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Creating a suitable plant-based meat alternative can sometimes be difficult. But this recipe for Vegan Taco Meat is a simpler, quicker, and more affordable option for a meat-free dinner. This recipe takes only 10 minutes to make and can feed a family of 4!
One of the most common plant-based meat alternatives for protein is tofu. Tofu has a lot of advantages when it comes to plant-based cooking. Tofu has been largely accepted by vegans and vegetarians as a staple ingredient.
While tofu is a great option in creating meat alternatives, it also has some disadvantages. Cooking with tofu requires some knowledge and experience. Some things you’ll need to consider before cooking with tofu are: firmness, cook time, pressing, marinating, etc.
If you want an ingredient that has a closer texture to meat and requires little to no knowledge or experience in the cooking of that ingredient, then you’ll want to use Textured Vegetable Protein.
What is Textured Vegetable Protein?
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is made by extracting the oil from soy protein, wheat protein, or pea protein. Put simply (and to use the example of soy protein), TVP is made when soybean oil is extracted from soy. The leftover soy flour is processed through high heat and high pressure machinery that cause it to expand. The pressure and heat that cause the soy flour to expand is what gives TVP the similar texture to meat.
The Benefits of Cooking with TVP
- 1/4 cup of dried TVP flakes/crumbles contains 12 – 13 grams of protein.
- TVP is a very affordable meat alternative option. A 12 ounce bag of TVP costs around $4 and contains approximately 4 cups of dried flakes/crumbles. In the recipe below, 1 cup of dried TVP flakes/crumbles makes 4 – 6 servings of Vegan Taco Meat. To compare, tofu costs between $1 and $4 per package, depending on where you live, and makes 1 – 3 servings.
- Cooking with TVP takes far less time when compared to other meat alternatives such as tofu, tempeh, or homemade seitan. For example, the recipe below takes a total of 10 minutes to make.
- TVP has a texture that is much closer to meat than tofu.
- Just like tofu, TVP can take on the flavor of whatever you add to it.
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This easy vegan taco meat requires only 10 minutes of cook time and makes 4 – 6 servings!
- Add all ingredients to a large sauté pan or skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to combine.
- Continue stirring until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring often, until the remaining liquid evaporates. There should be no liquid running to either side of the pan when you tilt it. The total cook time from start to finish should take between 10 – 12 minutes for all of the liquid to evaporate.
*Vegan Beef Crumbles: If you plan on using vegan beef crumbles instead of textured vegetable protein for this recipe, then make sure you get the unseasoned kind. You may also want to reduce the water to 1 cup instead of 2. The water is used in this recipe to rehydrate the textured vegetable protein and allow the seasoning to give the textured vegetable protein flavor while simmering.
**Finely Crushed Tomatoes: Not all crushed tomatoes are finely crushed. If your crushed tomatoes are too chunky, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until the chunks are much smaller in size. I prefer to buy the crushed tomatoes by the brand Cento because they’re already finely crushed, almost pureed.
***Taco Seasoning: I recommend using a low sodium taco seasoning if possible. Be sure to read the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan and gluten-free, if preferred.
****Tamari/Dark Soy Sauce: Feel free to use regular tamari or dark soy sauce if you don’t have Celiac disease. I just wanted to specify to get gluten-free tamari or dark soy sauce in case anyone with a gluten allergy wants to make this recipe.
Want more dinner recipes? Check out my recipe for Sweet & Spicy Tofu!