Vegan Ground Beef Substitute

This easy homemade vegan ground beef substitute is made with TVP and is a perfectly meaty sub for your favorite vegan ground meat. A great copycat recipe for all your favorite recipes you would usually use store bought ground or minced meat in. Use it to veganize any recipe calling for ground beef – from the best plant based lasagnas to tacos and everything in between.


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I think it’s so cool that we have such great options these days like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods for vegan ground meat substitutes. And I love them. But let’s be real, store-bought vegan meat alternatives can get to be a little expensive, and I always like to know if I can make something similar on my own at home.

Turns out I can. Easily! I was inspired by someone who once made a comment on our vegan burger recipe. They had wondered how it would be turned into more of a similar texture of ground beef. They wanted to use it in place of ground beef for lasagnas and such. And I thought what a fantastic idea! 

So I thought I’d try it, and I’m glad I did because now I can share this vegan ground beef recipe with all of you! These vegan grounds are the perfect sub for all your ground meat needs. The reason it’s perfect for everything is because, just like ground beef, you season it how you want it. It’s great for taco meat, shepherd’s pie, vegan bolognese sauce, etc. The only limit is your imagination!

Why We Love This Vegan Beef Recipe:

  • It’s Useful. Use this recipe as a great base to veganize any recipe that calls for ground beef.
  • It’s Versatile. Add some taco seasoning if you’re in the mood for Mexican food. Or add some Italian seasoning for a tasty lasagna or ravioli meat. Craving a curry? Well, you get the idea. It’s so easy to adapt this recipe to what you want.
  • It’s Budget Friendly. It’s a great alternative to store-bought vegan meat products – more flavor and more vegan meals at a fraction of the cost.
Overhead photo showing all the ingredients you need to make beyond meat copycat

What is vegan ground beef made of?

You’ll need 12 simple ingredients to make this vegan ground beef:

  • Refined coconut oil – Make sure you get a coconut oil labeled “refined” and not one labeled “unrefined” or “virgin”. Refined coconut oil has no coconut taste or smell. If your vegan ground beef tastes like coconuts, this is where you went wrong!
  • Onion – yellow or white, finely minced
  • Garlic – finely minced
  • Spices – chili powder, sea salt, ground black pepper, ground cumin, ground mustard
  • TVP crumbles  – Short for “textured vegetable protein.” This is a must-have plant-based pantry staple and the main ingredient. It’s bits of dehydrated soy protein you season and rehydrate for a vegan meat substitute. They’re a great addition to a lot of our favorite dishes that require a meaty texture. TVP is sold by brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Anthony’s Goods, and they’re usually pretty budget-friendly!
  • Water – to rehydrate the TVP
  • Beet powder – Optional, we use Sunfood beet powder. This adds a great color to our vegan meat, like you see in popular vegan beef brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger!
  • Soy sauce – adds salt and savory notes
  • White miso paste – adds a fantastic umami flavor to this vegan ground beef. Highly recommend the mellow white miso paste from Miso Master.

Where to Buy TVP

Of course the Internet is always an option. Amazon sells a popular brand of TVP from Anthony’s Goods. 

But it’s becoming increasingly popular and more easily available. You can probably find TVP from Bob’s Red Mill in your local grocery stores or health food stores. 

Is TVP gluten-free?

Yes, TVP is a naturally gluten free product. Bob’s Red Mill proudly states that their TVP is made and packaged in their separate and dedicated GF site if you worry about cross contamination of gluten. And it’s a great source of protein as well!

How do you make vegan mince taste like meat?

For this recipe, we use a variety of associative flavors to make our TVP mince taste like meat like: onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and miso paste for a savory umami vibe. It’s a basic recipe and a great good blend of a savory, earthy umami flavor. After it’s made, you can season it further to meet any of your culinary needs.

Overhead photo of a plate of homemade vegan ground beef with a large spoon digging into it

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product of these meatless crumbles. Let us know in the comments if you try any of the subs and how they work out for you! 

For the onion: We suggest using yellow or white onion because they’re more mild than their red counterpart. You can also rehydrate some dehydrated onion. One tablespoon of dehydrated onion is equal to one small minced onion.

For the garlic: Use 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic for each garlic clove the recipe calls for. If you are using garlic powder, use 1/8 of a teaspoon per clove of garlic.

For the spices: Feel free to shake things up with the spices in this recipe based on what you’re using the beef for. Add some taco seasoning for taco night, curry powder for Indian dishes, or Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and ground fennel for a spicy Italian version.

For the beet powder: You can skip the beet powder or use 1-2 Tbsp beet puree. 1/2 Tbsp paprika could also work and would add some color as well as flavor.

For the soy sauce: Tamari, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, vegan Worcestershire, any of these would work as an alternative.

For the miso paste:

This adds such a great flavor, so I’d try not to skip it if you can help it. But I know it can be harder to find / order than some of the other ingredients. If this is the case, you can try subbing tomato paste! You may also need to add a little salt to the beef, but wait until the end to taste it and see.

For the refined coconut oil:

Olive oil or avocado oil can be used in a pinch, but the refined coconut oil is the closest to giving that fatty ground beef feel on the tongue. Feel free to cut the oil in half if you’d like a lower fat content. You can also sub water or vegetable broth for an oil-free version. The texture will be very different, but I think it would still taste pretty great.

