Vegan Taco Casserole

Vegan Taco Casserole
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

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Lovely to meet you!

I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or discover new recipes, my blog is the perfect place to find ideas that impress your family and friends while creating a party in your mouth!

More about me and how I lost weight here.

 

It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.

The recipe makes a very large casserole with about 8-10 portions and freezes great. So you can make a large batch and freeze some for busy weeks. Or cook it for a crowd.

Not sure about you, but I just could not resist the Christmas sweets, they are always my downfall. So, of course I gained a few pounds that I’d like to shed again. Recipes like this one, heavy on veggies, light on calories and super satisfying, help me to very easily get rid of the few extra pounds, without feeling I’m on a diet.

 

Why You Want to Make This

 

Vegan. Taco. Casserole.

I mean, need I really say more? I do? Ok then:
While I’m not a vegan as such, I do enjoy vegan food. Weird you think? Not after you try this Vegan Taco Casserole. I often find minced meat a bit odd texturally and am plain not a big fan of it. But making it vegan adds for me flavour and texture wise. The mushrooms together with lentils, walnuts and a few “secret” ingredients give you tons of very satisfying meatiness while sneakily adding all of their benefits to your favourite comfort food.

Vegan Taco Casserole

Essentially we have a layer of soft tortillas as a base, topped with a mix of the vegan mince meat mix together with beans, which of course belong into any Taco and also add more protein. Sweetcorn goes in too for me, as I love it in pretty much everything and it adds more veggie content. If you can’t stand it, just leave it out or add more beans. This mix is flavoured with your favourite Salsa and a few spices, then fried for even more flavour.

Really Good for You

All the deliciousness of it will give you 4 different legumes plus mushrooms in one go, which makes it incredibly good for you. The toppings of lettuce and cherry tomato add not just juiciness and crunch, but also to your daily veggie intake.

Vegan Queso

The fantastic Vegan Queso recipe is from “Rainbow Plant Life” and her incredible Crunchwrap Supreme video.
I made it a little less spicy but add as much spice as you like. It’s utterly addictive and dare I say better than dairy queso? I honestly prefer the taste of the creamy blended cashews with all the spices and flavours to the texture of typical Queso any day.

I have topped the casserole with vegan grated cheese too, but I think you could even leave it out and be more than satisfied.

Optional but delicious Toppings

For me, the toppings are the best thing about Tacos, so of course it’s the same for Vegan Taco Casserole.

I top mine with homemade Guacamole https://forthepleasureofeating.com/easy-guacamole/, Vegan Greek Style Yoghurt mixed with some lime juice, zest and salt, making it similar to the crema you usually get with Tacos.

For extra crunch I added some chopped romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and, of course, tortilla chips. Most of them are incidentally vegan, but some have dairy in the seasoning. So if you are strictly vegan, check the ingredient list to be sure.

The Ingredients

Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or fridge. Just a few fresh veggies and you have the Vegan Taco Casserole of your dreams ready.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

The Taco Mix

Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

Mushrooms

Mushrooms have a list of powerful health benefits according to studies. Decreasing the risk of cancer, lowering sodium intake and promoting lower cholesterol are just a few of them.
To me, their amazing umami flavour is enough to add them. I hear some complaints from the backrow there about texture, to which I say: Fry them until browned and crispy and see how you feel about them like that.
I quite enjoy the brown inexpensive button mushrooms I get at any supermarket here. But any will do. You can try a mix with Shiitake if you find it.

Legumes

Legumes, with again impressive health benefits containing B vitamins, folate and iron, and a great vegan source for protein, I’m adding them here for texture and flavour. Together with mushrooms and walnuts, they make a fantastic meat alternative. The colour doesn’t matter much. I just used the green ones I had in my store cupboard and cooked them according to packet instructions. You could use brown or black too, canned if you like. They will all be delicious.
Add Kidney and Black beans to the filling gives even more protein and keeps you full until the next meal. For ease of preparation I’m using them from cans.

Walnuts

Walnuts add that slightly nubbly texture you usually find in ground meat to our Taco Casserole plus a range of health benefits and healthy fats.
Anti-inflammatory benefits and improvement of cholesterol levels being just two of the impressive ones. You could use pecans instead if you prefer.

Onion and garlic for flavour are the basics.
But here are what makes this taste “meaty”: Miso paste. I used brown for its intense umami notes.
Tomato puree and sundried tomatoes together with nutritional yeast and some coconut aminos give the mushroom-legume-walnut mix incredible depth of satisfying meat like flavour.

Of course typical Taco spices like smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, chili, onion powder for extra punch and oregano.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Spices

 

The Queso

Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

For the Queso I’m using soaked cashews, some vegan Greek yoghurt for tang. A bit of salsa (use your favourite, the rest will go into the mushroom-legume mix), nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt, smoked paprika, chili powder and a bit of cumin. To add that original queso tang and a bit of fiery chili background, some pickled red jalapenos (are they still Jalapenos when red? Please correct me if that’s wrong…I’m just a German living in Ireland.) and a bit of the pickling liquid.

The Guacamole is of course made from avocados, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and a hint of chilli powder. If you don’t feel like making your own, you can use shop bought here. But honestly, it’s made so quickly and tastes so much better, I don’t feel it’s worth saving the few minutes.

Topping wise: fresh cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and crunchy romaine lettuce add that real taco feeling for me. They are optional though.
And any tortilla chips you like, to use for dipping, crumbling over, eating on the side, however you enjoy your casserole.

 

The Process

 

While this looks like a lot of ingredients, the process is surprisingly simple.

The Taco Mix

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Lentils

First pre-cook your lentils according to package instructions if using dried as I did. They should have a tiny bit of bite left for that ground meat texture. I usually add some vegetable stock powder to my cooking water and maybe some herbs and garlic, to start flavouring them. Use whatever you have on hand. Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary or oregano all work well.

