Vegan birria tacos (aka quesabirria tacos) are corn tortillas dipped in a flavorful birria sauce and filled with meaty oyster mushrooms and vegan cheese. Serve with rich birria consomé for dipping and have the most delicious vegan birria tacos!
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What is Birria
In the last few years, birria has become quite the popular dish and all the rage outside of Mexico.
Birria comes from the state of Jalisco. (Jalisco is my family’s home state.) There are many variations to the ingredients used in birria, but it’s hard to go wrong when you’re using dried chiles and a ton of spices.
Authentic birria is a slow cooked stew traditionally made with goat meat or mutton. Recently, and because goat isn’t as readily available, many people have started making birria with beef.
The hearty sauce to make the birria broth is prepared with dried chiles and lots of spices. The meat is tender and falls apart easily because it’s slow cooked in the broth.
The meat is slowly simmered until it’s tender and breaks apart easily. Broth or water are added to the meat to simmer it. As well as a long list of spices, herbs, dried chiles and seasonings. All of these are what give birria it’s unique taste.
Everything is prepared and simmered for hours to achieve that delicate texture.
Traditionally birria is served in a bowl and it includes the shredded meat and broth. Toppings like chopped onion, cilantro, lime wedges are served with it. Additionally fresh corn tortillas are served on the side so you can make tacos as you eat.
Many people also serve the meat separate from the broth to make tacos, or make quesadillas filled with just the birria meat. These tacos or quesabirria tacos are serve with a bowl of the consomé for dipping into.
It’s truly a mouthwatering Mexican dish and delicious experience!
Vegan Birria Tacos
The traditional birria in Jalisco is made using goat meat, of course we won’t be doing that in my recipe, we’re going to make a vegan version.
To replace the goat, my recipe uses oyster mushrooms instead to give it that vegan meaty texture. The results are amazing and it makes a pretty darn good cruelty-free alternative – read the reviews below and on my Instagram.
So while the traditional meat-based birria takes a long time to make, with vegan birria the process is more straightforward and takes a lot less time to prepare.
Once you have your hearty vegan birria then you can use it to make delicious vegan birria tacos and quesabirria tacos.
In recent years people have started making quesabirria tacos.
Quesabirria is basically a quesadilla filled with the birria meat. With my recipe you can make vegan quesabirria.
When making quesabirria some of the consomé is drizzled over the warm tortilla to give it that red color. Then the finished quesabirria is served with a bowl of consomé to dip into.
It’s actually quite a delicious combination with the melted gooey vegan cheese!
Vegan Birria Ingredients
What is vegan birria made of? Dried chiles, herbs, spices, shredded oyster mushrooms, corn tortillas and vegan or plant-based cheese if you want to make vegan quesabirria.
Many years ago when I decided to veganize birria I called my mom and asked her for her recipe. She gave me a list of all the ingredients she uses which I then took and made a few adjustments to make it fit the vegan birria flavor profile.
The results are incredibly delicious and I can say that having grown up with meat birria, these vegan birria tacos recipe really hits the spot!
Ok, so below are the traditional and authentic birria ingredients my Jalisciense mom uses.
The spices and their quantities used in making birria can differ greatly. I say start off with a base (like my recipe) then adjust from there to your own taste.
- Mushrooms to replace the meat. I use oyster mushrooms or you can use king oyster mushrooms instead.
- guajillo peppers
- I like to add arbol chiles for a little heat, but other people add also ancho peppers
- bay leaves
- dried Mexican oregano — mom says just not too much because it’ll turn the birria sour
- cumin seeds, my mom always tells me not too much so it doesn’t over power the other flavors
- ground black pepper
- all spice
- canela or Ceylon cinnamon
- white onion, if you don’t have white use brown
- garlic cloves, in a pinch substitute with garlic powder
- roma tomato, fresh is always best in a pinch use canned just don’t use tomato paste!
- apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- vegetable broth or vegan beef broth
- olive oil, or avocado oil or vegetable oil of choice
- warm tortillas
- vegan cheese for making vegan quesabirria
You can find oyster mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms at Whole Foods, farmer’s markets, select grocery stores or Asian markets. If not replace them with sliced cremini mushrooms.
If you don’t like mushrooms then use jackfruit to make vegan birria instead.
What Are Not Authentic Birria Ingredients
Dried chili peppers are what’s needed for making authentic birria. Guajillo chiles are the main chile used. Some people also add ancho chiles, but try to avoid using chili powder or cayenne pepper because they will not yield the authentic birria flavor you’re looking for.
I’ve seen some people using chipotle peppers in their recipes, these are not an authentic birria ingredient and their strong flavor will completely change the taste of your birria.
Another recipe I saw also called for maple syrup…nope! Not only is this ingredient not authentic to Mexican cuisine, there’s no place or need for it in birria or vegan birria!
How to Make Vegan Birria Tacos
As I previously mentioned, making vegan birra is incredibly easy – so much easier than meat based one.
Step 1: First thing is to start by making the adobo sauce used for making the broth. Simmer cleaned and deseeded dried chilies, tomato, onion, and garlic until everything is soft.
Step 2: Pour half a cup of the boiling broth into a blender cup. Add a crushed bay leaf and blended until smooth. (A high speed blender would be perfect for this.)
Step 3: Place a strainer over a large pot and strain the blended chile mixture into it. Discard the remaining bits.
Step 4: To the pot add all of spices, the vinegar, some Maggi seasoning and vegetable broth. Stir to well combine and leave to simmer over medium heat. This creates the flavorful slow cooked consommé.
Step 5: While the birria consommé simmers let’s make the vegan meat or and our taco filling. In a large non-stick skillet or large pan, heat the oil and once hot add the thinly sliced onion. Sauté until soft and translucent.
