Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Walnut Meat Tacos

Áine Carlin
  • Serves: 2-4
  • Preparation: 25
  • Ready: 25

Like any traditional taco, these Walnut Meat Tacos are a harmonious layering of texture and flavour, and so satisfying you’ll soon forget they aren’t even ‘cooked’.


For the tacos

  • 130 g walnuts
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 little gem lettuces

For the pineapple salsa

  • ½ pineapple, peeled and diced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 small green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 20 g fresh coriander, roughly chopped

For the garlicky avocado sauce

  • 1 avocado, peeled and stoned
  • 1 tablespoon coconut cream or yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2–4 tablespoons water
  • salt


Put the walnuts in a food processor or blender and blitz to a coarse rubble. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spices, soy sauce or tamari and oil and pulse until it forms a crumbly ‘meaty’ texture.

For the pineapple salsa, put the pineapple and yellow pepper in a bowl. Add the spring onions and chilli. Squeeze over the lime juice and stir to combine before adding the coriander. Stir and set aside until needed.

For the avocado sauce, put the avocado flesh in a food processor or blender with the coconut cream or yogurt, garlic, lime juice and a pinch of salt and blend until smooth. While it’s blending, gradually pour in the extra virgin olive oil until amalgamated before thinning out with a few tablespoons of water, depending on how thick you prefer it. Check for seasoning, adding a little more salt if necessary. Refrigerate until needed.

Separate the leaves from the little gem lettuces. Spread some avocado sauce in the centre of each lettuce leaf, spoon over a generous amount of walnut meat and top with the pineapple salsa. Eat, taco style.


Additonal notes

From The New Vegan by Áine Carlin, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Nassima Rothacker.

“Even if the idea of raw food really doesn’t float your boat, these walnut meat tacos are a great way of easing yourself into a wonderfully vibrant cuisine. Like any traditional taco, they are a harmonious layering of texture and flavour, and so satisfying you’ll soon forget they aren’t even ‘cooked’. I love to balance out the robust taste of the walnut meat with this tangy pineapple salsa, paired with a garlicky creamy avocado sauce.”

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