Vegan beef may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s SO tasty! Sometimes you just want that taste and texture, and these vegan beef crumbles are the perfect substitute.
Whether you used to eat meat or you just want the texture of cooked ground beef, this vegetarian ground beef is the absolute perfect stand-in! There’s no need to grab a bag of frozen crumbles at the store when you can whip these up. The flavor is truly plain enough (though not bland!) to be a base for many flavorful meals.
This will come together quickly and guess what – you could even freeze it for another day to make it just as easy as grabbing something from the store. Think about all the fun meals you can make and share, be it Mexican recipes or Italian classics or your own creation.
Ingredients for Vegan Beef
The list might look a little long, but that’s to give the TVP so much amazing flavor that it tastes like beef. Everything combines quickly to give you the best flavor, and it’s “dry” (not saucy) so you can use it in any recipe.
- TVP: This soy product soaks up ALL the flavors! Never used TVP before? It stands for textured vegetable protein (here’s our guide to using TVP!)
- Tomato Paste: This adds color and savory flavor, creating the perfect base for the spices that we’ll add.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Salty sauce coming right up. Be sure to use a vegan brand.
- Beef Broth Base: Add tons of umami with this vegan beef flavored powder (I’m obsessed these bases from Orrington Farms!)
- Seasoning: Garlic and onion are typical with “beef”, and the smoked paprika and ground black pepper finish things off.
TVP is a fat-free complete protein! It’s dehydrated and once added to liquid it totally resembles ground meat. It is the perfect way to add protein to your meals and even the non-vegetarians will eat it right up.
How to make Vegan Beef Crumbles
This is a super easy way to get vegetarian ground beef to the table. I love that it can be used just about anywhere you would typically use ground meat!
Step 1: Simmer
First mix up the sauce by adding all the ingredients to a pot (minus the TVP!) and give it a simmer. Tomato paste can have a bit of a tang to it and that is minimized by simmering. A gentle simmer allows the flavors to marry and gives it a really rich umami taste.
Step 2: TVP
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the TVP. Let it rest for 10 minutes so the TVP rehydrates and soaks in all the flavor.
Step 3: Brown
Turn the heat back on and the mixture gain some color. This will also help soak in any remaining liquid so that your meat is the perfect texture.
Step 4: Serve
Serve in any recipe you are looking to use vegetarian ground beef!
Taco Tuesday: This vegan ground beef has just enough umami flavor to be meaty, but add your favorite taco seasoning and it’s perfect for tacos (our favorite taco recipes here).
Freeze for Later: This would be perfect for throwing in the freezer for a quick meal later on. Double it and use it for tonight’s dinner and be ready next week!
Substitute Star: Use this “meat” in any recipe that calls for vegan crumbles, grated tempeh, or crumbled tofu.
How To Use TVP Ground Beef
Looking for ideas on where to use your freshly made TVP beef? I’ve got you covered! Cook this recipe as given in this post, then use in the below recipes.
- Hungarian Unstuffed Cabbage: Add this in place of the frozen crumbles. One of my favorite meals for cold weather days!
- Vegan Bolognese: Add the seasonings as given for the bolognese when you are at the browning step in this recipe. Then proceed with adding tomato sauce.
- Taco Soup: Stir in a taco seasoning packet at the browning step. Then add to soup.
- Vegan Tempeh Chili: After browning here, proceed with step 2 of the chili.
- Simmer: Combine all ingredients except TVP in a large skillet or pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and let cook, uncovered, until mixture reduces in volume by half, about 15 minutes.
- TVP: Remove from heat and stir in TVP. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Brown: Turn heat to medium/high and cook until mixture darkens slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Serve: Serve hot anywhere you would need ground beef!