I’m back with another clean-out-the-fridge experiment turned dinner staple, Mushroom Tacos. Made with shiitake and baby portobello mushrooms, hearty cabbage, and spicy tofu cooked in a sweet and spicy Asian sauce, these healthy tacos have been a hit at not one but TWO casual dinners I’ve hosted in the last two weeks.
If the ingredient combo in this mushroom taco filling sounds odd, that is because the first time I made them, I was in the process of trying to use up every possible odd and end in the refrigerator to clear space for a giant grocery trip I was preparing to make the next day. The refrigerator in our new house is smaller than a standard size, so it happens frequently.
Our prior home had not one but two refrigerators, and even though the second dated from the late 1980s, it worked. When the time came to transition to having only one small one, I knew we were destined to starve.
KIDDING. It was an adjustment at first, but I’m slowly learning to buy things in smaller quantities as we need them. And if I over buy? Well then the leftovers meet unexpectedly delicious ends (my Mushroom Pasta would be a great option to make too!)
Which brings us to Mushroom Tacos.
Born of necessity to use up what we had on hand, these spicy vegetarian mushroom tacos turned out to be one of our favorite healthy dinners in a good while (and as good as vegetarian Cauliflower Tacos).
We loved the tacos so much, I’ve made them twice since, once for friends, then again to perfect the recipe for you all here.
About This Mushroom Taco Recipe
The ingredients I found in my refrigerator that set this recipe in motion are:
- Mushrooms. The first time I made shiitake mushroom tacos, because that was what we had on hand. I’ve since tweaked the recipe to use cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, as they are more affordable and you need quite a lot for this recipe.
You can really use any kind you like (oyster mushroom tacos or a blend of different mushrooms would be delish), with one exception: do not use plain white button mushrooms. Their flavor is bland, and your tacos won’t have the oomph the recipe needs.
- Cabbage. One of the most under-appreciated of all seasonal vegetables, cabbage is delicious, especially sautéed. It’s mild and ideal for soaking up all the yummy flavors we’ll be adding to these tacos.
- Tofu. I found a package of this spicy Italian-style tofu in our fridge and decided to try tossing it in to make the tacos higher in protein. BINGO. Its spice really elevated the filling and made it much more interesting.
I realize Italian-style tofu sounds odd, but I love this product and buy it regularly. It’s ultra high in protein, it’s the right amount of spicy, and if you cut it up and sauté it, it has an excellent texture and is not at all mushy. I put it in eggs, pasta, and, now lately, Mushroom Tacos. Not a single guest had any idea that the tacos contained tofu, so if even if you are skeptical, I highly encourage you to give it a try.
That said, if the idea of vegetarian mushroom tofu tacos just does not sit well with you or you can’t find this product, you can swap Italian turkey sausage or chicken sausage. I do not recommend regular tofu. Its flavor and texture won’t do the job here. (Check out these Tofu Tacos for a recipe using regular tofu or these Tempeh Tacos that use tempeh.)
- Hoisin, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar. This trio creates a sweet, sticky, well-balanced sauce that makes the mushroom taco filling irresistibly good.
All three of the above ingredients are pantry staples if you make Asian-inspired recipes like stir-fries regularly. They are not expensive, widely available in most grocery stores, and worth keeping on hand (you can use the leftovers to make many of these stir-fry recipes with them too).
- Ginger and Garlic. The background notes that keep the Mushroom Tacos tasting fresh and zippy. Do not skimp.
- Peanuts. The final crunchy, toasty element that makes the Mushroom Tacos shine.
More Ways to Serve Mushroom Tacos
- Ditch the tortilla and mix with brown rice, similar to a classic stir-fry.
- Swap the tortilla for bib lettuce leaves to create lettuce cups (similar to these Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps).
