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Sheet Pan Vegan Taco Meat

This is the only Vegan Taco Meat recipe you’ll ever need! Easy to make with whole plant-based foods, it’s a meaty and flavorful addition to tacos, burritos, grain bowls, salads, and more. Vegan & Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Option.
Course Main, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method Oven
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 272kcal
Author Caitlin Shoemaker



  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside. Add the sunflower seeds to a large bowl and cover with at least 3 cups of boiling water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes, then drain well and set aside. In a small bowl mix the tomato paste, dark soy sauce, and oil together to form a thick paste; set aside.
  • Season the Tofu: In the meantime, grate the pressed tofu using a box grater and transfer to a large bowl. Add the chili powder, nutritional yeast, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne (if using), and salt to the bowl. Use a spatula to mix well, until the tofu is evenly coated in spice. (Note: it’s ok if the mixing breaks the tofu into smaller pieces!) Add the prepared tomato paste and soy sauce mixture to the tofu and mix again, using the spatula to evenly distribute the paste and break the tofu into smaller pieces.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Add the drained sunflower seeds to a food processor with an S-blade attachment. Process for 15-20 seconds, until the seeds are finely chopped and have a similar texture and size to ground meat. Transfer the sunflower seeds to the tofu mixture and fold into the tofu, until coated in spice and evenly mixed.
  • Bake: Spread the tofu sunflower mixture evenly across the baking tray. Bake on the top rack of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and do your best to flip the crumbles. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Serve & Store: Use immediately in tacos or burritos, or serve as desired. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze this taco meat; let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.


  • Taco Seasoning: If you have a pre-mixed and salt-free taco seasoning blend you enjoy, you can swap it out for all of the spices. Use 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning, 1 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is slightly thicker and darker in color than regular soy sauce. You can find it online or at your local Asian grocery store. If you do not have dark soy sauce you can replace it with regular soy sauce or tamari; just keep in mind that the taco meat will not be as dark in color.
  • Gluten-Free: Replace the dark soy sauce with a gluten-free tamari or soy sauce to make this recipe gluten-free.


Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg