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.
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!
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!
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!
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:
- chopped tomatoes
- hot sauce
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!
Other Easy Vegan Taco Recipes to Try:
- Mango Lime Quinoa Tacos
- Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower + Quinoa Tacos
- Cilantro Lime Black Bean Quinoa Tacos
- Crispy Tofu Tacos with Vegan Lime Crema
Quinoa Lentil Taco Meat
- 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.