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Get ready to enjoy some carne asada tacos made without the meat! This vegan version of the classic Mexican recipe is spot on to what I remember it to taste like growing up. It’s full of flavor, easy to make, and packed with plant protein!

Closeup shot of chopped vegan carne asada taco meat by sweet simple vegan

Carne asada tacos, made all vegan!? Yes, you heard that right, and you definitely should be excited.

Growing up in Southern California and having many family and friends from Mexico, carne asada was a big part of our parties growing up. It is something that I have missed since going vegan, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to learn how to make for the blog!

Also, we do want to note that we do not want to call this recipe authentic as we included a few additional ingredients that it may not typically have; this is our spin on this classic recipe.

It was easy to satisfy those cravings with pop-ups like Cena Vegan and Vegatinos in the LA area, but after Chris and I moved to the Portland area last year, we couldn’t find anything that compared, and we decided it was time to get cookin’.

Ingredients to make vegan carne asada tacos from scratch by sweet simple vegan

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • Soy Curls: We decided to use soy curls as the vegan mean substitute in this recipe. We also tested this recipe with ready-made seitan, and it didn’t perform as well as the soy curls, so we recommend the former over the latter.
  • Vegan “Beef Broth”: We like to use this one.
  • Cilantro: Used for both marinating the soy curls and for serving.
  • Oranges: Both fresh orange juice + the rinds are used in the marinade.
  • Aromatics: Red onion and garlic cloves are used to flavor the soy curls. 
  • Limes: Used for both marinating the soy curls and for serving. 
  • Tamari: Tastes a lot like soy sauce, but it is free of gluten, tastes slightly less salty, and is more balanced in flavor. Feel free to use soy sauce in its place if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Vinegar: We used apple cider vinegar but white vinegar works as well.
  • Spices: We seasoned our vegan carne asada with cumin, chili powder, and black pepper.
  • Jalapeños: Optional but recommended if you want a kick of spice!
  • Oil: Olive oil or avocado oil for cooking.
  • Tortillas: We prefer corn tortillas, but any variety of your choice will work!
  • Toppings: We like to top our carne asada tacos with white onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Step-by-step how to make vegan carne asada tacos by sweet simple vegan

Heat the vegan beef broth in a pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, remove it from heat. Place the soy curls into a large bowl or dish and pour the vegan beef broth over the soy curls. Using a spatula, mix the soy curls and press them down into the broth to ensure they get hydrated.

Step-by-step how to make vegan carne asada tacos

Allow the soy curls to sit for 10 minutes. We transferred the soy curls to a large resealable bag after hydrating them, but it is not necessary; you can keep them in a bowl or dish if needed. Add the remaining ingredients except for the oil and mix until well combined.

Step-by-step how to make vegan carne asada tacos

Seal the bag or cover the bowl/dish with a lid and place it into the fridge to marinate overnight, or about 8 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can remove it after 2 hours, but overnight yields the best result!

Closeup shot of vegan carne asada taco meat by sweet simple vegan

Grab a large cast-iron skillet (or a large skillet of your choice) and set it over medium heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Using tongs, slowly remove the curls from the bag and into the pan, trying your best not to transfer the onions into the pan and leave them in the bag.

Add 1/2 cup of the marinade juice from the bag into the pan at a time and add more once the liquid cooks off. Continue until you have used up all of the marinade and cook until the carne asada has browned. If you would like, you can transfer the carne asada to a grill pan and finish it up there with nice grill marks. It is not necessary, but it does make them look nice!

Set the carne asada aside and allow it to cool. Once it has cooled, transfer it to a cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces.

Vegan carne asada tacos with cilantro and onions by Sweet Simple Vegan

Assemble the tacos as you desire. We like ours in a charred tortilla with onions, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.

Vegan carne asada tacos with cilantro and onions by Sweet Simple Vegan

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Closeup shot of chopped vegan carne asada taco meat by sweet simple vegan

Vegan Carne Asada Tacos (Gluten-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 19 reviews

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 small tacos

Description

Get ready to enjoy some carne asada tacos made without the meat! This vegan version of the classic Mexican recipe is spot on to what I remember it to taste like growing up. It’s full of flavor, easy to make, and packed with plant protein!


