Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe: #1 Perfect Vegan Ground Beef Substitute

Let’s face it ground beef is so popular because of its ease and convenience. We could all use a bit of convenience in our lives. Hence, the vegan ground beef substitute recipe. As vegans, we can be pretty dang creative when we want to be.

After doing research, I have perfected one of the best vegan ground beef recipes I can find. Not only is it flavorful, but it is also easy to make. Let’s get right into it.

Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe Ingredients

Extra Firm Tofu

This is the “substitute” in the vegan ground beef substitute.  Tofu is essentially soy proteins, water, and some sort of fat. This ingredient offers a high amount of plant-based protein but has a very neutral flavor.  Be sure to buy the extra firm variety of tofu for this best vegan ground beef recipe.

Best vegan ground beef recipe: Extra firm tofu.

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste adds depth of flavor to this recipe that is much needed. This starts the base flavor with the deep richness you would typically get from ground beef.

Tamari or Soy Sauce

Soy sauce give the best vegan ground beef recipe a flavor you seldom find. The flavor is called umami. You need just a touch of this flavor to get an extra layer of flavor from your beef. Use Tamari for a gluten free alternative to this ingredient.

Nutritional Yeast

This particular ingredient helps with giving the beef a “diary-like” flavor. Using this ingredient makes the vegan ground beef substitute “beefier”. This ingredient is absolutely necessary, but I do recommend using it.


The best vegan ground beef recipe will have a balance of spices. This is where you can get a little creative on the end result of your recipe.  I like to use a touch of garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of paprika as a base.

Maple Syrup or Honey

More often than not, a vegan ground beef substitute can get a little acidic. The tofu offers a bit of acidity and so does the tomato paste. I like to use a very small amount of maple syrup or honey (whichever you prefer) to balance that out.

How to Make the Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe

The best vegan ground beef recipe starts off with a block of extra firm tofu! You are going to want to drain this very well and pat it dry. Be sure to get this as dry as possible for the best results.

Now to crumble the tofu. You want to get it into small granules so be thorough and take your time! You can use whatever you want to do this. I like to use my hands, but you can use a fork if you don’t have gloves.

Once the tofu is crumbled, time to add the flavor! Just mix the rest of the ingredients and make sure they are evenly distributed throughout. The tomato paste can hide in clumps sometimes. Finish this step by spreading the tofu evenly on a lined sheet tray.

At 425 F roast the tofu crumbles in the oven.  This will take 35-45 minutes or so depending on how crispy you want the vegan ground beef substitute. Halfway through the cooking process, you may want to mix the tofu on the tray or give the tray a flip.

Once your tofu has reached the desired texture, pull it out of the oven and let cool. Its best practice to let it cool completely at room temperature then store it in the fridge. To cool it down quicker transfer your best vegan ground beef recipe to another tray.

Spices for the best vegan ground beef recipe. Making a vegan ground beef substitute.

How to use this Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe?

Taco Meat

Vegan ground beef substitute as taco meat, DUH! All you need to do is add some Mexican spice and cook away. There is a reason why this best vegan ground beef recipe is so popular!

If you need a recipe for some awesome taco seasoning, check out these Mexican seasonings here!


This vegan ground beef substitute is perfect for soups. It has plenty of flavor and it can withstand an exceptionally lengthy cooking time.


With the proper care and preparation, you can turn this recipe into a delicious sandwich. You can patty it and make some vegan burgers or maybe some vegan sausage sandwiches? Or you could keep it ground and make some vegan sloppy joes!


Casseroles aren’t exempt from the vegan ground beef madness! The possibilities are endless. When making casseroles I literally just throw my favorite things together, or just all the leftovers I have! This vegan ground beef substitute would be a good addition to most casseroles!

Stir Fry

Stir fry is one of y many weaknesses when it comes to food. Something about charred vegetables that still have a crunch, and umami flavors are just my cup of tea! With your favorite vegetables and rice you will have a bangin’ stir fry for lunch or dinner!


