I recently made these for a family get-together and they went over surprisingly well for a carnivore crowd. The general consensus was that the taste and texture was very similar to ground beef, but that it was a bit too spicy. My husband and I tend to like a lot of zing when it comes to flavor, but if you prefer your meals a bit more mild, just cut back on the amount of chili flakes, chili powder and cayenne pepper – or just omit the cayenne all together!
The meat alternative I use for this dish is either seitan or tempeh. Seitan is made with wheat gluten, so if you’re trying to avoid gluten, substitute with tempeh (a soy product). Seitan can be bought already crumbled up like ground beef, but if that’s not available, just break the seitan block into chunks and pulse in a food processor to achieve a ground meat consistency. Same with the tempeh. Because the meat substitutes just need to be heated up, this dish can be ready in about 20 minutes!
I used two kinds of vegan cheese for this – the Daiya brand’s cheddar and mozzarella flavors. To melt the “cheese” over the taco filling, either place it under the broiler or in the microwave until it’s completely melted. I love the cheddar flavor – and my sister in law couldn’t tell the difference between that and the real thing. It’s really good so give it a try sometime.
Ingredients (serves about 8)
1 package corn tortillas
1 8-ounce package seitan (or 1 package tempeh) – pulsed in food processor to resemble ground beef
1 onion – small dice
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
vegan cheese for melting over taco filling – I used the Daiya brand cheddar and mozzarella flavors
2 – 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sliced green onions
diced red bell peppers
salsa or pico de gallo – store bought or see recipe below
Fast Pico de Gallo
1/3 cup lime juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes (about 4 ounces)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 sliced green onion
salt to taste
- In a large skillet, saute the onions and chili flakes in olive oil until soft over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining spices.
- Stir in the crumbled seitan or tempeh, corn and black beans. Mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and let cook for 10 minutes to combine flavors.
- Prepare the toppings and set aside.
- Place all ingredients for the Pico de Gallo (except sliced green onions and salt) into a food processor and pulse until well combined and finely chopped. Stir in the sliced green onions and add salt to taste.
- To serve, place a dollop of taco filling on taco shells and cover with desired amount of cheese. Melt the cheese under the broiler or in the microwave.
- Serve with toppings and salsa or Pico de Gallo.