How To Make Meat-Free Chicken Tacos Like A Vegan Chef

With so many vegan products to try in the food world and more popping up daily, it's easy to start making vegan meals, like meat-free chicken tacos. We spoke with Priyanka Naik, a celebrated vegan chef, author, and TV host, and picked her brain to get her best tips on making delicious vegan tacos, like Tasting Table's smoked chicken tacos recipe, but with meat-free chicken. 

Naik emphasized first picking a good substitute for the meaty protein in your tacos. She stated, "A meat alternative could be shredded plantain, shredded jackfruit, or a chicken substitute like Daring Chicken." Daring Chicken is a plant-based "chicken" product on the market. Jackfruit is a popular meat substitute for vegans because of its neutral taste and pleasant texture. You could also substitute chicken with tempeh, one of Tasting Table's listed ingredient substitutes every vegan should know

After you pick your plant-based chicken or meat substitute, it's time to cook it to perfection. "I like sauteeing my plantain/jackfruit/Daring chicken with light olive oil, diced chipotle, ground cumin and [a] squeeze of lime juice, kosher salt, and black pepper with a splash of vegetable stock/water until softened," Naik said. Adding seasoning and umami flavor to your meat-free substitutes will make them more satisfying with each bite. 

Use this vegan chef's tip to make burritos and taquitos with meat-free chicken

After cooking her meat alternative, be it jackfruit, plantain, tempeh, or store-bought plant-based chicken, Priyanka Naik has another tip before incorporating the ingredients into her tacos. "I shred it with two forks and keep it aside to cool before rolling," she stated. This gives the illusion that one is eating shredded chicken or carnitas with every bite. Then, build the taco as you would, with other vegan ingredients, like plant-based cheese. Tasting Table has ranked 16 vegan cheese brands from worst to best and has a recipe to help you turn cashews into vegan ricotta cheese.

Now, you don't have to use Naik's tips for making tacos exclusively. You can also use your cooked and shredded meat alternatives to make delicious burritos and taquitos. Basically, you can make almost any of your favorite chicken Mexican dishes plant-based, like a celebrated vegan chef. If you need ideas on where to start, we have a list of 15 types of tacos and 15 essential ingredients you need for Mexican cooking