Walnuts

While your lentils are cooking, briefly toast your walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.

Mushrooms

Fry your finely chopped mushrooms in batches in a large pan with a bit of oil. Only stir occasionally, so they can brown beautifully for that lovely meaty flavour we are looking for. Season with salt and pepper and set aside too.

Seasoning

Gently fry onions and garlic until translucent in a bit more oil, then add all parts of the Mexican seasoning and toast until fragrant. Lastly the sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast and coconut aminos join the pan for a quick stir and heat through.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Process

Now add the garlic-onion-spice mix together with fried mushrooms, walnuts and cooked, drained lentils to your food processor and pulse until it resembles minced meat. It should stick together mostly, but fall apart when you try to crumble it, much like meat would.
Taste it. It should be delicious. Add more salt to taste.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Mix with beans and sweetcorn

Tip the whole mix back into the pan and fry on medium-high heat until you have a bit of browning everywhere and it smells delicious. Tip in the drained and rinsed canned beans and sweetcorn, canned tomatoes, 1 1 ½ cups of your favourite salsa (the last ½ cup will be used for the queso), stir and heat through.
Taste and add salt or any other spices you feel it might need. I don’t like mine very hot, but you might of course.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Casserole assembly

Lightly grease your casserole form. Cut the tortillas into quarters and lay them across the bottom with a little overlap, so you have one layer.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Top with the mushroom-bean mix.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Queso

To make your queso, add all the ingredients for it into a high speed blender like the Nutribullet and blend until super smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt or chili if needed.

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Bake

Top your Vegan Taco Casserole with the vegan queso, sprinkle over some grated vegan cheese (or dairy if you are not vegan). Cover the casserole with kitchen foil and bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, remove the foil and bake for another 15min uncovered until it is hot throughout and the cheese has melted.#

Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

Toppings

While the casserole is in the oven, prepare your toppings. Mash the Avocados with lime juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper and chili.

Mix the remaining vegan yoghurt with some lime juice, zest and salt to taste.

Chop romaine, spring onions and cherry tomatoes and put in separate containers. Tip tortilla chips into a bowl.

Vegan Taco Casserole

Serve

To serve, add a piece of your Vegan Taco Casserole to the plate and let everyone pick their own favourite toppings. Enjoy the satisfied munching sounds.

Vegan Taco Casserole

Meal Prep

 

You can make everything the day before, but I would add the queso on top just before baking, so it doesn’t soak into the taco filling layer, but remains as cream, cheesy layer on top.
After baking, the Vegan Taco Casserole stays fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat either in the microwave until piping hot or in oven or air fryer.

The casserole also freezes really well. I always keep a few pieces in the freezer for emergency taco cravings.

 

Looking for more vegan recipes?

Try my Vegan Tom Kha Soup for a warming Thai soup full of veggies.
Or the Asian Bowl with crispy Cauliflower and Tofu, for a nutritious and delicous meal.

Please Comment

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

Vegan Taco Casserole

Vegan Taco Casserole

It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 8
Calories 580 kcal

Equipment

  • Food Processor, High speed blender like Nutribullet

Ingredients
  

Taco Mix:

  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cups lentils, cooked. About 1 cup dried. You can use cans instead.
  • 2 packs mushrooms finely chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 5 sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1-2 tbsp brown miso paste use any colour, but brown has the most meat-like flavour
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sweetcorn drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups salsa use your favourite. Set ½ cup aside for the queso

Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 corn or flour tortillas to cover the bottom of your casserole
  • 1 cup vegan shredded cheese of choice

Queso:

  • 1 cup cashews soaked for 30min in hot water or overnight in cold
  • ½ cup vegan yoghurt I used Greek
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ -1/2 tsp chili powder I like ancho chili, but use whatever you have and enjoy
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapenos
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno brine
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Toppings (Optional):

  • Guacamole Ready made or, to make yourself:
  • 5 avocados mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 limes juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Vegan sour cream or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 Lime zested and juiced
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce chopped
  • 2 cups Cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro chopped
  • 1 bunch Spring onions chopped
  • 1 bag tortilla chips

Instructions
 

  • Pre-cook lentils according to package instructions, leaving a bit of bite for texture.
  • Toast walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.
  • Fry mushrooms in batches until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add Mexican seasoning, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast, and coconut aminos. Stir and heat through.
  • Combine garlic-onion-spice mix, fried mushrooms, walnuts, and cooked lentils in a food processor. Pulse until minced meat-like texture.
  • Transfer mix back to the pan and fry until browned. Add drained beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes from the can and 1 ½ cups salsa. Stir and heat through.
  • Lightly grease a casserole dish. Place quartered tortillas on the bottom, slightly overlapping.
  • Top with mushroom-bean mix.
  • For queso, blend all queso ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning.
  • Top casserole with vegan queso, sprinkle vegan cheese. Cover with foil, bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, then uncover and bake for an additional 15min.
  • While baking, prepare toppings: guacamole, lime yogurt, romaine, spring onions, cherry tomatoes, and tortilla chips.
  • Serve casserole pieces with desired toppings. Enjoy the flavorsome vegan taco casserole!

Notes

Total for the Dish (excluding optional toppings) assuming 8 portions:
Calories: Approximately 580 kcal
Protein: Around 22g
Carbohydrates: Roughly 73g
Fat: About 25g
Fiber: Around 17g
Sugar: Approximately 11g
Please note that these values are approximate and may vary based on the specific brands and types of ingredients you use. The queso portion is a rough estimate, and the optional toppings are not included in the total dish values.

Nutrition

Calories: 580kcal
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Taco Casserole
Amount per Serving
Calories
580
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, Low Calorie, meal prep, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

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