Three overhead photos showing the process of making vegan ground beef in a saute pan

How to Make Vegetarian Meat from Scratch

Step 1 – Saute the veggies: Start by adding the refined coconut oil to a large deep non stick pan and turn the heat to medium. Once melted, add the minced onions and garlic and stir. Then, add the chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and ground mustard. Stir again until everything is well-coated and continue sauteing for 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

Step 2 – Rehydrate the TVP: Next, add your TVP, water, beet powder, soy sauce, and miso paste. Stir thoroughly to incorporate everything. You especially want to make sure you fully incorporate the miso paste. Then, turn the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, continuing to stir often until the excess water has cooked into the TVP or evaporated.

Step 3 – Brown the vegan meat (optional): If you want to use this vegan ground beef as a replacement for raw ground beef in any recipe, leave this as is. But if you’re using it for something like tacos or lasagna, you may want to brown the vegan ground beef or even get a nice char on it. To do this, turn the heat to high and cook for a total of 5 minutes, stopping once halfway through to thoroughly stir and scrape the bottom of the nonstick pan with a rubber spatula.

How to Use Plant Based Ground Beef

Use it to veganize all your favorite recipes that call for ground beef! It can be used in lasagna, tacos, nachos, potstickers, meat pies, stuffed peppers, and even casseroles. 

Recipes Using Vegan Ground Beef

Here are some of our own recipes where you can use this vegan ground beef:

Overhead close up photo of a round white plate of vegan beef

How to Store Leftover Meatless Ground

Make this vegan beef ahead of time to use in a recipe or freeze it for later. Either way, this recipe makes great leftovers!

In the fridge: Store meatless ground in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Freezer: Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight freezer-safe bag or container in the freezer for up to 3 months. We like to freeze in our 1/2 cup or 1 cup Souper Cubes, so we can defrost only what we need. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave at 50% power until thawed through.

I can’t wait to hear all the fun things you veganize with this meatless ground beef! 

When you try it, make sure you let us know by leaving a star rating and review in the comments below. It helps more people find our vegan recipes, and we just love cheering you on in your kitchen wins!

Close up overhead photo of a pile of vegetarian ground beef with a spoon digging into it

Vegetarian Ground Beef Substitute

Brittany Roche
This easy homemade vegan ground beef substitute is made with TVP and is a perfectly meaty sub for your favorite vegan ground meat. A great copycat recipe for all your favorite recipes you would usually use store bought ground or minced meat in. Use it to veganize any recipe calling for ground beef – from the best plant based lasagnas to tacos and everything in between.
4.70 from 10 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Vegan TVP Recipes
Cuisine American
Calories 262 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil
  • 1 small onion finely minced
  • 6 large cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/4 cup dry TVP crumbles textured vegetable protein
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp beet powder optional, for color
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp white miso paste

Instructions
 

  • Saute the veggies: Add the refined coconut oil to a large deep non stick pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the minced onions and garlic, stir. Then, add the chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and ground mustard. Stir again until everything is well-coated and continue sauteing for 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  • Rehydrate the TVP: Next, add your TVP, water, beet powder, soy sauce, and miso paste. Stir thoroughly to incorporate everything (especially the miso paste). Then, turn the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10, stirring often.
  • Brown the meat (optional): If you want to brown this vegan ground beef (it depends on what you’re doing with it!), turn the heat to medium high and flatten the ground beef out in the pan. Let it cook, without touching it, for 1 full minute. Then, stir it up. If you want more of a char, repeat this process until it’s cooked to your liking.
  • Serve: Use it to veganize all your favorite recipes that call for ground beef! It can be used in lasagna, tacos, nachos, potstickers, meat pies, stuffed peppers, and even casseroles. Here are some of our own recipes where you can use this vegan ground beef: Veggie Zucchini Lasagna, Vegan Cottage Pie Cupcakes, Homemade Vegan Ravioli, Copycat Vegan Crunchwrap.
  • Store: This makes great leftovers! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. To freeze, let the vegan ground cool completely before transferring to an airtight freezer-safe bag or container. Stored like this, it will be good for up to 3 months. We like to freeze this Vegan Ground Beef in our 1/2 cup or 1 cup Souper Cubes, so we can defrost only what we need.

Notes

Substitution Options

For the miso paste: This adds such a great flavor, so I’d try not to skip it if you can help it. But I know it can be harder to find / order than some of the other ingredients. If this is the case, you can try subbing tomato paste! You may also need to add a little salt to the beef, but wait until the end to taste it and see.
For the beet powder: You can skip the beet powder or use 1-2 Tbsp beet puree. 1/2 Tbsp paprika could also work and would add some color as well as flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup vegan meatCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 788mgFiber: 7gSugar: 6g
Keyword how to make vegetarian meat from scratch, plant based ground beef, vegan ground beef, vegan ground beef recipe, vegan ground beef substitute, vegetarian ground beef crumbles recipe, vegetarian ground beef substitute
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6 Comments

  1. I made it exactly as written! (Used the paprika sub for beet powder as you mentioned) and yay - I was hoping this would be it and it is!!! I’ve made things with tvp before and it just didn’t match that firm, umami, beefy flavor like ground beef. This totally does and I found myself just eating spoonfuls of it with the roasted broccoli I made - soooo good!! Thank you!!!

    5 stars

  2. Making this recipe right now! Skipped the first step, added the juice from a can of beets instead of water and the color came out amazing! I used dried onions and garlic as well as some sesame seeds to add some texture. I also added both tomato and miso paste and a few dashes of liquid aminos to enhance the umami flavors. Using this as a meal prep recipe to make stuffed mushrooms, spaghetti, and more!

    5 stars

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