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walnut meat in a bowl next to brown rice

Walnut Meat

Elevate your Taco Tuesdays to a whole new level—our vegan walnut taco meat isn't just good, it's delicious! Packed with crumbly texture and bursting with authentic Mexican spices, this is a plant-based twist you didn't see coming.

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  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x



Walnut Meat

  • 12 ounces shitake mushrooms (or any variety)
  • 1½ cup raw walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they resemble a crumbly texture. Be careful not to over-process. Remove and set aside.
    step 1: pulsed mushrooms in food processor
  2. Add the walnuts to the food processor and pulse until they resemble a crumbly texture. Be careful not to over-process and make a paste.
    Step 2: pulsed walnuts in food processor; top view
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two until fragrant.
    sauteeing onions and garlic for walnut meat
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they release their moisture and start to brown.
    adding mushrooms for walnut meat
  5. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well to evenly coat the mushrooms and onions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
    adding spices to walnut meat in a skillet
  6. Add the processed walnuts to the skillet and mix everything thoroughly. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to combine and the walnuts to absorb the seasonings.
    adding walnuts to walnut meat
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference and serve in your favorite taco shells, lettuce, or burrito wraps along with your favorite toppings.
    walnut meat bowl top view


Nutritional information is only an estimate. Use a nutritional app like Cronometer to get information on the exact ingredients and amounts you are using. 
I highly recommend using a food processor. If you try to chop the mushrooms and walnuts finely with a knife, you won't get the same fine texture needed to make this dish similar to ground beef.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: main course
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican-Inspired


  • Calories: 205
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 315
  • Fat: 19
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 9
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 5

Keywords: dairy-free sauce, egg-free, healthy meat alternative, meat alternative, meat substitute