Best Vegan Tacos with Plant-Based Ground

4.72 from 7 votes
This vegan taco recipe is flavour packed. Made with a simple vegan taco meat, topped with crunchy vegetables, and drizzled with my vegan cashew queso cheese sauce. It's simple yet colourful and so gourmet. The perfect vegan dinner idea, ready in 25 minutes, for an evening fiesta at home!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
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Jul 15, 2020 (Last updated Jul 26, 2023) by Hannah Sunderani

Best Vegan Tacos with Plant-Based Ground

Here’s a 25-minute vegan taco recipe for you that’s full of spice and flavour! Made with a simple vegan taco meat, topped with crunchy pickled onions, and drizzled with my 5 Minute Vegan Queso. It’s a simple and filling recipe taco recipe that’s perfect for an evening fiesta. 

The recipe uses protein-packed plant-based ground that’s seasoned to perfection for a flavourful and meaty-like filling. (If you don’t have plant-based ground you can also use lentils!). I’m also a busy mom, and so I love a mid-week recipe that is quick to toss together, loaded with flavour, is protein-packed and suits all eaters. I’ve shared this plant-based taco recipe countless times with meat-eating friends and they always tell me they can’t tell the difference.

So, let me tell you exactly how to make this recipe so that you can enjoy taco night to the fullest. 

vegan taco recipe with vegan taco meat nestled into corn tortillas and topped with pickled onion, vegan queso, cilantro and green onion. On a silver backdrop with lime squeezed on

Best Vegan Tacos with Plant-Based Ground Recipe

This vegan taco recipe is:

  • vegan and gluten-free
  • protein-packed
  • keeps you full!
  • Loaded with flavour and spice
  • crunchy and creamy from toppings like pickled onion and vegan queso
  • quick and easy to make
  • ready in 30 minutes!
  • great for meal-prep

You won’t believe how delicious this vegan taco filling is, especially given how quickly it comes together. It’s a great base recipe for any taco dish of your choice.

The taco meat takes only 10 minutes to make and with all the toppings you’ll have dinner ready in under 30 minutes. If you have a little more time on your hands then I highly recommend using this vegan taco meat to make my Vegan Crunchwrap Supremes!

This plant-based ground would also be delicious served alongside Mexican-inspired side dishes like my baked sweet potato wedges, and black bean and corn salad.

vegan taco recipe with vegan taco meat nestled into corn tortillas and topped with pickled onion, vegan queso, cilantro and green onion. On a silver backdrop with lime squeezed on top.

Ingredient Notes:

Making delicious vegan tacos from scratch requires plant-based ground (or lentils) and some spices from your spice rack! Below I’ve listed a few key notes with possible substitutions, but scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions. 

  • Plant-based ground: The star ingredient! Plant-based ground is high in protein which is a great substitution from beef to keep you full. It also has a very similar texture making it a popular choice for vegan and non-vegans alike. My favourite brands are Yves and Light-Life. Checkout The Beet’s Best Meatless Vegan Ground article to see which brand suits you. Or, if you prefer not to use plant-based ground, or you can’t find it at your local grocery store, then I recommend using cooked brown lentils.
  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon of coconut oil is used to sauté the plant-based ground. I like the taste that coconut oil adds to this dish, but if you prefer you can use olive oil or avocado oil. If you are oil-free, substitute a splash of water or vegetable broth. 
  • Seasoning: Spices add the full flavour here with a combination of onion and garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and chili flakes. The flavour combo adds warmth and spice for a flavourful plant-based ground to make your vegan tacos flavour-loaded. We’re also adding umami and richness with tamari, nutritional yeast, and a dash of maple syrup.
  • Pickled onion: I highly recommend adding quick pickled onions to this recipe. It adds irresistible crunch to this recipe. It’s also lightly tangy and lightly sweet. If you’re short on prep time, feel free to use store-bought pickled onions or a sprinkling of fresh red onion.
  • Vegan Queso: I highly recommend adding my 5-Minute Vegan Queso on top of these tacos! It adds delicious creaminess and heat. Made primarily with cashews and nutritional yeast – it’s the perfect cheesy topper for any Mexican-inspired dish.
  • Tortillas: Swap the corn tortillas for flour tortillas for a vegan Mexican-inspired tortilla.
vegan taco recipe with vegan taco meat nestled into corn tortillas and topped with pickled onion, vegan queso, cilantro and green onion. On a silver platter with white wood backdrop

How to make vegan tacos

Making vegan tacos is actually very easy and fun! First it will begin by making the vegan “taco meat” by combining our plant-based ground (or lentils) with our spices.

In a large skillet on medium-heat, combine the coconut oil and plant-based ground. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the plant-based ground starts to brown. Then add the spices: onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, soy sauce, maple syrup and pinch of sea salt. Mix together to combine until warmed and lightly browned. (5-10 mins)

Scoop vegan taco meat into corn tortillas and top with dollops of Vegan Queso. Sprinkle with pickled onions, cilantro, green onions and a squeeze of lime.

And that’s all for making these deliciously addictive corn tortillas with vegan meat! I told you it was easy.

how to make vegan tacos

Vegan Taco Topping Ideas:

For this recipe, I’ve opted-in for corn tortillas, topped with pickled onions, scallions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Then I’ve drizzled with my homemade vegan queso cheese to make the tacos creamy and saucy, (highly recommended!).