Ingredients

  • 1 bag (8 ounces) Butler’s Soy Curls
  • 4 cups vegan “beef broth” (we used this one)
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + rinds
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 5 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil

Serve with:

  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced
  • 10 Lime wedges (about 2 limes)

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Heat the vegan beef broth in a pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, remove it from heat.
  2. Place the soy curls into a large bowl or dish and pour the vegan beef broth over the soy curls. Using a spatula, mix the soy curls and press them down into the broth to ensure they get hydrated.
  3. Allow the soy curls to sit for 10 minutes. We transferred the soy curls to a large resealable bag after hydrating them, but it is not necessary; you can keep them in a bowl or dish if needed. Add the remaining ingredients except for the oil and mix until well combined.
  4. Seal the bag or cover the bowl/dish with a lid and place it into the fridge to marinate overnight, or about 8 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can remove it after 2 hours, but overnight yields the best result!
  5. Grab a large cast-iron skillet (or a large skillet of your choice) and set it over medium heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Using tongs, slowly remove the curls from the bag and into the pan, trying your best not to transfer the onions into the pan and leave them in the bag. Add 1/2 cup of the marinade juice from the bag into the pan at a time and add more once the liquid cooks off. Continue until you have used up all of the marinade and cook until the carne asada has browned. If you would like, you can transfer the carne asada to a grill pan and finish it up there with nice grill marks. It is not necessary, but it does make them look nice!
  6. Set the carne asada aside and allow it to cool. Once it has cooled, transfer it to a cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Prepare your tortillas. Grab a clean kitchen towel and place it next to your stovetop. Turn the burner on low, and using tongs, place one tortilla on the burner. Heat the tortilla for about 45 seconds, or until slightly charred, and flip. Cook the second side until it has charred to your liking. Keep in mind that the second side will take less time than the first. When the tortilla is finished, transfer it to the clean towel and cover it with the towel. Continue until you have heated all of the tortillas, transferring them into the towel, wrapping the tortillas each time you add more. Covering the tortillas will keep them warm and soft.
  8. Assemble the tacos as desired. We added cilantro, white onion, and fresh lime. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The nutrition facts take into consideration the additional tortillas, onions and limes.
  • Because of the sodium content in the broth and tamari, we don’t add additional salt, but you can add some to taste as needed based on your taste preferences. 
  • Prep Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Lunch
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Mexican

Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.

Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. In addition, this page may contain affiliate links, which means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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38 Comments

  1. This was so good! We did let it marinade over night and it’s was packed with flavor. 100% will make again.






  2. My dudes, this might be the absolute wrong way to eat carne asada, but I take the marinade in your recipe, sauté the onions until soft, add some Beyond steak tips (so no need for beef broth), and then pour the marinade over everything, and cook it down until everything is saucy instead of soupy. It is DELICIOUS on tacos with vegan sour cream and lettuce. I’ve made it for non vegans multiple times, and it always gets rave reviews. Amazing recipe!






  3. restaurant quality vegan carne asada! I added extra black pepper and used smoked paprika instead of chili powder. very delicious! thank you for the recipe and cooking technique!
    My cast iron skillet is a bit smaller than yours I think, because I had to do this in two batches. It was definitely worth the time and effort (which wasn’t even that much) to make a lot of really good vegan carne asada! also, very inexpensive compared to the fake meats you buy in the store.
    I fed myself, three hungry guys, and still had plenty of leftovers for a couple taco salads. I think this is going to become a new staple recipe.






  4. This is only my second time with a soy curl recipe and I am a believer. I absolutely love carne asada and these carne asada tacos that I just ate really hit the spot. I followed this down up to the toppings where I went with a guacamole, which is often the star of a vegan sandwich, but it was definitely second fiddle to carne asada soy curls. If you’ve read this far, get back to the recipe and grab your ingredients!!






  5. I am unable to print this recipe. I get a message “we couldn’t find the page you’re looking for”. Can you help?

  6. This was my first time using soy curls and omg I can’t believe how meaty and flavorful they turned out! I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand like oranges and cilantro, but it still tasted great! I made half of the recipe and was pretty happy with the amount. I used an old skillet cause i don’t have a cast iron and I knew that using a non stick pan wouldn’t work as good to make them brown and cook all the broth. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ll be cooking with soy curls a lot more now hehe