These vegan taco stuffed tomatoes are easy to prepare and very delicious with their “meaty” filling of taco spice seasoned tvp; a vegan meat substitute that is much more economical and versatile than veggie ground round.
Serve them as is or pile on your favourite taco toppings: vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, shredded lettuce, avocado, corn chips, cilantro … the list goes on!
We’ve had a great tomato season in our garden this year – so much so that we’re almost sick of eating tomatoes every day! I’ve been trying to come up with creative ways of using them and now that our biggest beauties are finally ripening, I’ve got the perfect specimens for stuffing!
Just like with vegan stuffed peppers, you can stuff a tomato with pretty much anything and let me tell you, I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of fillings for our abundance of tomatoes! My favourite recipe so far has been these taco tomatoes using my favourite cheap meat substitute: tvp.
I love tvp so much I even wrote a whole recipe collection post about it: 40+ TVP Recipes. If you’re not familiar with tvp and why you should have it in your vegan pantry at all times, that post will explain it all for you!
Making these vegan taco stuffed tomatoes couldn’t be easier. First scoop out the tomato innards. I briefly perused some non-vegan taco tomato recipes and was annoyed by the fact that most of them make no use of the tomato pulp! How wasteful. My recipe fixes that!
After frying off some onion and garlic, add the chopped tomato flesh and let it fry down into a thick paste. Then add in your taco seasoning and give it a minute to release the aromas.
You can use either a store-bought packet of taco seasoning or make your own using your favourite recipe. Most store-bought taco seasonings are vegan but be sure to read the ingredients and check online if in doubt. If you don’t have a large spice collection, using a packaged taco seasoning is probably more economical than buying a bunch of spices and mixing your own.
I know this sounds weird but my supermarket only carries one brand of taco seasoning. I find it lacking in cumin and smoked paprika so I added an extra teaspoon of each to my pan. Since each brand is different, feel free to add in, or not, any extra seasonings that you like!
Once you’ve got the spices how you like, add in your pre-soaked tvp crumbles. I like to give them a squeeze with my hands to get out any excess water and prevent them from getting too soggy and losing some of their “meaty” texture.
I also take the pan off the heat before adding the tvp in for the same reason of maintaining its texture. I found that heating it in the pan made it go too soft for my liking.
A bit of tomato sauce is necessary to give the tvp an extra bit of flavour and juiciness so that gets stirred in now along with some cilantro, if you like it, and the tomatoes are ready for stuffing!
Bake the stuffed tomatoes for about 25 minutes or until they are soft and easily pierced with a knife. If you want to add some vegan cheese (choose a brand that melts!), add it in the last 5 minutes.
Because I’m a cheapskate, I served these vegan taco stuffed tomatoes with just a sprinkling of cilantro and some corn chips on the side. But you can dress them up more taco-like by adding some shredded lettuce, a dollop of vegan sour cream or vegan yogurt, avocado, a slice of lime, corn, beans … whatever you want!
Vegan Taco Stuffed Tomatoes
- 1 cup (75 grams) dried tvp / textured vegetable protein – $1.53
- 4 large tomatoes – $0.87
- Salt and pepper as necessary – $0.06
- 1 tablespoon oil – $0.08
- ½ large onion finely diced – $0.12
- 2 cloves of garlic minced – $0.16
- 1 packet taco seasoning about 4 tablespoons. Packets are usually just over 1 oz / 30 gr. – $1.00
- Optional: additional spices if you think it’s necessary. I added 1 tsp each cumin and smoked paprika – $0.07
- ¼ cup (60 ml) plain tomato sauce – $0.12
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro plus more for garnish if desired – $0.08
- Optional toppings: vegan cheese corn chips, vegan sour cream, avocado, shredded lettuce, lime slices, tortilla chips, etc.
- Put the dried tvp in a bowl and cover with water. Set aside.
- Slice the tops of the tomatoes and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp and seeds into a bowl. Season the insides of the tomatoes generously with salt and pepper and place them upside down on a plate to drain any excess juice.
- Remove the chunks of tomato pulp from the bowl, wiping off the seeds and membranes, and roughly chop them. I ended up with just over one cup of chopped tomato pulp.
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until transparent and soft then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chopped tomato pulp. Cook down, stirring frequently, until you have a thick paste – about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F / 17Drain the tvp and give it a little squeeze with your hands to remove the excess water.
- Add the taco seasoning and any additional spices that you think are lacking to the pan and fry, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds to a minute until darkened in colour and the spices are aromatic. Turn off the heat and add the tvp, tomato sauce and cilantro. Mix well and taste. Add a pinch of salt and pepper only if necessary.
- Stuff the filling into the tomatoes and place in an oven-safe dish. If you’re not adding vegan cheese, you can place the lids back on the tomatoes. Bake for 25 minutes or until soft and easily pierced with a knife. If adding vegan cheese, add it in the last 5 minutes to melt.
- Serve hot with your choice of toppings.