Sometimes we got to get our hands dirty to satisfy a craving. There’s no shame in that! Take this best vegan ground beef recipe and make a delicious plate of nachos. This is an awesome idea for parties or sports gatherings. Who doesn’t like an awesome plate of nachos?

If you like these ideas, try out some other recipes I have!!

Veggie Burgers

Vegan Breakfast Sausages

Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe Tricks and Tips

Press Your Tofu

Just by simply pressing your tofu for a good 20- 30 minutes does wonders for cooking time and caramelization of the tofu. This also helps with flavor because the moisture pressed out won’t dilute the flavor you are introducing into it.

To press the tofu, wrap in cheesecloth or a tea towel. Place on a plate or cooling rack lined sheet tray. Then set something heavy on top of the wrapped tofu like a plate or sauté pan and leave there for 20 minutes or so.


Customize your vegan ground beef to fit your personal tastes. If you like your vegan ground beef substitute a little spicy then add some cayenne or maybe some peppers.

If you know you are going to use this recipe for taco meat, then go ahead and add your Mexican spices.

Higher Temperature

If you like a nice, caramelized tofu, then cook your tofu at a higher oven temperature. This will caramelize faster and harder making the flavors deeper and richer.

Meat Alternatives

If tofu isn’t your cup of tea, you can also use textured vegetable protein, “tvp”, or even ground cauliflower.  I will say that if you change the “meat” in this recipe that you will have to manipulates the spices a bit.

Vegan beef substitute getting ready to cook!

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is particularly important to use due to the flavor it imparts and also its packed with nutrients. This recipe contains a moderate amount of nutritional yeast to satisfy most people. If you are like me and love the flavor it gives off, then it is


More of a hands-on kind of cook? You can always cook this recipe in a hot cast iron skillet on the stove. The trick in using the method is start off with a hot pan, then once you add your vegan ground beef substitute, don’t stir to often.

Allow the mix to caramelize thoroughly on one side before stirring. You also want to make sure you don’t over crowd your skillet, because this will cause a steam effect rather than a searing action. 


Once this best vegan ground beef recipe is done, remove from the oven and cool it down. The best way to do so is transfer the mixture to a new tray and cool at room temperature. Once completely cool, then store this vegan ground beef substitute in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe FAQs

  1. Is this recipe spicy?

No, this recipe is spiced moderately so it is approachable by a wider range of people. That’s why its important use this recipe as a base recipe and build off of it.

2. Can you freeze this vegan ground beef substitute?

Absolutely, tofu freezes really well. You can portion it out in portion bags and pull as needed. Just make sure the

3. Can I make this recipe oil free?

Yes, you can, you can use what ever oil substitute you normally use. I will say that the oil helps with getting color in the oven and it also helps hold the seasoning.

4. How do you make this into a vegan burger?

To turn this vegan ground beef substitute into a vegan burger, you will need to add a binding agent like flax egg and some breadcrumbs or flour. If you want to check out some specialized recipes check out these vegan burger recipes.

Best Vegan Ground Beef Recipe

Vegan Ground beef substitute

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes


14           oz           Tofu, pressed

1 ½         Tbsp       Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1             Tbsp       Soy sauce

2             tsp          Garlic Powder

1             tsp         Onion Powder

1             tsp         Smoked Paprika

1 ½         Tbsp       Nutritional Yeast

2             Tbsp      Tomato Paste


  1. Press your tofu by wrapping it in cheese cloth and placing a heavy plate or sauté pan on top of it. Let it drain for at least 15 -20 minutes.
  2. While the tofu is pressing, preheat your oven to 425F.  The line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. After your tofu is done pressing, remove the cheese cloth and crumble the pressed tofu into small granules into a mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly. Then transfer the mixture to the small sheet tray and spread evenly on the tray. Make sure it isn’t stacked in some areas.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until it has the color you want. Be sure to keep an eye on the cooking process, you may have to flip the tray or stir the contents halfway through.  
  6. Once cooked to your liking, remove from the oven, and cool down at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Take a look at some other Vegan blogs out there with some awesome Vegan Ground Beef Recipes!

Plant You

Cook Eat Live Love

Karissa Vegan Kitchen

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