You don’t have to follow a plant-based diet to be curious about vegetarian taco recipes. Besides, whether you’re a fan of carnitas or tofu, anything nestled into a warm tortilla is bound to be delicious.
Coming up with tasty yet creative vegetarian taco ideas is simpler than you may think, too. It starts with the type of filling you want to use—there are nearly endless plant-based options out there, Stephen Chavez, a chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, tells SELF. Try some seasonal vegetables like meaty mushrooms, zucchini, squash, or tender potatoes, says Chavez. Or for an even heartier choice, lean on some of your favorite vegetarian proteins like beans, jackfruit, walnuts, or vegan chorizo, he says.
Once you decide on your filling, determine what taste you want your taco to have, says Chavez. This is where seasonings are going to come in key. If you like spicy bites, toss in some jerk or chipotle powder. If you like more floral notes, throw in some za’atar or even sumac, he says. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your go-to flavor boosters.
Then, of course, there are the toppings, which can really take your taco to the next level, says Chavez. Salsa can certainly do the trick in boosting flavor, he says. Think: a refreshing pico de gallo, corn version, or a peach rendition. You can also use toppings as another way to add protein to make your tacos more filling, he continues. So if you’re making salsa, why not throw some beans like black, pinto, or edamame in there? Another easy garnish is pickled onions: You can batch-cook a bunch ahead of time, store them in your fridge, and reach for them to provide some tangy notes, he says.
Tacos can serve as a blank canvas, and it’s up to you what you want to fill them with, says Chavez. But if you’re new to cooking with plant-based ingredients as the main character, you may need a little inspiration on where to start. That’s why we’ve rounded up 21 vegetarian taco recipes that are so good they’ll have you stretching meatless Monday into Tuesday… and maybe even Wednesday, too.