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close up view of taco with vegan cauliflower quinoa taco meat and pickled onion.

Vegan Cauliflower Taco Meat

  • Author: Lexi
  • 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 1/2- 3 cups)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, finely diced 
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain kosher salt
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp oil (we used avocado but olive oil or vegetable oil work)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp adobo sauce from can
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar or agave
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fine grain kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. 
  2. Rice cauliflower by pulsing in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. Alternatively, you can use a grater to grate the cauliflower. 
  3. 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). 
  4. Meanwhile, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 
  5. Add cauliflower rice, oregano and salt to skillet and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until cauliflower starts to soften. 
  6. 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. 
  7. 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