This version of vegan taco “meat” was the result of a botched a batch of chickpea fries. When my roommate commented that they tasted like tacos, it sparked a lightbulb moment that led to this recipe!
Why You Should Try This Vegan Taco Meat
- Tasty and nutritious: With crispy edges, tender centers and abundant spices, this easy taco meat substitute is vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free friendly, nut-free. Chickpea flour is also a great source of fiber, protein, folate and iron.
- Quick to make: With just three main ingredients, you can make a big batch in under an hour!
- Economical: Chickpea flour is cheap and nutrient-dense! Chickpea flour is also known as garbanzo bean flour, besan or gram flour. You can find chickpea flour in many grocery stores (sometimes it’s located in the ethnic secion), or you can order it online. I’ve found chickpea flour in my local Hispanic supermarket, local Indian grocery stores, and more recently at my local Kroger!
- Satisfying meat subsitute: Use this delicious and filling plant-based option anywhere you would normally use ground beef or chicken.
How to Make Chickpea Taco “Meat”
- There are really just 3 ingredients for this vegan taco meat: chickpea flour, seasoning and onion!
- Cook chickpea flour and seasoning in water until thickened (texture of a drippy polenta)
- Drizzle the polenta onto a baking sheet (or another baking pan or even a few large plates!) and let sit for 20 minutes until semi-firm in texture
- Fry the nuggets with onions and seasoning for an incredibly tasty vegan taco meat!
How to Serve Vegan Taco “Meat”
- Tacos: serve in flour/corn tortillas or these vegan/gluten-free tortillas topped with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Or serve in crunchy purple cabbage leaves for more color!
- Sandwiches: Layer taco meat with a smear of hummus, some shredded lettuce or coleslaw, and pickled onions.
- Salad: Try a big southwestern-style salad with the taco meat, black beans, brown rice, corn, avocado, pico de gallo or salsa on a bed of shredded lettuce, cabbage or massaged kale.
- Burritos: Inspired by Chipotle, try using a big tortilla to wrap up some cilantro-lime rice, taco meat, beans, guac and salsa!
- Make a big batch (you can easily double or triple this recipe) and use it in all of the above!
Chickpea Taco Meat
For the taco seasoning:
- 3 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano optional
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- few grinds pepper
For the taco meat:
- 1 cup chickpea flour*
- 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
- olive oil
Make the taco seasoning:
- Whisk all taco seasoning ingredients together.
Make the taco "meat"
- Whisk 3 tablespoons of seasoning into the chickpea flour, breaking up any clumps for a smooth consistency.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and whisk in chickpea flour, again trying to eliminate most lumps–the mixture should begin to thicken immediately. If mixture starts to splatter, lower heat and continue to cook the mixture for an additional minute. Turn off heat.
- Using the whisk, drizzle the chickpea mixture in small clumps over a large baking sheet, leaving space between each clump (you may need several). This creates the "meat" shape and texture. Let the mixture cool and firm up for at least 20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, heat a few teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and a big pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion is softened.
- Scrape the chickpea mixture off the cookie sheets with a spatula and add to the pan with another tablespoon of taco seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add additional seasoning to taste, if needed.
- Serve hot with tortillas, cabbage leaves or on top of a salad!