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As a vegetarian for nearly 15 years, I’ve had my fair share of vegan faux meats. While there was also a point-in-time when I considered highly processed “textured vegetable protein” corn dogs to be a nutritious meal, I know better now. A girl can only eat so much beans, lentils, and soy (although I’m loving Balinese tempeh right now), so I had to start seeking out other protein sources a few years ago. That’s when I discovered all the goodness of nut meat.

Why nut meat?

Nut meat has quickly become my favorite kind of faux, vegan “meat.” It’s actually easy to make and the options are endless. Tacos are one of my favorite dishes to make with nuts, but you can really get creative. I’ve seen incredible recipes for faux meat loafs, sausage rolls, spaghetti sauce, and so much more!

I know the sound of making your own faux meat can sound a bit intimidating, but I’m here to tell you that it’s incredibly simple and you can do it with limited supplies! One of the challenges I’ve had while traveling is the having few tools in the kitchen. While it’s much easier to make the meat with a food processor or blender, it can also be done with a simple knife, cutting board (just takes much longer), and frying pan.

^ This was chopped by hand

When thinking of ways to use nut meat as a substitute in your dishes, it works best when replacing ground beef (or any other ground meat, honestly). I find that I enjoy it best as a replacement within Mexican style dishes because the nuts tend to soak up a lot of the strong spices that are used. However, my boyfriend has been playing around with adding the nut to mushrooms in a soy-sauce mixture that’s been really tasty in Asian dishes. The point is, experiment and have fun with it!

Making Nut Meat

While I always encourage you to experiment, I’ll also let you know that some nuts work much better than others. I’ve found that cashews are my favorite (also because they’re really expensive here in Asia), but it also works well with walnuts or pecans.

So many nuts to choose from!

Regardless of the kind of nut you use, I encourage you to prep ahead and soak the nuts in water ahead of time. I aim for at least eight hours, so I may through them in a jar of water overnight or while I’m away working for the day. The reason to soak them is that it helps to expand them a bit and make them softer. This not only aids in being able to chop or blend it easier, but it also helps to give it the crumble texture that I enjoy.

Real talk – it is 10x easier to make this recipe if you have a food processor or blender at home. After soaking the nuts, all you need to do is dry them off and pulse them in the food processor until they’re the perfect texture.

No blender? Join the club! You can also go crazy chopping them up finely with a knife (although there will be less of the crumbly texture). I’ve also randomly have mortar and pestle at a number of my Airbnb’s, which can work as well, but still takes a while to smash.

Either way, that will give you the base. From there, you can season them however you’d like in a frying pan to make your “ground meat.” Add them to any recipe, or make tacos with my fave recipe below.

Nut Taco Meat {Vegan}

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This recipe can be made with cashews, walnuts, or pecans. Don’t forget to plan ahead and soak the nuts ahead of time. With the spices, feel free to add more!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 tbs coconut or olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbs cayenne pepper
  • 1 ts dried oregano (or powdered)
  • 1 ts salt and pepper/li>
  • Optional additions: finely chopped onions and/or mushrooms for more flavor

Directions

    1. Soak the nuts for 8+ hours. Drain and dry. Create the crumbled by pulsing the nuts in a food processor or blender. Alternatively, you can finely chop them by hand.
    2. Using a large frying pan, add the oil. If using onions and mushrooms, add them to the oil and allow them to cook for a couple minutes. Add the nut meat and all the spices.
    3. Allow the nuts and spices to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid the nuts from burning. If the nuts or spices start sticking to the pan, add a little more oil or a splash of water.
    4. All done! Add the nuts to a tortilla and go wild with toppings. Create a little lettuce wrap by dropping some of the faux meat into a cup of butter lettuce, Add it to the top of your fiesta salad. The choices are endless!


I love making tiny lettuce tacos!

See?! It’s so quick and easy (after the soaking, obvs). You can also change up the spices to whatever your faves usually are for taco seasoning. I also used to cheat and just buy the taco seasoning packs at the store when I lived in the states (for those lazy cooking days, ya know).

Have you made nut meat before? What are your favorite faux meats? Tell me about it in the comments below.

I’d also love to know what kind of recipes you’d like to see more of. Lunches? Snacks? Desserts? Let me know, my friend.

Always happy to serve and wishing you were here for dinner tonight!

Pssttt… is anyone else impressed that I made it through this whole post without any funny comments on how much I like to eat nuts? Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

Much love,

vegan meal plan
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