Ground Beef and Mushroom Taco Meat

Many of our recipes have few, if any, animal products. None of the To Taste dietitians are vegan or even vegetarian, we are just big proponents of plant-forward diets. We aim to make plants the center of our meals, and we encourage you to do the same! Learning how to stretch ground beef for tacos, salads, burritos, bowls, or tostadas is great for both your health and your wallet. This ground beef and mushroom taco meat is a great way to include more plants in your diet without cutting out the meat! 

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Dice an Onion
Measure Weight vs. Volume
Mince Garlic

Culinary Tips for the Best Ground Beef and Mushroom Taco Meat

Rinse mushrooms briefly under running water; do not soak. Mushrooms are like sponges, and will hold on to the water! Be sure to pat them dry with a towel to ensure proper caramelization. 

When dicing the mushrooms and onions, think about the final product. To hide the mushrooms in the meat (great for picky eaters), we recommend creating finely diced pieces. If you don’t have enough patience to finely dice the mushrooms, blitz sliced mushrooms in a food processor to easily create small pieces!

If your ground beef comes in a one pound package, save half in an airtight container for another use. Ground beef can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Fire, fat, food! Heat your pan, heat your oil, then add your food! Follow these steps to ensure maximum flavor development. 

When you first add the mushrooms and onions, don’t stir! Let the veggies sit for a few minutes to enhance the caramelization process.

If doubling the recipe, use two separate pans. Placing all of the mushrooms and onions in one pan will prevent caramelization.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute regular olive, canola or avocado oil.
  • Mushrooms: use any variety of mushroom: button, bella, crimini, or Portobello. 
  • Onion: use white, yellow, or red.
  • Grass-Fed Ground Beef: substitute grass-fed ground lamb or bison. You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken, but note that you may need to add a little more oil, as turkey and chicken are lower in fat than beef. The color will also not hide the mushrooms.
  • Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic flakes, ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Spices: substitute 1 ½ Tablespoons taco seasoning.
  • Salsa: use your favorite flavor of salsa!

Recipe Variations

If you are not a fan of mushrooms, you can also substitute 1 cup cooked lentils, but note that the taste and texture will be significantly different. Mushrooms add moisture and umami to the recipe! Don’t worry about caramelizing the lentils, just add to the cooked beef and warm through.

Use the ground beef and mushroom mixture to make healthy beef tacos, burritos, bowls, salads, quesadillas, or tostadas! 

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!

Health Benefits of this Mighty Taco Meat Recipe

This mushroom taco meat recipe is a healthier alternative to 100% ground beef recipes! We recognize that not everyone is interested in adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or even flexitarian diet, but finding ways to incorporate more plants into the diet is key to health and longevity! The featured ingredients that make this recipe healthier are mushrooms, grass-fed ground beef, and salsa.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a unique vegetable that contain a host of health benefits. They are a good source of prebiotic fibers, dietary Vitamin D, and phytochemicals with beneficial health effects. (1, 23) Mushrooms contain the amino acid, glutamate, giving them a distinct umami taste. Umami is the savory taste sensation often found in meat. Substituting mushrooms in a taco meat mixture adds complexity and depth to the dish while maximizing nutrition.

Grass-Fed Ground Beef

Red meat is not inherently bad. Most people just eat way too much and the wrong kind. Even people in the world’s longest lived populations eat meat on occasion! The key is eating high quality meat, in small portions, and not too often. 

Grass-fed ground beef is higher in healthy and monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. (4, 5)  Beef is a rich source of protein, B vitamins, and iron.

We recognize that grass-fed beef is usually more expensive than grain-fed beef, but because you are using half the amount of meat in this recipe, it is definitely worth the cost! By cutting back on the amount of meat you eat, you can afford to eat the high quality stuff when you want.

Salsa

The main ingredient in salsa is tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. (6, 7) Canned and/or cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts. (8)

Check out our ingredient guide to learn which ingredients are best!

Serving Suggestions for Mushroom Tacos with Ground Beef

Use this recipe to make beef mushroom tacos, burritos, bowls, salads, quesadillas, or tostadas.

To make healthy ground beef tacos, serve over corn or whole wheat tortillas and top with desired garnishes.

To make a healthy beef taco salad, serve the mixture over a bed of greens with diced avocado, a sprinkling of cheese, and this black bean corn salad. 

Beef mushroom taco meat is also great on baked tostadas for an easy lunch the next day.

To make a complete meal, serve with a side salad or roasted veggies and some fresh fruit.

Use your creativity to develop your own recipes with ground beef and mushrooms!

Storage Tips

Allow leftover taco meat to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to one week.

You can also freeze leftover taco meat. Allow to cool, cover, then freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover taco meat can also be frozen flat in airtight freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave, and then reheat to 165ºF and serve immediately. If frozen in bags, transfer to a microwave safe dish before thawing or heating in the microwave. 

Want more healthy dinner recipes?

Now that you know how to make healthy tacos, try out these other nutritious favorites!

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

Moroccan Salmon with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

Ground Beef and Mushroom Taco Meat
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

We aim to make plants the center of our meals, and we encourage you to do the same! This ground beef and mushroom taco meat is a great way to include more plants in your diet without cutting out the meat!

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, diced
  • ½ medium onion, diced (~½ cup)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 ounces grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup salsa
Instructions
  1. Heat a 12” stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil.

  2. Once oil is shimmering, add mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally until mushrooms caramelize and turn golden brown.

  3. Add ground beef, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, and break into small pieces. Once the beef begins to release some juices, add garlic and spices, and continue to cook until beef browns, ~5 minutes. Add salsa and stir to combine.

  4. Serve meat/mushroom mixture as desired with optional garnishes. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Optional Toppings: 

Avocado or guacamole

Chopped cilantro

Greek yogurt or sour cream

Shredded or crumbled cheese

Salsa

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