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April 18, 2019

by Alyssa

Vegan Quinoa & Lentil Taco Meat

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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 Vegan Taco Meat

This easy vegan taco filling is a delicious and healthy plant-based alternative to ground beef!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 tacos
Calories 138kcal
Print Pin
Overhead view of quinoa and lentil taco meat in skillet
4.33 from 103 votes



  • 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 by Minimalist Baker
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat.


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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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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    • The nutritional yeast adds flavor, you could leave it out but taste your recipe before serving and add more seasonings if you find it needs any

  1. Just made these! Except i skipped the baking part, i just combined the lentils and quinoa together and cooked them on the stove, and then added in the rest of the ingredients and let that all simmer for 10/15 mins or so (after the Q and L were cooked 🙂 )Great recipe!!!

  2. I’m planning to make these tacos tonight but two questions first. How is Spanish quinoa different from tri-colored quinoa (can one be substituted for the other) ? And, how spicy is this “meat” ? I can’t do spicy. Thank you.

  3. I absolutely love this recipe. I have made it without the lentils (didn’t realize I was out!) and it still tasted great! Ive been making cold taco salads with this and it’s delicious. Great job!

    • Thank you so much!! It’s such a great sub for taco meat. I’m glad you liked it as much as I do 🙂

  4. Fantastic recipe. By far one of the best meatless options. Perfect as is. No need to make alterations, however that being said, it does well by switching things up a bit also. I’ve used Italian seasonings and made into a “meat sauce” for spaghetti. I have use it in chili, sloppy Joe’s. Such a great recipe. Even the meat eating critic (aka hubby) likes it. At first he didn’t even know he was eating a meatless meal. Ha…. thats how you know its a keeper. 😉 Thank you SO MUCH

  5. This is becoming my go go to Mexican night meat, I’ve used it for sweat potato boats, leftovers became omelette filling, and today making it to use in tacos. Love your recipes!

  6. Thank you for this recipe!! This is a game changer in this WFPB home. We’ve used this as taco meat (AH-MAAAHHHHZZZINNGG). Last night I made a batch modifying the taco seasonings a little and added BBQ sauce to make sloppy joes (my husband was in heaven! K, I was too ;-)) and we plan to do a batch with Italian seasonings to add to pasta dishes. Today we added it to leftover mac n’ cheese (vegan) for a “Hamburger Helper” type dish as well as adding it to a baked sweet potato with a little rice and some vegan chipotle sauce and avocado. This is my go-to meat recipe, and we are discovering so many options! Thank you thank you!!

  7. Made this last night and it was so good 😊 I didn’t make the Spanish quinoa so I took your suggestion with salsa and increased cooking time and it had great flavor.

  8. Wow! This turned out amazing and sooo easy! The rest of my family is not vegan so I cook stuff just for me, but this was enjoyed by all!

  9. I made the recipe as is. I’m floored with the amazing texture and taste. Needs no alteration or substitutions. Already texting everyone this recipe. Love. Love. Loveeeeeeee!

  10. I just wanted to write and say Thank you! I love this taco ‘meat’! I make it once a week and and am soooo happy when I eat it! I used to eat prepared tofu crumbles(Full of weird ingredients) for my burritos and Chili but no more! I love all your recipes! I have shared this one with so many people! ❤️

  11. 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!!!

  12. 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. 🙂

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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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