I have a great group of friends I love to cook for. Between everyone in the group, there are a number of different dietary needs and preferences: vegetarian, dairy sensitivities, gluten sensitivities, peanut allergies, and the like. When I cook for them, I look for the commonalities they all share and make food that everyone can eat. This makes it more manageable for me, as the person planning, prepping, and cooking, and it’s also more inclusive to everyone eating.
If you have foods you avoid, choose not to eat or watch out for, eating and finding food can be a little bit stressful. You’re always checking menus, asking questions, and trying sleuth out a meal that will not make your body feel like trash, have an allergic reaction, or mess with your ethics. It can be a weird feeling to just order whatever you want and not worry.
So when I cook for everyone, the 95% of the meal works for everyone’s food and dietary needs. I’ll add some options on the side if they want to add them to what we’re serving (meat, butter, any sauces or dressings that may have an ingredient one person may not tolerate).
When it comes to enjoying a taco or nacho night with my group, I’ll break out this Vegan Taco Nut Meat. I’ve put it in a few recipes on the blog over the years, but this is the first time it’s a recipe all its own. Vegan Taco Nut Meat is a mix of mushrooms, walnuts, and seeds that are pulsed together in a food processor.
To make Vegan Taco Nut Meat your own or work with what you’ve got:
You can sub walnuts with macadamia nuts (almonds don’t work as well, in my opinion).
Use any mushroom you prefer, I’ve used shiitakes, portobellos, criminis, and white button.
You can swap out the sunflower seeds for pumpkin.
Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Want a more Italian flair? Add in a few teaspoons of parsley, oregano and thyme. More Mexican? Add in a few teaspoons cumin, chipotle, and paprika.