Vegan Walnut Taco Meat – Conscious Eaters

This vegan walnut taco meat is super quick and easy to prepare and makes the perfect protein source for burrito bowls and tacos! It’s gluten-free too!

If you’re just starting out with a plant-based diet, vegan burrito bowls will quickly become your best friend! Vegan fajitas, burritos, and tacos are a delicious and easy way to transition into a meatless meal because they’re packed with flavor and everyone can mix and match different ingredients to suit their tastes.

Today I’m sharing the perfect protein source for your next burrito bowl night: Vegan Walnut Taco Meat! Pair this hearty, simple vegan taco meat with some cilantro lime sauce and/or vegan nacho cheese sauce, 3-ingredient guacamole, and chipotle roasted cauliflower for a flavor-packed, plant-based meal!


Why you’ll love this recipe!

  • This is the recipe No fancy ingredients are required And comes together in a flash. You’re basically letting your food processor and oven do all the work.
  • Vegan Walnut Taco Meat is one such A versatile protein source That pairs well with many dishes. We love using it as a protein in burrito bowls, tacos, Buddha bowls, salads and wraps.
  • This recipe has almost all the ingredients Pantry staples For me and I’m guessing they are for you too!


Walnuts, spices, black beans, liquid smoke, tomato paste, garlic, onion and soy sauce placed on the table.
  • walnut – Walnuts are the perfect nut for this vegan taco meat. They are hearty and hold their shape, but they are not hard. I always buy my walnuts in bulk and store them in the fridge so they don’t go bad.
  • black beans – I love black beans in any kind of Mexican-inspired dish, and they pair beautifully with walnuts to make this taco “meat.”
  • Tomato paste – Adding a little tomato paste adds some color and richness to this walnut taco meat. I like to buy tubes of tomato paste because they last ages in the fridge.
  • I am Willow – A touch of soy sauce adds the perfect salty, umami flavor. I always use low sodium soy sauce.
  • liquid smoke – I always have liquid smoke in my pantry. Even a little bit adds a meaty, smoky flavor that makes simple walnuts and black beans the perfect meat substitute for tacos.
  • onion – I like to use fresh onions in this recipe.
  • garlic – Use fresh garlic over pre-minced/roasted garlic if you can!
  • spices – You’ll be using traditional taco seasoning in this recipe, including chili powder (an American spice blend, not the top chili!) and cumin.

See recipe card for full list of ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions and Alterations

  • walnut – I have not tried this recipe with any nut other than walnuts. I find other nuts can be too hard and crunchy, while walnuts are perfect, in texture. If you try using a different nut, let me know!
  • black beans – If you don’t have black beans on hand, my best alternative suggestion would be kidney beans.
  • I am Willow – If you have a gluten or soy allergy, try gluten-free soy sauce (or tamari) or coconut aminos.
  • liquid smoke – Whenever I run out of liquid smoke, I try adding some smoked paprika. Smoked paprika provides that smoky flavor you’re looking for!


  • Food processor – The main equipment you will need to make this vegetarian walnut taco meat is a food processor. You can of course make this “meat” without one, but it makes this recipe so much easier to prepare. If you don’t have this, be sure to finely mince your onion and garlic, finely chop your walnuts, and mash your black beans before combining everything in a bowl.
  • A sheet used for baking something – After mixing the walnut, black bean mixture together you will definitely need a baking sheet and an oven. I like to either grease my baking dish well or use a silicone baking mat. Using oil adds crispiness, while using silicone baking mats reduces oiliness.

How to Make Vegan Walnut Taco Meat

Chopping onions in a food processor.

Step 1: Process onion and garlic in a food processor until finely minced.

Combine walnuts, black beans, and spices in a food processor to make vegan walnut taco meat.

Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined, but a bit of texture remains. You want to maintain some of the shape of the walnuts and black beans.

Spread uncooked walnut vegan taco meat on a baking sheet.

