The other week I met my friend for yoga and dinner at a vegan café in Coconut Grove. It’s an adorable spot, with smoothies, salads, and even vegan pizza. They have so many customizable options, so I decided to create my own salad. Walnut meat was on the menu and I was intrigued – I’d never heard of it before. I selected my ingredients along with some vegan cream sauces and waited…
It was so delicious, all I could do was wonder how I’d never heard of walnut meat before! Making walnut meat was immediately on my to-do. I figured it couldn’t be all that tricky – and I was right, piece of cake! Plus, it was high-time I posted a non-smoothie recipe up here!
Walnut Meat Tacos will Make Your Summer so Deliciously Nutritious
Not to mention summer weather calls for tacos! I decided to add some smoked paprika to the mix cause it’s just so smokin and delicious. 😉 I love smokey flavor mixed with nuts, so I figured it would add some nice dimension to the flavor profile of the walnut meat.
Not to mention – it’s raw! No cooking required!! This is one of those recipes that makes a plant-based diet – and a raw diet for that matter – actually doable. Because what is life without tacos.
Walnut Nutrition and Health Benefits
Truthfully, I’ve also been wanting to get some more walnuts into my diet. Walnuts are packed with Omega-3s, one of the essential fatty acids. They also contain a good amount of vitamin E and some B vitamins, as well as iron, selenium, calcium, and zinc. They also contain the good fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
More intriguing to me are the potential brain-boosting benefits of walnuts. Both the phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fats have potential benefits for brain health and brain function. The omegas help reduce oxidative stress in the brain. Not only that, but they also help improve neurogenesis – the creation of neurons – and brain signaling.
The vitamin E, folate, and ellagic acid all contribute neuroprotective and memory benefits to the brain.
There is also some evidence that omega-3s can play a role in mood disorders. Eating walnuts has also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, some research has found that walnut consumption may improve the health of our microbiome – and therefore our overall health – by altering the composition of our gut microbial community.
How to Make Walnut Taco Meat
Walnut meat is a food after my heart (and my taste buds)! It literally takes under 60 seconds to make. Plus it’s both vegan and non-vegan approved taste-wise. Everyone who has tried it (yes, non-vegans included!) has asked for the recipe… so here ya go!
You take the walnuts, spices, and coconut aminos (soy or tamari work too if you eat them), and throw them all into a food processor. Pulse a few times until the walnuts are reduced to tiny bits and they’re only just beginning to clump together (and look like, yes, ground meat!).
That’s all folks! Simple ingredients. No cooking required. Literally just seconds. And I promise your taste buds will thank you forever. You’re welcome.
Regular paprika totally works for this recipe as well if you’re not into the smoked paprika, or simply don’t have it on hand.
The Best Ways to Eat Walnut Taco Meat
First – duh – make a taco! But if you’re gluten-free like I am, taco shells present a problem. Fortunately I found these gluten-free grain-free tortillas and they’re a total game-changer. Delicious yet easy on the stomach, and they don’t fall apart! I fill the taco with the walnut meat, a little bit of chopped greens, some avocado, and salsa, and bam #tacotuesday just got elevated to every day!
I am also a big fan of taco salads. This walnut meat is perfect for that. I’ll just throw some greens into a bowl and top it off with the walnut meat, avocado, salsa, maybe throw in some cucumber and diced tomato, and sprinkle it with nutritional yeast and perhaps a dash of turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, or all of the above!
Also on the list is lettuce wraps – a combination of the previous two options. Easy, healthy, and oh-so-satisfying!
Whip up a batch of this taco-flavored walnut meat at the beginning of the week and you’ll be sorted for days.
Smoked Paprika Walnut Taco Meat
A flavorful plant-based version of the classic taco meat, made of just walnuts and a few seasonings and spices, ready in minutes!
- 1.5 cups walnuts use organic if possible
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pinch cayenne
- lime juice
Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
Pulse until the walnuts are finely ground and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Be careful not to process too much, otherwise it will turn into butter! A few quick pulses will go a long way – I do about 10-15 seconds max!