Recipes > Ground 'Beef' | Plant-Based

Ground 'Beef' | Plant Based


This ground "beef" is made with cauliflower, walnuts, tomato, garlic, chilies and spices. This mixture is great in tacos, burritos, lasagna and more. To the eye, it looks just like real ground beef.
  • Serves: 4 cups
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Views: 31,103
  • Success Rating: 98% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Ground "Beef"

Making the Ground "Beef"
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste or 1 tomato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Chile de árbol or chipotle powder*
  • 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos


To start, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a large baking tray with parchment and set aside.

Next, clean and trim cauliflower and cut into florets. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until quite fine. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Next, pulse the walnuts until their texture is similar to that of the cauliflower. Add the ground walnuts to the bowl of cauliflower.

Next, mince the garlic and add to the bowl along with the tomato paste (if using a fresh tomato, dice it first), liquid smoke, Bragg’s, Chile de árbol, salt and pepper.

*NOTE: If you do not have Chile de árbol or chipotle powder, use more chili powder instead. Grind three whole Chile de árbol peppers to make your own powder. The number of peppers you add depends on your taste.

Using your hands, mix everything together until well combined. Place the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and evenly spread out.

Step 2: Cooking the Vegan Ground "Beef"

Cooking the Vegan Ground "Beef"


Place the baking tray into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Then, stir the mixture, spread evenly and return to the oven. At this point, check and stir every 15 minutes until the mixture has dried and browned. The cooking time will range from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes.

Once the “beef” is done, you can use it immediately in tacos, burritos, tomato sauce for pasta, or tossed on a salad. The mixture also works well as a filling in dishes such as lasagne or cabbage rolls.

The mixture will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen.

Chef's Notes

Feel free to change up the flavors in this recipe to suit whatever it is you are making. For instance, if you are making a lasagne, you will likely want to omit the liquid smoke, Chile de árbol and chili powder and replace it with chili flakes and perhaps some basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

If you don’t like the flavor of liquid smoke, then by all means, simply omit it from the recipe.

This recipe was inspired by Ricki Heller.


  • Alisa L
    Alisa L
    This was excellent. Even my meat eater guests thought it was a decent meat substitute. I used it in a pasta dish. I will be using the left overs in tacos. I changed the seasoning to make it more appropriate for Italian food and added paprika and extra tomato paste to darken the color.
  • Rayssa H
    Rayssa H
    I tried this amazing recipe for cabbage rolls and the success was sound. It not only can pass easily as a great meat substitute, but a very nutritious, super delicious, to-go dish with all the advantages of plant-based food and none of the cons of animal meat. Thank you!

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