These walnut meat vegan tacos made in one pan are everything you can expect from the most delicious, savory and filling tacos + also good for you. Be extra with a drizzle of our delicious cashew queso, a homemade salsa and a fresh squeeze of lime.
This savory vegan taco meat is made from good for you walnuts and an aromatic base of onion, capers and sun dried tomatoes finely chopped to get lost in texture but shine through in flavor. It’s easy to make with or without a food processor, beyond delicious wrapped in your favorite tortillas but also super versatile.
About the Walnuts
I like to start with raw walnuts that I roughly chop before soaking in boiling hot water to get them as soft as possible. Usually a 45 minute soak will suffice, however if you remember to soak ahead overnight or the entire day it’s probably going to yield an even more tender texture. Pecans could be used in lieu of walnuts if desired.
Walnut Meat Seasonings
If you have a favorite taco seasoning mix you most certainly can use it here. I keep a well stocked drawer of spices and just mix my own during cooking. I prefer to go light on the cumin as to not overpower the other flavors, feel free to adjust to your taste buds desire.
Ingredient Notes + Tips
- Onion – Classic aromatic base, I take my time here to actually achieve a little caramelization around the edges for the best depth of flavor.
- Capers – Salty brined capers a major component of the flavor base here bringing a deep savory layer to the dish.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – Finely chopped and sautéed together with the onion for both sweetness and little salty bits throughout, this really elevates the flavor profile of every bite. I used the dried pieces I keep stored in an airtight jar in the pantry as I try to avoid the ones packed in oil. Those will work just fine in this recipe but must be avoided for WFPB + Plantricious guidelines.
- Tomato Paste – Double concentrated for its thick saucy consistency and natural sweetness to balance the savory earthy spice mix.
- Tamari – A couple of teaspoons of low sodium tamari is all that’s needed to bring the umami flavor profile together into a perfect meaty walnut filling.
- Sumac – I love adding a good pinch of t his floral and citrusy spice to my taco seasonings. I also love using it as you would a finishing salt, a little sprinkle before serving so I can get a little taste of the lime flavor in every bite. It can certainly be omitted and subbed for a squeeze of fresh lime, I’m just really fond of this lovely spice.
- No Food Processor? – No problem! Although it does make the job so much easier, you can also chop the walnuts by hand after soaking until a very small mince texture is achieved.
- Add Mushrooms – About one cup of diced brown button mushrooms would work well here. Make sure to sautee them first until all moisture is evaporated and increase your seasonings to taste.
- Instead of tacos you can use this nut meat in a salad, lettuce wraps, to make delicious nachos, chili, sloppy joes, burritos and the ultimate Crunchwrap!
- Stuffed Peppers – Cut the peppers lengthwise, discard core, fill and bake in tomato sauce covered for 1 hour at 375″F.
- Vegan Bolognese – Omit the cumin, mix in a batch of homemade tomato sauce and toss with spaghetti for a delicious good for you pasta dinner.
Storage + Reheating
A great recipe to make ahead, refrigerate up to a week or freeze for later in lidded containers. It can be reheated in a skillet on the stove top straight out of the freezer or spread on a baking sheet and placed under the broiler for a few minutes until golden around the edges. This step can also be done just after the initial cooking for a nuttier flavor for your tacos.
- Cashew Queso
- Vegan Aioli or Sour Cream
- Mango Avocado Sauce
- Peach Salsa
- Tomato Salsa
- Easy Chimichurri Sauce
- Chive Pesto
- Avocado Mango Salsa
- Coconut Spinach Rice.
how to make vegan walnut taco meat
Walnut Meat Tacos
- 2 cups raw walnut pieces (or pecans)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4-5 sun dried tomatoes finely chopped
- 1.5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp capers (brined + roughly chopped)
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin + more to taste
- 1 pinch red chili flakes or chili powder to taste
- 2 tsp tamari low sodium
- 2-3 tsp sumac (optional but recommended)
- Roughly chop the walnut pieces and place them in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and allow them to soak for 45 minutes or overnight. Drain well and transfer to the food processor bowl. Using the pulse button (pressing and stopping), chop the walnuts until finely minced but with a nice ground texture. (Do not over-process, make sure to keep some texture and do not turn this into walnut butter 😉 ).2 cups raw walnut pieces
- Preheat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium low heat. Add a light drizzle of olive oil (or water for WFPB) and sautee the onion until softened, translucent and starts to get some color. Give it a good 10 minutes or so.1 yellow onion
- Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the pan with the onions. Give it a good mix then add the capers. Sautee a few more minutes together then push the mixture to the sides to create some space in the center of the pan.4-5 sun dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp capers
- Drizzle a tiny drop of oil in the center and add the garlic. Cook about 20 seconds just until fragrant taking care not to burn it at all. Stir well.1 garlic clove
- Add In the the spices: coriander, cumin, onion powder, paprika, oregano, chili flakes and sumac if using. Toss to coat well for a minute or so until you can smell the aroma of the spices blooming. Stir in the tomato paste until combined well.1.5 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cumin + more to taste, 1 pinch red chili flakes, 2-3 tsp sumac
- Add the walnut meat and toss to coat well with everything in the pan. If needed add a drop of water to help lift up any spices from the bottom of the pan and loosen tings up. Stir in the tamari and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat.2 cups raw walnut pieces, 2 tsp tamari
- Serve the walnut meat in tacos topped with vegan queso, sour cream, tomato salsa, lime wedges and all your favorite toppings.
WFPB + Plantricious
- Omit or replace any oil in the recipe with a splash of water or veggie stock. Use whole grain oil-free tortillas to make your. tacos.
- Storage + Reheating - A great recipe to make ahead, refrigerate up to a week or freeze for later in lidded containers. It can be reheated in a skillet on the stove top straight out of the freezer or spread on a baking sheet and placed under the broiler for a few minutes until golden around the edges. This step can also be done just after the initial cooking for a nuttier flavor for your tacos.
- Add Mushrooms - About one cup of diced brown button mushrooms would work well here. Make sure to sautee them first until all moisture is evaporated and increase your seasonings to taste.
- No Food Processor? - No problem! Although it does make the job so much easier, you can also chop the walnuts by hand after soaking until a very small mince texture is achieved.