Step 3: Spread the mixture in a greased baking dish, keeping everything mostly touching and together, but not too thick.

A wooden spoon scoops up shredded walnut taco meat into a baking dish.

Step 4: Bake the “meat” for about 30 minutes, carefully flipping everything halfway through.

Step 5: Serve this walnut taco meat with steamed white rice, cilantro lime sauce, homemade salsa, and roasted veggies (we love this chipotle roasted cauliflower!).

An overhead shot of walnut taco meat in a large bowl with white rice, pineapple salsa, cilantro lime sauce and fresh cilantro.


Store any leftover walnut taco meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If it gets dry if sitting in the fridge, add a few drops of water before microwaving. It revives beautifully!

Tips for success

  1. Do not over blend all the ingredients in your food processor. I like to leave some walnuts and black beans semi-whole so that this vegan “meat” has lots of texture and isn’t too mushy.
  2. The more you stir the walnut and black bean mixture through the baking, the more crumbly it will become and you’ll end up with very small, dry crumbs. Try to avoid over-stirring the mixture and instead, turn large portions of the “meat” at a time so you end up with larger pieces.
  3. If you like spicy food, I think swapping out some tomato paste for chipotle peppers in adobe sauce would be amazing!

Recipe FAQs

Are walnuts a good meat substitute?

Walnuts make a tasty and nutritious meat substitute and can be eaten either raw or cooked. When you chop up some walnuts with the right spices, ingredients, and salt, you’ve got a hearty, plant-based meat substitute that’s perfect for summer salads or Mexican-inspired dishes.

Should I cook walnut “meat”?

Since walnuts can be eaten raw or roasted, you can either leave your walnuts raw or cook them. I enjoyed both raw walnut meat and cooked walnut meat and both were delicious. If I add more ingredients like beans or mushrooms to my walnut meat, I like to bake it in the oven to remove the excess moisture.

How long will vegan walnut meat last in the fridge?

Vegan walnut meat should last 3-4 days in the fridge. Just store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat with a little water before enjoying. Alternatively, you can enjoy it cold and raw!

How much protein is in walnut meat?

This recipe for walnut taco meat calls for both walnuts and black beans. Divided into 4 servings, you get 12 grams of protein per serving. Not bad!

Are walnuts good for you?

I like to include walnuts in my diet, as they are high in unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and iron. They also have amazing antioxidant properties. Adding some walnuts to your diet is a great way to add some extra nutrients.

How to serve it!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating on the recipe card below and a review in the comments section further down the page

📖 Recipe

Vegan Walnut Taco Meat

Faith Vandermolen

Made with minimal pantry staples and lots of spices, this vegan walnut taco meat is the perfect meat substitute for all your Tex-Mex meals!

Q. Time 10 minutes

total time 40 minutes

course Main Course, Tex-Mex, Vegan Main Dish Recipes

cuisine mexican

serving 4

calories 304 kcal


  • 1 the cup walnut
  • 1 to be able to black beans
  • 1 small onion quarter
  • 4 cloves garlic peeling
  • 2 table spoon Tomato paste
  • 1 table spoon chili powder American spice mix, not chili!
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 table spoon I am Willow Low sodium
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • salt to test


  • Place the onion and garlic in your food processor and process until finely chopped/minced.

  • Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine, being careful not to over process and mix everything.

  • Spread the wet mixture in a thin, even layer on your baking sheet.

  • Bake the “meat” for about 30 minutes, turning everything halfway through baking.

  • Allow the meat to cool slightly so that it sticks together.


– Try not to break up the mixture too much when you are flipping the “meat” mixture halfway through baking. Flipping everything in large portions keeps it from getting too crumbly.


Worship: 4gCalories: 304kcalSugars: 25gProtein: 12gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fats: 14gMonounsaturated fats: 3gSodium: 353mgPotassium: 536mgFiber: 9gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 738IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 4mg

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