Smoky Vegetarian/vegan Eggplant 'taco Meat' Recipe

This eggplant 'taco meat' is completely vegetarian, vegan, and super healthy. The combination of spices (particularly the smoked chili powders), balsamic vinegar, and other seasonings give this taco topping a sweet and smoky flavour that pairs well with other mild toppings like sour cream and guac. Thought it doesn't end with tacos: you can use this 'meat' in burritos, on pizzas, burgers, & more!

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Servings: 4

Prep Time: 01:05

Cook Time: 00:35

for the eggplant preparation:

1 medium-sized eggplant

teaspoon salt

for the marinade:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup water

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons smoked chipotle powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sugar-free dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

pinch of thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1 whole red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive-oil


1Cut off the top and bottom of the eggplant, then peel (you can use a vegetable peeler for this but I usually use a knife). Thinly slice the peeled eggplant.

2Lay eggplant slices out in a single layer on several plates, or a large sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 15 minutes, until eggplants 'sweat'.

3Rinse the eggplants well, then squeeze all of the leftover moisture out using a clean towel. Really make sure you squeeze them well - don't feel as though you have to press gently.

4Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add eggplants. Let sit for an hour, covered.

5Heat a large spoonful of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add in the eggplants along with the marinade, onions, and peppers.

6Cook, stirring very often, incorporating any brown spots as they develop. The vegetables should become soft and absorb all of the liquid, and the eggplant should 'wilt' significantly. This took about 20 minutes for me.

7You can then use the eggplant 'meat' for your tacos, burritos, and more! (see notes)

Additional Notes

Although I originally created this 'taco meat' to use in my gluten-free cheese 'taco shells', my favourite way to have it is in my homemade taco salad. To make it, add chopped romaine and tomatoes to a large plate, add several dollops of guacamole and sour cream, then top with fresh salsa and feta cheese. Then you can add the eggplant mixture, and if you like, some scrambled or fried eggs.

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