While there aren’t too many things in life that are certain, one thing we can be pretty freakin’ sure of is that everyone loves tacos. But what happens when you’re going meat-free and can’t dig into the traditional carne asada, chorizo, or carnitas that usually fill up a tortilla?
These 21 recipes are what happens. From riced cauliflower and charred Brussels sprouts to marinated tofu and crumbled walnuts, these totally plant-based ideas make sure that the herbivores never have to miss out on taco night again.
With both quinoa and lentils, these tacos provide a ton of quality carbohydrates but also an impressive amount of plant-based protein. To make them an even more balanced meal, top them with plenty of chopped veggies.
The name says it all—with pantry-staple spices and super-customizable toppings, these vegetable-centric tacos take all of 15 minutes to put together, providing reassurance that taco night can happen even on the busiest evenings.
Freezing tofu is an extra step in this recipe, but the crumbled, meaty texture you get out of it is totally worth it. Plus, once the protein is thawed, these tacos come together in a speedy 15 minutes.
Instead of canned refried beans, which can often contain lard—not vegan in the slightest—this recipe makes a homemade version using lightly spiced, mashed cannellinis. Spread onto tortillas, it’s a creamy complement to the crisp sautéed asparagus and tart pickled onions that accompany it.
Take your taste buds around the world: The corn tortillas give the tacos a decidedly Mexican foundation, but that peanutty tofu filling transports you straight to Thailand.
A dusting of chili powder, paprika, and cumin transforms cauliflower from bland white florets to the spicy, roasted filling for these colorful tacos. Bell peppers sautéed in chipotle paste and a shredded cabbage topping add even more veggie power.
Use barbecue sauce, paprika, and garlic on mushrooms and you get a taco filling so meaty that it may even fool non-vegans. These are especially well-suited if you’re just easing into the plant-based eating or are serving someone who can’t imagine a meal without meat.
When cooked, jackfruit has a look and a texture that closely resembles pulled pork, making it the perfect substitute for the meat in these vegan “carnitas.”In fact, when you sauté it with chipotle peppers, cumin, and chili powder, the difference might hardly be noticeable.
Avocado is typically found in guac form on top of tacos, but this recipe turns things topsy-turvy by putting it inside instead. The slices are panko-breaded and baked until crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside. They may become your favorite way to eat the heart-healthy superfood.
If you’ve had your fair share of tofu, it might be time to graduate to the next level of quality soy protein: tempeh. The fermented soybeans are especially tasty when crumbled and cooked with Mexican seasonings to be used as taco “meat.”
Sick of stuffing your tacos with beans? Try this blend of walnuts, mushrooms, and cauliflower instead. Seasoned with a homemade taco spice mix and pulsed into ground beef-like consistency, it’s not only tasty, but also a great way to get in some proteins and healthy fats.
If beans are a bit much for your digestive system to handle, fill your tacos with tofu and gut-healthy kimchi instead. The fermented cabbage not only adds probiotic goodness to your meal, but the briny garlicky goodness totally hits the spot in the taste department too.
While the cumin and chili-infused tempeh filling is delicious, it’s the avocado and kiwi salsa that knocks these tacos out of the park. Mixed with jalapenos and lime, it’s the perfect sweet, savory, spicy, and fruity topping—make an extra batch to eat as a snack later!
These hearty tacos bring out the best of all autumn ingredients, including sweetness from the roasted beets and potatoes and just enough of a tart edge from the Granny Smith apples. Sunflower seeds add a fun crunch factor, and avocados provide their signature creaminess.
Turning hazelnuts into anything resembling chorizo may seem far-fetched—that is, until you take a bite of these tacos. The nuts look just like actual ground beef when they’re crumbled and sautéed with an earthy, homemade taco seasoning mix, but you can serve yourself an extra scoopful knowing that they’re even more heart-healthy.
The combination of black beans and sweet potatoes makes these tacos incredibly filling and high in fiber. Meanwhile, a sweet and zesty honey, lime, and cilantro sauce makes sure they don’t feel too heavy.
You may not have thought to put Brussels sprouts inside a taco, but once you try their crispy, charred leaves combined with roasted pumpkin seeds and creamy avocado, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Even if you’ve never loved the veggie before, this recipe may make a fan out of you.
Portobellos are so often the go-to vegan substitute for meat, but the use of spicy North African harissa paste sets these shrooms apart. That’s not all that’s different about this recipe, though—using lettuce leaves instead of tortillas, it’s a lower-carb answer to your taco cravings.
Intimidated by eggplant? This Mediterranean-inspired recipe might alleviate your fears. A quick 20 minutes in the oven makes the diced veggie tender and ready to be tucked into tortillas with garlicky chickpeas and a savory Greek yogurt sauce.
Crack open a cold one (just make sure it’s vegan!), but instead of sipping it, pour it over a few hearty portobellos. The mushrooms soak up the liquid just like meat would and taste perfect with the refreshing corn and avocado salsa. We recommend enjoying these with—what else?—a chilled bottle of beer.
It doesn’t always have to be about fancy meat substitutes and elaborate toppings. This recipe proves how even the humble carrot, when cooked in a simple spiced broth, can work as a creative, satisfying, and tasty taco filling.