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Vegan lentil walnut mushroom taco “meat”! This recipe is on fire *insert flame emoji here*. What was created on a whim when Neal was out of town and I wanted a lighter version of junk food (see this amazing vegan nacho instagram post) quickly morphed into a recipe that both Neal and I have been craving non-stop! I love how this taco “meat” doesn’t weigh me down, Neal loves that the taste and texture is spot on with the taco meat we grew up loving. This recipe reminds me of the taco meat my mom would make for her and I on Taco Tuesdays when I was in high school–complete with the packet of taco seasoning and pound of ground soy crumbles (I was vegetarian from ages 5 – 15). She came to visit about a month ago and one night we made her this vegan lentil walnut mushroom taco “meat” to use for nachos served with vegan cashew-free butternut squash cheese sauce. It was delicious! I found her the next day raiding the fridge for leftovers before her flight. I think that is when you know you have a good recipe!
Anyways, to get the best texture, I’ve used cooked lentils, walnuts that have been chopped up a little bit in the food processor, and mushrooms that have been chopped up a little too. The texture combination of these three ingredients is truly meat like. The lentils provide the bulk and a good source of protein, the walnuts add some textural interest, and the mushrooms add a bit of a chew. The “meat” is then seasoned with a blend of spices, a little bit of gluten free tamari, and some traditional red miso paste (I like this one from Miso Master, which is gluten free as well! You can find it at health food stores and Whole Foods). I love using tamari and miso in vegan recipes because they add some umami that otherwise would be missing. This is a great source of plant based protein! And because the lentils are paired with walnuts, you’re getting a complete protein. Win!
This vegan lentil walnut mushroom taco “meat” recipe is so versatile! Use it for nachos, throw it between a warm corn tortillas for delicious taco, use it to fill a quesadilla, and just about any other way you would use taco meat. One of my favorite ways to use leftovers is to add this vegan lentil walnut mushroom taco “meat” to some scrambled eggs along with cheese and top it with salsa. Anyway you choose to enjoy this, I guarantee you’ll want either some quick pickled red onions, vegan cashew-free butternut squash cheese sauce or tomatillo sauce…or maybe both 😉
Let me know in the comments what you think of this recipe if you try it! I love hearing feedback!
Vegan Lentil Walnut and Mushroom Taco "Meat"
- 1 cup dry lentils brown or green
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp gluten free tamari/soy sauce
- 1 tsp red miso paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Place lentils in a small sauce pan. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- While lentils are cooking, using a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they are broken down into small pieces, but not crumbles. Remove and place in a large bowl. Place the mushrooms in the food processor and pulse a few times until the mushrooms are about the same size as the walnuts. Add to the bowl with the walnuts. Once lentils are cooked, add the lentils to the bowl with the walnuts and mushrooms. Six to throughly incorporate the ingredients.
- In a small bowl, add the tamari, miso paste, and 1/2 cup water. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper. The mixture should be a thick liquid--not a paste, but pourable. If necessary, add more water tablespoon by tablespoon until total water is 3/4 cup.
- In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lentil mixture. Pour the spice mixture over the lentils, walnuts and mushrooms. Stir to completely coat the lentil mixture. Cook the mixture for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often until mixture is warmed through and liquid has evaporated.