Try this vegan taco mince for a quick and healthy weeknight meal. It’s hearty and filling, with fragrant cumin and a bit of spice to get your tastebuds going.
I am all about quick and easy meals during the week. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to the end of the day with grumpy, hungry children (and adults, really) needing to be fed and no idea what dinner is going to be.
This vegan taco mince is perfect for nights like that. I can get the ‘mince’ made in about 20 minutes, pull a pack of tortillas out of the cupboard, assemble a salad platter and we’re away laughing. Everyone enjoys these meals and we have some version of ‘taco Tuesday’ at least once a week. Sometimes if we’re really short on time I’ll just use a can of chilli black beans, other times I like to make something like this mixture.
This is also a great make ahead recipe, you can make it then chuck it in the fridge for later. A quick warm through and you’re good to go, though it’s quite nice cold or at room temperature too. If you’re not cooking for a family you could enjoy it over a few days, no worries.
Serve with your choice of tacos or tortillas, your favourite chilli sauce or salsa, limes for squeezing, sour cream and cheese if you eat dairy, and an ice cold beer if you deserve it. Getting to the end of the day is worth celebrating sometimes!
The main ingredients here are brown lentils (canned, for convenience – but feel free to cook your own), mushrooms and sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds get toasted in a dry pan, the mushrooms are quickly cooked with onion, garlic, herbs and spices, then everything is pulsed briefly in the food processor to get it to a good consistency. If you don’t have a food processor you can still make this, just chop everything more finely.
The resulting ‘mince’ is moist and flavoursome, very healthy (high in iron and vitamin B6) and quite versatile to use in almost any Mexican inspired meal.
I also love the fact this lets me sneak mushrooms into a family meal. My big girl claims to hate them, but is perfectly happy to eat this and will always go back for seconds!
Vegan taco mince
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 can brown lentils, drained (approximately 1 1/4 cups or 220g)
- 300 g mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used a mix of white button mushrooms and small portobello mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Pinch or two of cayenne pepper, optional
- Salt and pepper
- Start by toasting your sunflower seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes. Once they're golden brown and smelling good, tip them out onto a board or plate and set aside.
- Using the same pan, add the oil and bring up to heat. Cook the onion and garlic until soft, then add the mushrooms, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cook for about five minutes, stirring from time to time. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
- Put the sunflower seeds, cooked mushrooms and drained lentils into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly combined and a mince-like texture. Don't overdo it otherwise you'll end up with dip instead.
- Remove mixture to a bowl, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve straight away or refrigerate for later.
- Makes enough to fill about eight tortillas or large soft tacos.
- I like to serve this taco mince with tortillas and a salad platter including lettuce, red cabbage, yellow or red capsicum (peppers), grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, red onion, charred corn and plenty of chopped coriander (cilantro).