Here are some of my other favourite topping ideas:

  • Creaminess: Avocado, sour cream, plain coconut or soy yogurt, or my Green Goddess Dressing will add a lovely creamy drizzle to this dish, and it will also mellow the heat in the spicy vegan taco meat.
  • Crunch: Shredded iceberg lettuce, cabbage and chopped red onion or chopped green peppers adds lovely crunch to this vegan taco meat. They are classic vegetables that are timeless and delicious!
  • Heat: chopped jalapeno, sriracha, or even kimchi will up the heat in these vegan tacos if you like it spicy!
  • Acid: A squeeze of lime goes a long way in this recipe. I highly recommend slicing up some lemon wedges and squeezing overtop before eating.

Watch the how-to video:

 

Vegan Taco Recipe: Tips & Notes

Now, this recipe is pretty straight-forward, but a few tips will help to make your taco night more enjoyable.

Firstly, don’t fret if you can’t find plant-based ground at your local grocery store. You can still make this recipe! In fact, I often switch out the vegan taco meat for lentils and add the same spices. It’s delicious, filling and full of flavour. To substitute, use 1.5 cups of cooked green or black lentils.

Secondly, I find it really fun to put all the toppings in separate bowls so that people can add what they like. Some people love cilantro, while others aren’t such a fan. Offering a few different toppings to allows your loved ones to customize their taco to taste.

Thirdly, I highly recommend drizzling these tacos with my Vegan Queso Cheese. It adds beautiful creaminess and cheesiness to the recipe.

A little lime juice to drizzle also goes a long way for extra brightness!

Other recipes you might like:

If you’re digging this taco recipe, you might also like these:

vegan taco recipe with vegan taco meat nestled into corn tortillas and topped with pickled onion, vegan queso, cilantro and green onion. On a silver backdrop with lime squeezed on

So there we have it, a simple plant-based taco recipe that you can enjoy through the summer months with friends and family. They’re crunchy, colourful, meaty and full of flavour. I know you’re going to love this recipe as much as we do. 

And, if you do make this recipe please let me know in the comments below what you think! I love hearing from you. And of course, tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations.

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Best Vegan Tacos with Plant-Based Ground

4.72 from 7 votes
This vegan taco recipe is flavour packed. Made with a simple vegan taco meat, topped with crunchy vegetables, and drizzled with my vegan cashew queso cheese sauce. It's simple yet colourful and so gourmet. The perfect vegan dinner idea, ready in 25 minutes, for an evening fiesta at home!
Vegan Taco Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves 6 people

Ingredients

Vegan Taco Meat

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 12 oz plant-based ground or 1.5 cups cooked green or black lentils
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt

Toppings

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, combine coconut oil and plant-based ground. Cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the plant-based ground starts to brown. Then add spices: onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, soy sauce, maple syrup and pinch of sea salt. Mix together to combine until warmed and lightly browned. (5-10 mins)
  • Scoop vegan taco meat into corn tortillas and top with dollops of Vegan Queso. Sprinkle with pickled onions, cilantro, green onions and a squeeze of lime.

Watch The Video

Notes

Vegan Taco Meat will keep for 5 days. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container. 
Vegan Queso will also keep for 5 days. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container. 
Pickled onions will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Store in an air-tight jar. 

Approvals

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 1063mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 852IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 1mg
DID YOU

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  1. @joey martin the recipe says cooked lentils…. maybe your boyfriend should get a new pair of glasses <3

  2. Made this using vegan minced meat and looooved it. We loved it so much that we had it two nights in a row! Now that’s going into my recipe book. I see others raving about your cheese recipe so now I’ll check that 👀 Thank you for the yum yum!

    • Oh Mika I’m so thrilled you enjoy! We love it too and just how easy it all is to come together! Thanks for the very warm comment about the recipe. And enjoy that Queso! It’s delish!

  3. I had made this before and soaked the lentils prior, and it was delicious. 5 stars. But my boyfriend tried making it and didn’t soak the lentils (as it doesn’t say to soak them in the instructions) and the lentils were still hard and could have chipped our teeth. Please re-word the recipe to include a step about soaking the dry lentils.

  4. This recipe was amazing! Used lentils for the taco “meat” and it was absolutely delicious. The queso also was out of this world. My son, who is not vegan, thought it was better than regular cheese queso. Will be making this many many more times!

    • Hi Bieberry. I am absolutely thrilled that you liked this recipe! We are obsessed with that queso too. What a compliment from your son! Made my day. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Due to a recent diagnosis of kidney disease I’ve been forced to adopt a vegan diet. When I come across sites like yours I wonder what vegans (whether by choice or otherwise) did before they had access to the web & all the information shared so generously by people like you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • Oh Georgi that is so nice! I really appreciate the very kind comment. Yes, I can imagine it would have been much harder!! Even in the past 10 years plant-based eating has really flourished, making it so much easier for people to eat vegan. Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you enjoy my recipes. 🙂 I also hope that you’re feeling well.

  6. This is our all time favourite vegan taco meat recipe! It’s literally perfect! We really enjoy it with your queso sauce.

    • I love it too Krystal! Think I might make it for dinner tonight. 🙂 Thanks for the very kind comment.