Vegetarian “Ground Beef” Tacos


Hubby and I have a very honest relationship with each other. We’re open about everything and the only secrets we keep are good surprises in the works. This recipe however, was one exception to the rule. You see, as I’ve explained, Hubby is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I however, am quite content eating a mostly vegetarian diet. (I also prefer eating a mostly chocolate diet, but that’s another story.)

Many years ago when we were still dating, I decided to make vegetarian tacos for dinner and pass the soy crumbles off as the real thing. The previous week we also had taco night when I arranged a playful fix-ins bar for the two of us to spruce up our evening meal.

He loved it and while I enjoyed it, I certainly could have done without cooking the raw meat and battling splattering grease. My thought was that I would swap out this lower cal, healthier, easier to cook option and if he was clearly pleased with the meal, I would brilliantly announce that it was in fact not real beef.

I flavored the protein substitute the same way I would prepare a traditional filling with sauteed onions, smokey cumin and heat from diced green chilies. When topped with traditional condiments it could be really hard to tell the difference.

I anticipated the moment when I would tell Hubby (then ‘Boyfriend’) the truth, and he would thank me profusely for opening his eyes to new things without a premeditated judgement.

Well, sure enough not only was he crazy about the dish, but he actually said he liked it better than the tacos I had made the week before! The REAL meat tacos!

I excitedly spilled the beans, happy not to hold it in any longer. Much to my chagrin, he did not exclaim with pure gratitude for changing his life, but did admit that while he wasn’t thrilled with my little game, the meal was fantastic. And that’s no secret.


Taco shells (I used the stand n’ stuff ones for easy filling!)

About a tablespoon olive oil

1 package Lightlife Original Smart Ground soy crumbles

1/2 cup diced onions (chop and store ahead of time!)

1 (15.5 oz.) can red beans

1/4 cup red taco sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

2-3 tablespoons Rotel mild diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Shredded lettuce

Shredded Mexican cheese




Sautee’ onions in olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add soy crumbles, using a fork to break it up.

Mix together.

Add diced tomatoes with green chilies.

Rinse and drain beans.

Add beans to the pan.

Mix together and sprinkle in cumin and garlic salt.

Stir in taco sauce and lime juice.

Set your shell(s) on a plate and fill with vegan crumble mixture.

Top with cheese, lettuce, salsa and guacamole.

Eat and enjoy not having to keep this a secret!


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  1. My wife is vegetarian and we pull the same trick on friends and family members from time to time. Like usual, I like your style

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