Step 6: Add the shredded mushrooms to the pan with a splash of Maggi seasoning, and sauté until soft and a little bit crispy.
Step 7: Add the cooked mushrooms to the pot and allow to simmer for at least another 15 minutes – the longer you leave it the more flavor develops. Before serving taste the broth and adjust the seasonings if or as desired. The birria is ready to serve, in any way you’d like.
Birria consommé is total comfort food. It’s perfect for the cooler days of autumn, spring and the best way to warm up on those frigid winter days too.
Once you make your vegan birria you can serve it as a vegan birria consomé.
All you do is serve in small bowls, top with chopped onion and fresh cilantro and serve with some warm corn tortillas and lime wedges. If you use homemade corn tortillas it’ll taste even better.
You can also serve with a spicy hot salsa if you’d like, but not entirely necessary.
You could take the amazing flavor of vegan birria and add some Asian noodles to make birria ramen. Just take the noodles from any package, discard the seasoning and add the birria consome with some of the vegan meat to make your delicious birria ramen.
Did you know you can also make tamales with birria? Check out my vegan birria tamales recipe!
How to Make Vegan Birria Tacos and Vegan Quesabirria
Making vegan birria tacos and quesabirria or vegan quesabirria tacos is not only easy, but such a scrumptious treat.
Step 1: After you’ve made the birria, you want to separate some of the vegan birria meat from the broth. You can use a slotted spoon or a sieve to do so.
Step 2: Heat a cast-iron skillet or comal or large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot place some corn tortillas on it. Then place some shredded cheese onto half of the tortilla. After 2-3 minutes or once you have melted cheese, add a couple of tablespoons of the vegan birria filling, fold in half.
Step 3: Drizzle some of the birria broth over the tortilla and allow to cook for a few minutes. Carefully flip over add more broth and cook until golden brown or to your desired taste.
Step 4: Serve with a small bowl of the birria broth to dip your vegan birria tacos into. Serve the broth with a drizzle of lime juice, chopped onion and chopped cilantro.
Vegan Birria Tacos Recipe
Ok amigos I hope you make my vegan birria recipe as soon as possible – I promise it will be something you make over and over again. I think it will become your favorite vegan birria taco recipe.
You can enjoy this vegan birria anytime of the week or make it for special occasions or holidays.
Don’t let the ingredients list or instructions scare you off. I’m very thorough and it really isn’t that difficult to cook. Plus you can make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week or freeze it to eat later.
This recipe has so much flavor packed into it and it’s even a meal you can get meat eaters to enjoy!
Leave me a comment letting me know if you try it so I can tell my mom. Also don’t forget to leave a star rating in the recipe card below.
Vegan Birria Tacos & Quesabirria Tacos
- 1 lb oyster mushrooms shredded (will yield 9 cups raw)
- 2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil more if needed
- 1 medium white onion halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning
- 4 large guajillos
- 2 whole chiles de arbol optional for a little heat
- 2 small roma tomatoes
- ½ medium white onion cut into 4 pieces
- 4 large garlic cloves
- water for boiling
- 1 whole bayleaf crushed
- ¼ teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon ground canela
- 2 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2 to 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 8 corn tortillas
- 3 cups shredded vegan cheese
Vegan Birria Instructions
- Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe clean the chiles, then cut off the stem and deseed. In a pot place the chiles, the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves. Pour enough water to cover them and simmer until chiles are rehydrated and the onion is soft.
- Once the chiles have rehydrated, use a slotted spoon to remove them and vegetables from the pot and place into a blender. Add the crushed bay leaf and ½ cup of the boiling broth, blend until you have a perfectly smooth salsa. You can use more boiling broth if needed.
- If you have a Vitamix or Ninja blender you don’t need to strain the salsa, but if you don’t and your blender isn’t too powerful then use a colander to strain the salsa into a pot. Then add the oregano, ground black pepper, allspice, ground cumin, ground clove, canela, remaining Maggi Seasoning, the apple cider vinegar and stir until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Do not add more broth yet!
- While you wait for the salsa to simmer you can cook the shredded oyster mushrooms. In a large enough sauté pan to fit the mushrooms, heat up 2 Tablespoons of oil then add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Then mix in the shredded mushrooms, and drizzle the teaspoon of Maggi seasoning over them and cook until they have softened and are a bit crispy.
- Add the mushrooms to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Then taste and adjust if desired. At this time you can add more broth if you'd like to make a thinner broth. To serve the consume top with finely chopped onion and cilantro, serve with warm corn tortilla and some lime wedges.
Quesabirria Taco Instructions
- After you’ve made the birria, you want to separate some of the “meat” from the consome. You can use a slotted spoon or a sieve to do so.
- Then heat some corn tortillas on a hot comal, then place some shredded cheese onto the tortillas. Obviously for a fully vegan meal use your favorite melting vegan cheese. For a vegetarian quesabirria you use Chihuahua cheese, or asadero or even Oaxaca cheese would work.
- Next you can add a couple of tablespoons of the strained vegan birria over the cheese. Fold in half moon shapes and allow cheese to melt and tortilla to crisp up a bit. Then drizzle some of the broth over each quesabirria. Cook for a few minutes, flip and repeat and cook until the bottom side is nice and crispy. Serve with a bowl of the consume. Enjoy
More Vegan Mexican Stews
Now that the temperatures are starting to drop, make sure you have these recipes on your weekly meal plans.
- Vegan Pozole Rojo
- Vegan Pozole Verde Recipe (2 Ways)
- Vegan Menudo
- Vegan Mexican Lentil Soup
- Sopa de Fideo
- Mexican Shells Soup | Easy Sopa de Conchas
- Easy Mexican Fava Bean Soup
- Frijoles Charros | Mexican Charro Beans Recipe
Have You Seen My Tamales Cookbook?
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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…