After spending 4 nights out in the Ansel Adams/John Muir Wilderness on a family backpacking trip, we took the ferry back to Vermilion Valley Resort just in time for an amazing breakfast. While we were finishing up, the Chef (having learned that I’m mostly vegan), came up and asked me to try something that she was preparing for the dinner that night. My first words were “vegan chorizo”? She’s like, yup, vegan taco meat made with walnuts. Of course, I had to ask for the recipe! She was kind enough to pack me a little box to go too. Anyways, I can still taste the the smoky flavor from the paprika in the vegan taco meat. Here’s my attempt to recreate that amazing flavor.
Vegan Taco Meat
In a shallow dish, soak 2 cups of raw walnuts in water for about 6 to 8 hours. Make sure the walnuts are fully covered. When you are ready to make the vegan taco meat, drain the water and pat dry the walnuts in a kitchen towel.
In a blender, add the walnuts with 8 tsp of paprika and 6 tsp of powered cumin with 1 tsp of sea salt. The first time around I tried it with 8 tsp of cumin, but it was a little too overwhelming with a very slight bitter after taste. Pulse repeatedly until the walnuts take on the red color from the paprika, while regularly scooping them out from sticking to the sides. Make sure that they don’t turn into a paste. You want it to be a little coarse and nutty.
Serve on corn tortillas with raw spinach, pico de gallo and a generous scoop of the vegan taco meat. Absolutely amazing! Makes for a great little snack served on crackers too.
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