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Vegan Carne Asada Tacos on a board

Vegan Carne Asada

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Tender yet chewy and full of flavor, this Vegan Carne Asada is the perfect filling for tacos or burritos or delicious with rice and veggies.


Units Scale

For vegan carne asada

  • 3 cups vegan beef broth or vegetable broth + soy sauce or GF tamari (see note 1)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small jalapenos, minced, optional (remove seeds to make less spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounce bag (around 4 cups) soy curls (see note 2)

For serving

  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Finely diced white or red onion
  • Pico de gallo (in place of onion) or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • Small warmed tortillas (if making tacos)
  • Diced avocado, optional


  1. Make the marinade: Combine the vegan beef broth (note, it should be relatively hot (not boiling), so warm it in the microwave or a small pan if not), vinegar, citrus juice, minced garlic, minced jalapeno, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the spices have dissolved.
  2. Rehydrate soy curls:  Add the soy curls to a medium bowl, discarding any of the powder at the bottom of the bag. I usually save the small crumbles for other recipes. Cover the soy curls with the marinade and mix gently. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. If you’d prefer, after rehydrating, you can add the entire mixture to a bowl with a lid and refrigerate up to 8 hours, then proceed with the next step.
  3. Release excess marinade from soy curls: Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Working with one handful at a time, gently squeeze the excess broth out of the soy curls and throw them in the skillet. You don’t have to go crazy getting dry--just gently squeeze them once over the bowl and add to the pan. DON’T DISCARD THE REMAINING MARINADE!
  4. Dry fry soy curls: Cook the soy curls for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to get a little browned. Stir them often with a wood or silicone spoon/spatula. If you notice them start to get really dark or burned, turn the heat way down. After they start to really brown, you can optionally drizzle them with a little olive oil. This helps the texture firm a bit more (gives a more authentic mouthfeel to meat because of the bit of fat it imparts) but it’s not necessary.
  5. Simmer in remaining marinade: Now slowly add back in the marinade, about ¼ cup at a time, stirring it in each time you add some of the liquid. Cook for about 8-12 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. The liquid will be boiling or simmering and that’s good. It will absorb into the soy curls (and some will evaporate) but the soy curls will also get chewier. If you let them sit too long they can burn, so pay attention to them.
  6. Serve: When they’re nicely browned, chewy and firm and the liquid is absorbed, they’re done. Remove from heat and serve! We like these with a fresh squeeze of lime juice and a little freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt. Serve in tacos, burritos, in a bowl of rice and veggies, salad, or whatever else you like. Enjoy!
  7. Store: Refrigerate leftover vegan carne asada separately (from other ingredients in your dish) for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan if they get too soft (the condensation can make them wetter, which can make them soft again).


  • Note 1: I like to use vegan beef broth for this recipe so I can have that particular flavor. I use Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base mixed with water, though there are other options available. The soy curls won’t absorb all of it so I usually strain it into a jar and use it in a soup or stir fry sauce later in the week (can also be frozen). You could alternatively use vegetable broth with a splash of soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari if you can’t have gluten).
  • Note 2: Butler soy curls are the base of this delicious Mexican-inspired recipe--I even toyed with calling it soy curl carne asada, but wanted folks to be able to sub other options if they wanted. If using soy curls, try to avoid the small crumbles for this dish. The small crumbles I save and use whenever I make soup, chili, or like a TVP pasta sauce. If you prefer not to use soy curls you could use baked or air fried tofu (or even puffed tofu), my vegan steak which is seitan based, or a store-bought vegan beef product like Gardein.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Street Food

Keywords: Vegan Mexican, Vegan Carne Asada