Other Tasty Vegetarian Recipes
Here’s to accidental Mushroom Tacos you’ll want to make on purpose!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 12–14 ounces tofu Italian “sausage” or regular precooked Italian turkey or chicken sausage links spicy or sweet, as you prefer (we like spicy!), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin half-moon-shaped slices; do not swap regular plain tofu, as its texture and flavor will not work out properly
- 1/2 small head green or red cabbage cored and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- 24 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 4 large cloves garlic minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced, dark green parts divided from the light green and white parts
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1–2 teaspoons ground fresh chili paste (sambal oelek), sriracha, or similar hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts plus additional for serving
- Warmed flour tortillas
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep dutch oven or wok over medium high. Add the chopped tofu “sausage” or chicken/turkey sausage. Cook until brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the cabbage, mushrooms, and 1/3 cup water. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of cabbage, but it will cook down significantly. Let cook until the cabbage is tender and the mushrooms are browned, soft, and have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes, stirring often at first so that the cabbage at the bottom of the pan browns but does not burn. If at any point the mixture starts to become dry and stick to the bottom, splash in a little more water as needed.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and white and light green parts of the green onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the sauteed tofu or sausage, rice vinegar, hoisin, soy sauce, chili paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons water. Stir until everything is warmed through and combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in the peanuts and remove from heat and sprinkle with reserved dark green onions. Pile inside warm tortillas and enjoy hot with a sprinkle of extra peanuts.
Join today and start saving your favorite recipes
Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.Sign Me Up
I love the sound of this recipe. No Italian-style tofu anywhere near me, but I need to keep them vegetarian. And I’m not a big fan of “fake meat” like vegetarian sausages. Trying to think of some substitute for the tofu. Any ideas?
Hi Libby! The Italian seasoning of the tofu adds A LOT to the recipe, so you might find the flavor lacking. You could do more mushrooms or chickpeas, then add red pepper flakes to try to kick it up. I haven’t tried it myself, so you’d be experimenting.
Last Sunday, Matt and I double dated with Kaci and her husband and dined at a local taco joint. I ordered one each of their tofu taco and Thai mushroom in a blue corn tortilla. Both were fabulous! So we’re on the same wave length, and I just love the sound of these!
These look delish!
Delicious! I couldn’t find Italian-style tofu so I used vegan Italian sausage instead. It worked very well and browned nicely. My only suggestion is to thicken the sauce with cornstarch at the end. It was a little drippy and made our burritos a bit hard to handle. I may make it in a wok next time to facilitate that. Great recipe and thanks, loving this blog!
Libby, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the tacos! Thanks for reporting back with your swaps!
Made these yesterday and my husband RAVED about them. I couldn’t find vegan Italian sausage either so just added Italian seasoning to the “meat.” Also topped with parmesan. This recipe is definitely going into rotation!
Jaime, I’m so glad they were a hit! Thanks for taking the time to share this review and your tweaks!
You got my attention with mushrooms! I love them and use them in all different recipes, many of my own making. Will be looking for Italian tofu as I was unaware it existed prior to reading this. This truly sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Another one to pin!
Penny mushrooms are one of our faves too. I hope you love the tacos!
Excellent. I was skeptical as I watched the cabbage cook down, but after adding the vinegar and hoisin sauce it really came to life. I added jalepenos and shallots because I love both and it seemed to fit the recipe. I used chorizo style vegan crumbles and a diced up italian veggie sausage. Absolutely will make again. Everyone loved it.
YAY! I’m SO happy to hear this, Jolene! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!
This dish tasted amazing! What was also excellent was the flexibility of the recipe – I wanted it as side/addition so did not add the tofu/protein and I did not have exact ingredients (had to use the random mushrooms I had, only had one green onion). It was still delicious and so easy to make! Thank you!!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Amanda! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I didn’t have hoisin sauce so substituted that with what I had – teriyaki. Came out super delicious!! Hubby was blown away. Also realized we only had 2 tacos left after I cooked it so we poured the rest over a bed of brown rice – equally delicious! We had Field Roast apple sage breakfast sausage so I used that and it worked. Spicy Italian may have been better but we made it work! Thanks for a great recipe.
Hi Mina! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Made these using the Trader Joes baked Sriracha tofu. They came out excellent, this is definitely a keeper recipe.
Hi Amy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I made these with Abbot’s plant based chorizo. So good! I’ll make these mushroom tacos again. Thanks!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Marcia! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Just curious about one thing here:
You mention that you changed the recipe to use cremini mushrooms.
But then in the next paragraph, you say not to use white button mushrooms.
These are both Agaricus bisporus. Just different names for the same mushroom.
Are you saying that the change you made to use cremini mushrooms was a bad one and we shouldn’t follow your example?
In any case, thank you for the recipe!
Hi Kevin, actually baby bella (cremini) mushrooms are different than plain white button mushrooms. They are bigger and firmer and vary in color from light tan to rich brown. Baby bellas have an earthier, meatier flavor compared to plain white button mushrooms. Hope you enjoy the recipe!