Meaty, flavorful, protein-rich soy curls make a fantastic vegan taco meat perfect for filling tacos and burritos or for topping salads and grain bowls. Gluten-free with oil-free and nut-free options.
This recipe was a happy accident. I was working on a breakfast sausage recipe and had trouble getting one of the test batches to hold together. So I just tossed the crumbles into a pan and cooked 'em up until golden. The result was so meaty, delicious, and versatile that I decided to put the sausage recipe on hold, switch up the spices, and create a flavorful vegan taco meat instead!
I think you'll love this combination of Butler soy curls and walnuts. It's textural, firm, and generously spiced, too! Best of all it comes together in about 35 minutes. Here's a rundown of the process:
First, soak the soy curls in broth to rehydrate them. While they soak, preheat a large sauté pan, and cook the onion, jalapeño, and garlic.
After 15 minutes drain the soy curls in a colander. Then pick up large handfuls, and squeeze them over the sink to remove some of the moisture. Now they're rehydrated but should look fairly dry (see below).
Toss the soy curls into the pan with the veggies, and cook until they develop a bit of color. Add salsa and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Set aside while you create the spice blend...
Now it's time for the food processor. Process the walnuts until crumbled. Then add the spices, and pulse a few times to blend.
Add the soy curl-onion mixture to the food processor and pulse until the soy curls are mostly chopped. Drizzle with tamari, and process until it until uniformly ground.
Preheat the same sauté pan again over medium heat, and cook the vegan taco meat until hot and slightly browned. You may want to drizzle in a bit of water for moisture and to prevent sticking.
Now you're ready to use this hearty vegan taco meat in your favorite Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, and even soups!
I hope you enjoy this deliciously versatile Vegan Taco Meat! If you give it a try be sure to leave a comment and a star rating below to let us know how it turned out.
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Soy Curl-Walnut Vegan Taco Meat
- 4 ounces Butler soy curls (half a bag)
- 2 to 3 cups salty vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional Omit for oil-free.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup salsa
- 1/2 cup raw walnut halves Reduce or omit, if desired. See Notes.
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- Place soy curls in a large bowl, and cover with broth to rehydrate. Add a bit of water to the bowl if needed so that the soy curls are mostly submerged. Set aside to soak for 15 minutes, then drain in a colander.
- Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat, and add the oil, if using. Stirring occasionally, cook the onion for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the jalapeno to the pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute.
- One handful at a time, pick up the drained soy curls and squeeze them over the sink to remove some of the moisture. Add the soy curls to the pan, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until they begin to brown and are hot. Add salsa to the pan and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Place walnuts in a food processor, and pulse into coarse crumbs. Next, add the spices to the food processor: nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne. Pulse to combine.
- Transfer the soy curl-onion mixture to the food processor and pulse a few times to chop the soy curls. Add the tamari, and process until uniformly ground.
- Preheat the saute over medium heat again, and transfer the ground mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until hot and fragrant. Add up to 1/4 cup water as needed for moisture and to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.