The best Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos with a super “meaty” filling made with mushrooms, chickpeas, walnuts, and homemade taco seasoning. This recipe makes a lot of “meat,” so it’s great for a crowd!
When it comes to cooking dinner for the week, it usually goes something like this. We cook one meal to eat Sunday and Monday, one to eat Tuesday and Wednesday, whip together something quick for Thursday, and then order pizza or eat dinner out Friday and Saturday.
All while dancing to Frank Sinatra, wooden spoon in hand, obviously.
Jeff and I definitely have our weekly staples, which include delish meals we love that make enough food to serve us both happily for two nights (Jeff eats A LOT). We’re talkin’ hearty, crowd-pleasing meals, one-pot-wonders like…TACOS!
We absolutely love make a big ol’ skillet of vegan taco meat packed with chickpeas, toasty walnuts, and bursting with nutritious veggies to pair with fresh guac and salsa all nestled between warm corn tortillas. Taco night of my dreams, mmmk?
Chickpeas: The ideal firm yet squishy base to add bulk and texture to this rockstar recipe. Neutral in flavor, they pair wonderfully with veggies, walnuts, and taco seasoning. Packed with fiber and plant protein, too!
Walnuts: Perfectly toasted walnuts add rich, umami, flavor and delicate crunch so the taco meat has pizazz. I love that they’re bursting with heart-healthy*, satiating fats for staying power.
Remember: walnuts should always be stored in the fridge or freezer (NOT the pantry) to protect those “good” fats.
Mushrooms: Shrooms add another layer of meatiness and that critical umami flavor plus a nice bouncy texture.
Veggies: A mix of onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes cook down to help set tone for major flavor. When it’s in season, zucchini is another great addition.
Spices: I’m often told that I heavily spice things, in a good way! You know I’m all about flavor, so we’re using a lovely blend of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano and cayenne for a DIY taco seasoning of sorts.
First thing’s first: toast those walnuts! This light browning will bring out their rich flavor and amp up the deliciousness of the end result. Toasting does NOT alter the nutrition profile of a walnut!
Cook down the veggies to enhance their flavor. Don’t skip the tomato—it adds a whole other layer of umami, especially once it’s cooked!
Add the chickpeas and walnuts and use a potato masher to create the texture of taco meat.
Add spices and season with salt and pepper. Stuff into shells and top with cabbage, guac, and salsa.
PSA: February is National Heart Health Month! Let’s face it…there are few things better for your heart than plant-based food.
Did you know walnuts are primarily comprised of polyunsaturated fatty acids(18g/oz)whereas most nuts contain mostly monounsaturated fatty acids? That’s why walnuts are the only nut that has a significant source of omega-3’s (2.5 grams of ALA per 1 ounce serving!)
For more than 25 years, scientists have been exploring how eating walnuts affects various factors related to heart health, such as LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined 25 years of evidence for the role of walnut consumption on cardiovascular risk factors and found that eating walnuts may help to significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
It’s no wonder that walnuts are certified through the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check program as a heart-healthy* food!
Eating unsaturated fats like those found in walnuts, salmon, extra virgin olive oil and avocados has been shown to provide a slew of health benefits.
From plant-powered protein (4g/oz) and filling fiber (2g/oz) to good fats (2.5g/oz omega-3 ALA), including crunchy walnuts into meals and snacks is a simple, delish and convenient way to add satisfying nutrients to your daily diet!
For assembly: taco shells, sliced purple cabbage, guacamole, and salsa
Preheat oven to 350F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat/parchment paper and toast for about 7 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.
Heat oil a large skillet (this recipe makes a lot of meat!). Once hot, add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add pepper, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes or until veggies are cooked down and water has evaporated.
Reduce heat to low. Add chickpeas, toasted walnuts, spices, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients until just a few whole ones remain. (If you don’t have a potato masher, you’ll need to process the chickpeas in a food processor until they’re broken down then add to pan.) Stir to combine and taste, adjusting seasoning as needed. I like to add a splash of lime juice and Chipotle Tabasco. You can also stir in up to 1/2 cup water if the mixture seems dry.
Assemble tacos by spooning filling into warmed shells. Top with guacamole, cabbage, salsa, and hot sauce if desired. Store leftover meat in an air-tight container for up to a week. To freeze, spread meat on a lined baking sheet and place in freezer. Once frozen, transfer crumbles to a freezer bag and use within a month.
This post is sponsored by California Walnuts,but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Hummusapien possible!
*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.