Vegan Taco Meat Filling (Easy & Quick!)

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Combining beans, spices, and bulgur grain, this vegan taco meat filling forms a remarkably chewy and delicious plant-based filling, serving as an excellent substitute for traditional meat in tacos.

2 vegan tacos on plate

This vegan taco meat is a game-changer for your bean tacos. It’s not just for tacos either. You’ve got to try it on our vegan nachos and potato tacos too!

It’s loaded with beans, and it is the bulgur that gives it a chewy meat-like texture that really satisfies and makes it more hearty. We even have an excellent homemade taco seasoning mix that is perfect to use in this recipe.

bean bulgur taco mixture with taco shells in background

Ingredients needed

This recipe only requires a few ingredients, and most of them you likely already have on hand.

  • Beans- I like to use a mixture of black beans and pintos, but other great options include cannellini, northern, and kidney beans.
  • Bulgur- Adding a grain like bulgur gives this vegan taco meat mixture a nice meaty texture. I’ll explain what bulgur is and offer some substitution options below.
  • Tomatoes- Fire-roasted tomatoes add the best flavor, but fresh or regular canned tomatoes will work as well.
  • Taco Seasoning- This blend is where the delicious taco flavor comes from. My oil-free preference is McCormick Premium Taco Seasoning. If you want to make your own, Sophia with Veggies Don’t Bite has a homemade taco seasoning.

What is bulgur

Although bulgur is not as well known as other grains like rice, barley, and quinoa, it is by far my favorite due to its versatility. Since it is made from wheat, I will offer some gluten-free grain substitute options below.

cooked bulgur in pan on wooden table

Bulgur is an ancient grain whose name literally means cracked wheat. The process of turning wheat into bulgur has been around for thousands of years and originated in the Middle East. Though its name means cracked wheat, it is not the same thing. This is because bulgur has been precooked, whereas cracked wheat has not.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that is produced by parboiling and drying it before packaging.  Since it is precooked, it requires minimal cooking time and can be ready to eat in a fraction of the time of other whole grains like barley or brown rice.

What I love the most about bulgur is that it has a crumbly, ground beef texture that can be used in dishes like tacos, healthy veggie lasagna, and vegan spaghetti–and it soaks up the flavors of whatever spices you happen to be cooking with.

Gluten-free substitutions for bulgur wheat

There are other types of grains that you can use in this recipe to create a nice chewy texture that is gluten-free. These are some that gluten-sensitive readers have tried and reported back that they worked well.

How to make vegan taco meat filling

This is a great versatile recipe because you can really use any type of bean you like best. I tend to make a blend of black beans and red kidney beans. Sometimes I also like to add pintos.

To make this recipe simple and quick, use canned beans. You could also always make your own fresh beans in an Instant Pot.

If using canned beans, I always recommend dumping them in a colander and rinsing them to remove some of the salt and preservatives. You definitely want to drain them for this recipe.

Add the beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, bulgur, and taco seasoning to a microwavable bowl or pot and heat until warmed thoroughly. The bulgur is optional in this bean mixture, but I highly recommend giving it a try. I’ve listed some alternative grains for those that are gluten-intolerant.

For this recipe, you can either add fully cooked bulgur to the bean mixture or allow the bulgur to cook while the beans, tomatoes (with their juices), and seasonings are heating. Normally, I have my bulgur already cooked and stored in the freezer for recipes like this, but it is super easy to add uncooked bulgur if you prefer.

clear mixing bowl with beans, bulgur, salsa, taco seasoning

Simply add the uncooked bulgur to the mixture of beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and taco seasoning. There will already be some liquid from the fire-roasted tomatoes, but you’ll need to mix in an extra 1/2 cup of water for the bulgur to cook which should take about 15 minutes on the stovetop or 7-8 minutes in the microwave.

While this is heating up or cooking (if using raw bulgur), go ahead and chop up the veggies you want to use in your tacos or nachos. I love to include lettuce, tomato, onions, and cilantro. Other great options include perfectly ripe avocado, cucumber, and even corn.

Once the vegan taco meat bean mixture is ready, simply add it to your tacos, nachos, or even potato tacos! I highly recommend trying my homemade vegan cheese sauce to drizzle over the top because it’s crazy good.

How to serve vegan taco meat

Of course, we all think of tacos for serving vegan taco meat. Add a little shredded lettuce and onions with some salsa and homemade tofu sour cream to really take them over the top!

But, don’t let your imagination end there because this meatless taco mixture is delicious on bean-based nachos and potato tacos too.

baked potato on brown paper stuffed with vegan cheese, sour cream, and veggies

Storing and freezing

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 5-6 days. Simply reheat and serve.

You can also freeze it if you want to. I’ve done this often, and it reheats perfectly and tastes just as good the second time around.

3 tacos stuffed with vegetables and standing in black cast iron pan

More vegan meat substitutes

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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3 tacos stuffed with vegetables and standing in black cast iron pan
5 from 5 votes

Vegan Taco Meat

Combining beans, spices, and bulgur grain, this vegan taco meat forms a remarkably chewy and delicious plant-based filling, serving as an excellent substitute for traditional meat in tacos.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • This is a great versatile recipe because you can really use any type of bean you like best. I tend to make a blend of black beans and red kidney beans. Sometimes I also like to add pintos. To make this recipe simple and quick, use canned beans. You could also always make your own fresh beans in an Instant Pot.
  • If using canned beans, I always recommend dumping them in a colander and rinsing them to remove some of the salt and preservatives. You definitely want to drain them for this recipe.
  • Add the beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, bulgur, and taco seasoning to a microwavable bowl or pot and heat until warmed thoroughly. The bulgur is optional in this bean mixture, but I highly recommend giving it a try. I've listed some alternative grains for those that are gluten-intolerant.
  • For this recipe, you can either add fully cooked bulgur to the bean mixture or allow the bulgur to cook while the beans, tomatoes (with their juices), and seasonings are heating. Normally, I have my bulgur already cooked and stored in the freezer for recipes like this, but it is super easy to add uncooked bulgur if you prefer. Simply add the uncooked bulgur to the mixture of beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and taco seasoning. There will already be some liquid from the fire-roasted tomatoes, but you’ll need to mix in an extra 1/2 cup of water for the bulgur to cook which should take about 15 minutes on the stovetop or 7-8 minutes in the microwave.
  • While this is heating up or cooking (if using raw bulgur), go ahead and chop up the veggies you want to use in your tacos or nachos. I love to include lettuce, tomato, onions, and cilantro. Other great options include avocado, cucumber, and even corn.
  • Once the vegan taco meat bean mixture is ready, simply add it to your tacos, nachos, or even potato tacos. I highly recommend trying my homemade cheese sauce to drizzle over the top because it's crazy good.

Video

Notes

Taco seasoning blend
My oil-free store-bought preference is McCormick Premium Taco Seasoning. If you want to make your own, Sophia with Veggies Don’t Bite has a homemade taco seasoning.
Gluten-free options
There are other types of grains that you can use in this recipe to create a nice chewy texture that is gluten-free. These are some that gluten-sensitive readers have tried and reported back that they worked well.
Storing and freezing
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 5-6 days. Simply reheat and serve.
You can also freeze it if you want to. I’ve done this often, and it reheats perfectly and tastes just as good the second time around.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Sodium: 255mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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2 Comments

  1. Did you use homemade soft corn tortillas or bought tortillas? Most bought have so many additives. I have missed tacos but just don’t want additives.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Mary- I use store-bought tortillas but love the idea of making them homemade. It’s just that I don’t take the time to do it. If you would like to make your own tortillas, The Kitchn has a very simple recipe called How to Make Corn Tortillas from Scratch.

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