Photos by Meghan Rodgers

Earth-Inspired Eats — Chipotle Cauliflower Walnut Meat Vegan Tacos with Fresh Mango Salsa and Creamy Lime Dressing

By Meghan Rodgers


July 28, 2020

Smokey cauliflower walnut crumbles, ripe and juicy mango salsa, and cool and creamy lime dressing — you definitely don’t need to be a vegan to love these beauties! 

If you’ve never tried vegan taco meat, you don’t know what a delicious-yet-animal-friendly dish you’re missing out on! Seriously. The texture is so crumbly and flavorful, it tastes just like those well-seasoned smokey tacos from your favorite taqueria. You just add cauliflower, walnuts, chipotles and spices to a food processor. Pulse, bake, and get ready for something pretty magical!

To be fair, there is a lot going on with this recipe, but every last bit of it is worth it. Who likes minimalist tacos anyway? Not me! Load me up with all the good stuff!

The fresh mango salsa seasoned with cilantro and jalapeño is balanced out nicely with a drizzle of cool and creamy lime dressing. Tuck it all inside a soft, warm tortilla and top with crunchy purple cabbage, carrots and fresh jalapeño slices — or whatever your taco-loving heart desires.

They’re filling, colorful, delicious and will leave you smiling. Just like the best vegan food is supposed to.

Bonus: This vegan taco meat makes the perfect addition to breakfast the next morning, so don’t shy away from leftovers! Add to eggs and sliced cherry tomatoes for a mouth-watering vegetarian breakfast scramble. Or mix with black beans, potatoes and veggies for an easy vegan Southwest skillet. 

And save this Chipotle Cauliflower Walnut Vegan Meat recipe for other uses: 

  • Crumble over nachos
  • Fill burritos
  • Add to salads
  • Mix in bowls
  • Layer in dips

Use this Chipotle Cauliflower Walnut Vegan Meat recipe anytime you want to turn a classic Mexican dish into a modern, meat-free favorite.



Chipotle Cauliflower Walnut Vegan Taco Meat

  • 14-16 ounces cauliflower florets (about 5 cups)
  • 4-5 ounces walnuts
  • 3-4 chipotles in adobo sauce (adjust for your heat preference)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (leave out for less heat)

Mango Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Lime Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain or Greek yogurt (for vegans use thick coconut milk—the full fat kind from the can)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

What else you’ll need

  • 10 cup food processor
  • Sil-mat lined (or greased parchment paper) baking sheet
  • Hard or soft taco shells
  • Taco toppings like: fresh jalapeño slices. red cabbage, matchstick carrots, avocado cubes, or guacamole


For the Cauliflower Walnut Vegan Taco Meat

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Place all ingredients into food processor. Chop until the mixture is evenly crumbled. Avoid over-processing, as it will turn to a paste.
3. Spread mixture thin out over baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes to help it brown and bake evenly. Watch carefully the last 10 minutes as to not burn or dry out mixture.

For the Mango Salsa

1. Toss all ingredients together until evenly mixed.
2. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Lime Dressing

1. In a small bowl, mix ingredients together. Add a splash of water (or more lime juice) for a thinner dressing, if desired.

To assemble tacos:

1. Warm taco shells on the stovetop (optional).
2. Spoon vegan taco meat into shell. Top with mango salsa and lime dressing. Add extra toppings, if desired. Enjoy!


Meghan Rodgers is a media professional and writer covering travel, food and the environment. Find her writing on the food blog EverybodyCraves and her website,