The Best Substitute For Vegan Carne Asada

When going vegan, there's a long list of foods that you know you're going to miss. Close to the top of that list is the ever-so juicy, salty, and limey traditional style of Mexican tacos: carne asada. This classic style of one of the most beloved foods in the world is characterized as a fresh and flavorful steak taco that is balanced with lime juice and complimented by fresh chopped cilantro and zesty red onions — how could you ever give it up?

Even in 2022, when most grocery stores offer plant-based meat alternatives like seitan and tofu, via Livestrong, what we find at the stores doesn't always live up to the flavor or texture of the real thing. However, don't think you have to give up Taco Tuesday for good. When it comes to vegan-izing a classic cuisine like carne asada, the ultimate substitute for a finely flavored skirt steak comes down to one simple vegetable you may already have on hand.


Mushrooms are loved in the vegan and vegetarian world for their meat-like textures and sponge-like abilities, as well as their delivery of essential nutrients (via Faithful to Nature). From burger patties to mushroom stroganoff, these plant-like fungi are one of the most versatile ingredients in vegan and vegetarian cooking. Not only are mushrooms the best substitute to recreate the tenderness of the steak used in carne asada, but they're also able to absorb the authentic marinade just like the meat would (via Life Hacker).

There are many mushrooms on the market, but the best for replicating that meaty texture you're trying to achieve is the big portobellos or king oysters (via Healthy Simple Yum). Which you choose depends on whether or not you prefer a shredded style of carne asada, for which you'd go with the king oysters that you can easily tear apart with a fork. What's great about mushrooms is that you can essentially treat them just as you would the meat: Just choose your marinade, grill, slice, garnish, serve, and never miss out on Taco Tuesday again.