How to Make Vegan Carne Picada (Easy Recipe)
Carne picada is a popular Tex-Mex dish made with small pieces of beef and cooked in a tomato sauce. This easy version is my vegan carne picada recipe. It’s going to become one of your favorite weeknight meals!
What is Carne Picada
Carne picada is a popular recipe in the southern US states like Texas. It’s a popular beef recipe that can be used for a taco filling, in burritos or filling for burrito bowls and rice bowls too.
Even though this isn’t a traditional Mexican dish, I do quite enjoy it. My favorite way to eat this is as carne picada tacos.
In Spanish the words “carne” means beef, and “picada” means chopped or in this case it means minced meat (as in chopped). Some people make the mistake of translating it to ground beef, but the Spanish translation for that is “carne molida”.
The traditional version is cooked using carne picada beef, onion, green peppers, tomatoes, and spices. But of course we are going to be making a meatless version!
Vegan Carne Picada
In my recipe we’re going to be replacing the carne picada meat with a vegan meat substitute – and amigos I promise you’re going to love this vegan version!
Instead of beef we’re going to be using TVP or texturized vegetable protein.
TVP makes such a fantastic meat substitute because it mimics the texture quite well. Additionally, just like tofu, it absorbs the seasonings and flavors perfectly. This means you’ll always have vegan flavorful meat.
The type of TVP that I used are thin strips that resemble thinner sliced soy curls. You may or may not be able to find them locally. But don’t worry because you can use soy curls instead. I’ll link to them at underneath the recipe.
Besides the vegan meant swap, the rest of the ingredient for this vegan carne picada recipe are pretty much the same as a traditional recipe.
For best results regarding the TVP make sure to read through the recipe instructions before starting.
The ingredients for this guisado are basic pantry ingredients for mostly everyone following meatless diets. Even the TVP soy meat is a pantry basic, so if you don’t keep it in yours make sure you start doing so. You can create so many delicious meals with it.
- 2oz TVP or soy curls
- white onion
- poblano peppers
- stewed canned tomatoes
- olive oil
Instead of white onion you could use yellow onion. Swap the fresh garlic cloves for garlic powder.
If you don’t have poblanos you can use green bell peppers or a mix of your favorite green chilies. To give it a touch of heat you could mix in some chili powder.
For the canned tomatoes you can use regular stewed or fire-roasted tomatoes would taste great.
Instead of olive oil you can use canola oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
How to Make Vegan Carne Picada
Amigos as I previously said this recipe is so easy to make. It’s perfect for easy weeknight dinners.
Prepare The TVP or Soy Curls: Texturized vegetable protein needs to be rehydrated before cooking with it. To do so you boil some water with a small piece of onion, garlic cloves and a bay leaf. Then add the tvp or soy curls and allow to rehydrate.
Once hydrated the vegan meat needs to be drained and excess liquid squeezed out of it. Allow to cool down before you try handling.
Chop The Veggies: While you wait for the TVP to hydrate and cool down you can chop all of the veggies needed and gather the spice mixture.
Cook the Carne Picada: Heat the oil in a large skillet and once warm saute onion until soft. Add the chopped poblanos and sauté until soft.
Mix in the hydrated and squeezed vegan meat. Sprinkle all of the spices over the ingredients.
Mix in the canned tomatoes, a splash of water, and allow to simmer over medium heat for at least 15 minutes. You can cook until the vegetables reach your desired consistency.
How to Serve
Ah the best part, eating the delicious meal you just cooked!
My favorite way to serve vegan carne picada is on top of warm corn tortillas and with a side of my homemade refried beans.
You can add your favorite taco toppings like a salsa verde, some vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of vegan cotija cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, or anything you’d like, really!
If it isn’t taco night at your casa then you can serve it as a main dish with some white rice and steamed broccoli would be delicious. If not use it to make burrito or rice or taco bowls. There’s so many different ways to enjoy this dish.
How to Store Leftovers
Any leftovers should be allowed to cool to room temperature and stored in an airtight container. This will keep fresh in the fridge for about 4 days – remember that vegan meat dishes keep longer than actual meat.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing vegan carne picada because the will change.
FAQ About Carne Picada
What is Carne Picada Made Of?
The traditional recipe is made using chopped beef, not ground beef.
How Can I Make it Vegan
Swap the beef with tvp filets or soy curls. Keep the rest of the vegetables and seasonings the same.
What’s The Best Way to Serve
In my opinion, it’s tacos.
Carne Picada Recipe Made Vegan
My easy carne picada recipe makes such a delicious meal that’s budget friendly and great for meal prepping.
How to Make Vegan Carne Picada (Easy Recipe)
- 2 oz tvp or soy curls
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup white onion chopped
- 2 medium poblano peppers seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp oregano Mexican if possible
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vegan beef bouillon powder
- 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons water
- Texturized vegetable protein needs to be rehydrated before cooking with it. To do so you boil some water with a small piece of onion, garlic cloves and a bay leaf. Then add the tvp or soy curls and allow to rehydrate.Once hydrated the vegan meat needs to be drained and excess liquid squeezed out of it. Allow to cool down before you try handling.
- While you wait for the TVP to hydrate and cool down you can chop all of the veggies needed and gather the spice mixture.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and once warm saute onion until soft. Add the chopped poblanos and sauté until soft. Mix in the hydrated and squeezed vegan meat. Sprinkle all of the spices over the ingredients.
- Mix in the canned tomatoes, a splash of water, and allow to simmer over medium heat for at least 15 minutes. You can cook until the vegetables reach your desired consistency.
More Vegan Mexican Main Dishes to Try
- Mexican Vegan Tuna Salad Recipe (Ensalada de Atun)
- The BEST Torta de Jamón (Made Vegan)
- Vegan Pozole Verde Recipe (2 Ways)
- Cauliflower Ceviche | Best Vegan Ceviche Recipe
- Tacos de Papa Dorados (Potato Tacos Recipe)
Below are some TVP products I recommend for this recipe, check them out on my Amazon affiliates page.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…
I love your recipes. Based on your description of carne picada, I wanted to know is this the same as picadillo or is that ground beef?
Thank you so much, so happy to hear you enjoy my recipes. Picadillo, as far as I know, is always made with ground pork or a mix of beef and pork. Carne picada is sometimes made with ground beef as a cheaper alternative. If you want that texture in vegan form you can use the TVP crumbles. Hope this helps. 🙂