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Vegan Quinoa & Lentil Taco Meat

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

This Quinoa and Lentil Taco Meat is a delicious and healthy vegan/vegetarian alternative to ground beef! Easy to make and loaded with delicious Mexican flavors.

Vegan Taco Meat with Quinoa

I have to say, tacos have been on major repeat in our house lately. They're pretty much the easiest meal ever which is why I inevitably end up making them at least once per week (usually more). And what I love is that tacos can be the vehicle for pretty much any flavor!

Typically we make bean based tacos in our house, but sometimes we want something that's a little closer to meat. We've bought the faux meat crumbles at the store, but I'm not a fan. I don't like the ingredients and I don't like the taste. Plus, Matt's not a big fan of beans, so I wanted to create something that he would enjoy that was still vegan.

Enter my quinoa and lentil taco meat. After seeing this recipe for quinoa taco meat from Minimalist Baker, I decided to create my own vegan taco meat at home using lentils and quinoa!

How to Make Vegan Taco Meat

Is Quinoa a Good Substitute for Meat?

In many cases, quinoa is actually a great substitute for meat! I find that cooked quinoa has a very similar texture to ground beef/turkey which is why it works so well in this vegan taco recipe.

But I've also used quinoa to replace meat in other recipes. My vegan sloppy joes and my vegetarian quinoa chili are both awesome plant-based recipes that have a somewhat “meaty” texture. They're definitely favorites with the meat eaters in my family!

Lentil & Quinoa Taco Meat Recipe

What is Vegan Taco Meat Made Of?

The beauty of tacos is they can really be made with anything! But for our homemade vegan taco meat, we're keeping it simple. We've got the quinoa of course, but instead of just cooked quinoa, we're using my one-pot spanish quinoa recipe. If you don't want to make that, check the recipe box below!

From there we're also adding in lentils which are helping to bulk it up, add more protein and also make it feel more meat-like.

Then for flavor, we've got nutritional yeast (which I adore), as well as lots of spices. Chili powder, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika are my go-to spices for recipes like this. And of course, finishing it off with salt and pepper.

In total, this recipe uses just 9 ingredients, one bowl and couldn't be easier to make!

Quinoa Lentil Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

Ways to Serve Our Quinoa Lentil Taco Meat

When it comes to tacos, it's really all about the toppings, right? I sure think so! Here's what I love putting on my tacos:

  • avocado
  • slaw
  • salsa
  • chopped tomatoes
  • hot sauce
  • cilantro

And then I always love to serve them with my quinoa tortillas! They're the best gluten-free flour tortillas – they're pliable, easy to make, high protein and seriously so good. I'm obsessed!

Vegan Taco Meat with Lentils

Other Easy Vegan Taco Recipes to Try:

Quinoa Lentil Taco Meat

Quinoa Lentil Taco Meat
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4.16 from 53 votes

Quinoa Lentil Taco Meat

This Quinoa and Lentil Taco Meat is a delicious and healthy vegan/vegetarian alternative to ground beef! Easy to make and loaded with delicious Mexican flavors.
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword lentil taco, vegan taco
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 tacos
Calories 138kcal



  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If you baking pans are prone to sticking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir together until everything is evenly incorporated.
  • Transfer the contents of the bowl onto a baking sheet and spread it out into a thin layer.
  • Bake on the center rack for 35 - 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to ensure even baking.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite taco ingredients or allow to cool completely and reheat as desired.



* if you don't want to make the Spanish quinoa, add 1/2 cup chunky salsa and increase baking time by 10 minutes.
** inspired my Minimalist Baker


Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2.9mg

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  1. In all my years of using internet blog recipes I have NEVER commented on one. But THIS RECIPE HAS LITERALLY CHANGED MY LIFE. I have been searching for a perfect taco substitution for YEARS! In my house,we eat tacos basically every week. I have tried EVERY replacement: mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, tofu w mushrooms, lentils, you NAME IT! THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR. I really couldn’t me more dramatic about this. You have changed my life for the better. I will be making this monthly and freezing it (it freezes too! I am in love). SERIOUSLY, this recipe is my world right now. I can’t even express my gratitude to you.

  2. Just made these for super bowl half time. Honestly, one of the best tacos ever. Followed your recipe for the Spanish quinoa and the taco meat, yum!!!

  3. It was a hit with my husband. One mistake I made was not spraying the baking sheet or using parchment paper. Please add this key point to your instructions. Had to soak my pan overnight to do the cleanup because the taco meat was stuck to the bottom of the pan. Need to spell everything out in a recipe for people like me. 🙂

  4. Absolutely loved these!! It does make a lot, but it re-heats great! Nice to have in the fridge for a quick re-heat meal. I added spicy guacamole, so amazing! I much prefer these to the frozen meatless crumbles from the grocery store.

  5. Oh my yum! I’ve made this twice now. First time I used couscous. Second time I didn’t have enough quinoa so I added oats and chia seeds to the recipe. You can use this “meat” for so many different things! I just made vegetarian breakfast tacos. I recommend mixing in a splash of water before reheating…then you’re good to go!

  6. This was excellent! My meat eating nephew loved it and asked if this was really meat! Would be awesome as meat substitute in tomato sauce on pasta as well, maybe changing up the spices. Thank you for this, solid win tonight!

  7. hi. could you tell us what kind of lentils you used? since some cook faster than others, esp. red lentils which can turn to mush.

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