Mexican Style Carne Asada Fake Steak Tacos

Original recipe adapted from Tyler Florence Food Network

I attended a very large high school with close to 1,200 kids in my graduating class alone. Lunch time was nothing short of a carnival. Food trucks would line the sidewalks serving varying degrees of what I would call food. Lines were often long and patience was often short.

This was way before the recent trend of what we consider the food truck experience. This was not haute cuisine. The food served by the trucks was a step above eating at the cafeteria, but not by much. On the bright side, many of us were exposed to food that perhaps expanded our pallets beyond our normal fare of burgers, pizza and chicken tenders, although there was plenty of that too. The trucks that served less familiar food were usually the ones with the shortest lines, so for those with adventurous tastes, you could get pretty decent food without a long wait.

_MG_9664I remember peering at the taquería truck’s menu, which offered traditional Mexican tacos, a few times before trying it out for myself. They offered a choice of carne asada steak, pulled chicken, and pork carnitas tacos, but they served them in a soft shell, which was baffling to me at the time. Aren’t tacos supposed to be served in a hard yellow corn tortilla, and aren’t they supposed to be filled with shredded beef, cheese and lettuce? I remember thinking I would’t like them because of all the chopped cilantro, but they were really quite delicious and fresh tasting and very different from what I considered a taco at the time.

My foray into the world of Mexican style tacos was brief since I transitioned to vegetarianism shortly after starting high school, and although I only ate their meat filled tacos a couple of times, I had fond memories of the flavors and experience. Several years later, I was pleasantly surprised to find a mushroom and avocado mexican-style taco on the menu at one of my favorite restaurants. I thought this was genius since mushrooms are the closest thing to steak flavor-wise in the vegetarian world. This inspired me to recreate the original carne asada steak recipe that I remember trying for the first (and last) time in high school.

If you are averse to meat substitutes, which I know many people are, you can easily swap the Gardein beef tips for thickly sliced portobello and shitake mushrooms and this recipe still works fabulously. The marinade makes this recipe. You really should allow the tips/mushrooms to marinate as long as you can. Your patience will be rewarded by the rich, smoky and slightly tangy flavor that pairs deliciously with the sweetness of the avocado and corn tortilla. If you so happen to run out of tortillas, this is also delicious over white rice. This recipe is so good, you may even consider opening your own taco truck. Buen provecho!

Makes 3-4 servings (3 tacos per serving)


_MG_962227 oz (3 packages) of Gardein beefless tips
32 oz (2 lb) Portobello and Shitake mushrooms roughly chopped




1/8 C (2 TB) White vinegar
Fresh juice of 2 limes
Fresh juice of 1 large orange
1 C Fresh chopped cilantro
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic cloves
1/4 medium sweet onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground chipotle
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

12 soft corn tortillas
Chopped cilantro
Sweet onion cut julienne style (into long thin strips)
Fresh lime wedges
Slices of fresh avocado
Vegan Monterey Jack cheese

Place all of the marinade ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. Place the Gardein beefless tips or mushrooms (whichever you are using; referred to going forward as fake steak) in a large glass container or gallon bag. Then add the marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.

Heat large skillet to medium high heat, then add all the marinade ingredients and fake steak to the pan. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Marinade should reduce by about 1/3 – 1/2 during the cooking process. In the meantime prepare the taco toppings by chopping the onions, cilantro and avocado.

Once the fake steak is cooked thoroughly, remove from heat and prepare your tacos. Heat a large pan to medium and cook tortillas on each side for about 2 minutes or until they are golden and warm. Assemble your tacos accordingly: tortilla, sliced onion, avocado, fake steak, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve and devour alongside the cold beverage of your choice!


Nutrition Facts per serving (12 servings) gardein beef tips including tortilla, onion, and avocado
Calories: 253
Fat: 13 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Potassium: 216 mg
Carbs: 19 g
Fiber: 3.5 g
Sugars: 2 g
Protein: 16 g
Vitamin A: 17%
Vitamin C: 13%
Calcium: 14%
Iron: 15%

[metacook type=”name” display=”none”]Mexican Style Carne Asada Fake Steak Tacos[/metacook][metacook type=”description” display=”none”]Vegan carne asada steak tacos. Tangy citrus marinade produces a fresh tasting delicious filling for Mexican style soft tacos.[/metacook][metacook type=”prepTime” display=”none”]1 hour and 15 min[/metacook][metacook type=”cookTime” display=”none”]20 min[/metacook][metacook type=”totalTime” display=”none”]1.5 hours[/metacook][metacook type=”yield” display=”none”]Filling for 10-12 tacos, 3-4 servings[/metacook][metacook type=”calories” display=”none”]253[/metacook]

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