater to grate the cauliflower (although this is a bit more time consuming). You can also purchase pre-riced cauliflower at most grocery stores.
Sauté: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened (5-7 minutes).
Make the sauce: Meanwhile, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If you're sensitive to spice, hold back on the adobo sauce. You can always add more if desired.
Assemble: Add cauliflower rice, oregano and salt to skillet and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until cauliflower starts to soften. Add in cooked quinoa and chipotle sauce and stir well. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, then add in fresh cilantro and cook a few more minutes.
Serve hot in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, etc.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave for 60 seconds.
You can also freeze this vegan taco meat for up to 6 months. Reheat in a skillet or microwave until defrosted. It's easiest if you defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.
Uses for vegan taco meat
- Tacos (with these spicy black beans!)
- Burrito bowls
- Burritos (including breakfast burritos)
- On nachos
- Straight from the pan!
More vegan weeknight dinner recipes
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Roasted Red Pepper Carrot Soup
- Lemon Rice Soup (Vegan)
- Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu
- The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
If you make this vegan cauliflower quinoa taco meat, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Vegan Cauliflower Taco Meat
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
- Diet: Vegan
Did someone say #TacoTuesday?! This Vegan Taco "Meat" substitute is made with cauliflower, quinoa and a spicy chipotle sauce. Perfect for vegetarian tacos, burrito bowls, nachos and more!
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive oil, avocado oil, etc)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 small head of cauliflower, riced (2 ½- 3 cups)
- 8 oz button mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (½ cup dry)
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp fine grain kosher salt
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 tbsp oil (we used avocado but olive oil or vegetable oil work)
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp adobo sauce from can
- 1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 ½ tsp coconut sugar or agave
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp fine grain kosher salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Rice cauliflower by pulsing in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. Alternatively, you can use a grater to grate the cauliflower.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened (5-7 minutes).
- Meanwhile, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add cauliflower rice, oregano and salt to skillet and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until cauliflower starts to soften.
- Add in cooked quinoa and chipotle sauce and stir well. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, then add in fresh cilantro and cook a few more minutes.
- Serve hot in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, etc.
If you have leftover cauliflower, simply freeze to use in another dish at another time. You can also use pre-riced store-bought cauliflower. If using frozen, defrost and pat dry before adding to pan.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican-American
- Serving Size: 1 Taco
- Calories: 255
- Sugar: 5.7 g
- Sodium: 630.2 mg
- Fat: 11.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.9 g
- Fiber: 5.9 g
- Protein: 8.3 g
Keywords: vegan taco meat
I LOVE this recipe!!! My quinoa didn’t turn out but it was great without it. So satisfying- major comfort food made with healthy ingredients. My non vegan chef husband loved it too! I’m going to make it tonight again. I’ll try the quinoa this time!! Thank you for such an excellent recipe!!
So glad you enjoyed!
Tried this recipe for the second time tonight, great new addition for taco night!
So glad to hear that, Nicky! Thanks so much for your comment!
I can’t wait to try this! I want options that are not soy based. This even has veggies! I use a walnut mixture that the kids call ‘crunchy meat’ haha!
Love that!! Can't wait to hear what you think 🙂