These meatless crumbles make the perfect vegan ground beef alternative in any dish! Throw these nut-free veggie crumbles together in less than 10 minutes and enjoy a delicious smoky and rich flavor.
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for details.
Hey Internet, I know, I know, you can just buy meatless crumbles at the supermarket these days.
But you know what? They’re also filled with junk or oil or stuff that might not make you feel your best. And they’re pretty pricey.
So whether you’re trying to eat more whole foods, trying to cut out oil, or just trying to save a little money, this recipe for meatless crumbles is for you.
It takes just 10 minutes and a few ingredients to make these versatile crumbles. I’ve experimented with just the right seasoning to get a great generic ground beef alternative.
If you want to use them for something specific, like I dunno, maybe nachos, you might want to season these more specifically. BUT these are delicious as the recipe is written, so I highly recommend it.
Actually I’ve been meaning to come out with this recipe for ages. I’ve been perfecting it for a while, true, but I’d say it’s been worthy of the blog for at least a few months.
What finally gave me the kick in the pants to publish it? Why this Vegan Hamburger Helper I’m also publishing today, that’s what!
So whether you’re making this for nachos, pasta, a mock-meat tomato sauce, or just to eat on the side of something else, this recipe for veggie crumbles / meatless crumble / ground beef alternative -- whatever you want to call it! -- is super easy and a definite go-to.
Ready for me to stop yapping about it and get into the ingredients? Let’s go!
What You’ll Need
The base of this recipe is TVP, which stands for textured vegetable protein, also known as soy. Don’t be afraid of soy, it’s very good for you.
TVP at many grocery stores, and especially in health food stores and online. It’s shelf-stable and easy to rehydrate and flavor exactly how you like.
I rehydrate my TVP with vegetable broth, but if you were trying to make it taste like chicken, a quick hack is to use vegan chicken broth, my favorite being Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. You could also try using a vegan beef bouillon but my recipe really does seem to make it taste just like vegan beef.
Speaking of which, I highly recommend adding some mushrooms. They provide that perfect smoky and umami flavor we need.
If you’re not a big fan of mushrooms, still try this recipe. We’re cutting them pretty small (you could even food process them to make them smaller) and we’ll be flavoring it in other ways) so they shouldn’t bother you.
The best mushrooms for this recipe are crimini / baby Bella because of their smoky yet neutral flavor. The next best option is white button mushrooms, which will also work well.
Next, I recommend using a little reduced sodium soy sauce (it doesn’t have to be reduced sodium; use what you like). If you can’t have gluten, make sure you buy gluten-free tamari.
I like to get all my spices from The Spice House online. The quality is better, I can order flatpacks to save majorly on shipping (and use my own spice jars), and I never have to pay too much at the store for random spice jars that may or may not fit nicely in my cabinets.
Tips for Making Meatless Crumbles
- First, chop your mushrooms pretty finely. If you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, you could pulse them a few times in the food processor, otherwise just chop them about a quarter to a half inch dice. I prefer a quarter inch for the texture, but it’s up to you.
- Next, start them sauteing since they take the longest to cook down. I preheat a large nonstick pan over my burner for a few minutes and then dump in the mushrooms and spread them out. They’ll release their own liquid, so no need to add water or oil.
- While the mushrooms are cooking down, you can work on rehydrating your TVP. Add the TVP to a bowl and cover it just barely with vegetable broth. I like to press the mixture down while adding the broth, that way it soaks up all the broth and I don’t have to drain it (lazy method).
- Once the mushrooms have released their liquid and the TVP has absorbed the broth, it’s time to combine them. Make sure to drain any remaining broth from the TVP first. Then add it into the pot and stir well.
- Next you can add the soy sauce and spices. Now would be the time to add any other spices depending on what you’re making with it. For example, for nachos I’d add cumin, paprika, coriander, and chipotle powder.
- Give your veggie crumbles a thorough stir and cook it for another 5 minutes on high. Don’t add any more liquid.
- You’re done! You can now use this in any other recipe, or serve it alongside some veggies and/or a starch.
Does It Store Well?
Like most cooked dishes, these meatless crumbles will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, when packed in an airtight container.
They also freeze well, so you can store it in the freezer (in an airtight freezer-safe container) for up to 3 months.
More Vegan Meat Alternatives
I don’t really miss meat at all, and neither does my husband. But sometimes you want something that resembles something you used to eat. It may or may not taste exactly the same, but it can definitely satisfy that craving.
I hope you’ll check out one or two of these recipes, they’re actually some of the most popular on my blog!
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteak (my most popular recipe!)
- Vegan Drumsticks
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf
- Vegan Gyros
- Vegan Brisket
- Instant Pot Seitan
- Vegan Chicken Nuggets
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants, who is vegan but occasionally misses the flavor of meat (but not the cruelty–he insisted I add that line).
These meatless crumbles are:
- “Meaty” (hold the cruelty)
- Chewy yet tender
- Packed with umami flavor
- and great for any dish, especially one that someone would normally use ground beef for.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!