These portobello mushroom tacos are simmered in a sweet BBQ sauce and combined with a spicy mustard slaw for a flavorful meatless meal that's ready in just 20 minutes!
These vegan tacos are similar to my BBQ jackfruit tacos, but instead of jackfruit, we are using "pulled" portobello mushrooms!
Portobello mushrooms are the perfect vegan taco filling. They have a chewy yet tender texture that makes them a great meatless alternative to BBQ pulled pork.
- Quick & easy: Ready in less than 30 minutes using 10 main ingredients.
- Packed with flavor: Earthy portobello mushrooms are cooked in sweet BBQ sauce and paired with zesty mustard slaw. Storebought BBQ sauce is an easy way to add flavor to mushrooms without the hassle of making a homemade sauce.
- Mushroom texture: Sliced portobello mushrooms are sauteed, then simmered in BBQ sauce. This results in soft, chewy, and tender mushrooms with flavor in every bite.
- Easy to customize: Add baked tofu, guacamole, pickled onions, etc. to make these tacos your own.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Portobello mushrooms: I use four medium Portobello mushroom caps to make enough BBQ portobello filling for six tacos.
- BBQ sauce: I like to use my sweet vegan BBQ sauce for sweet and spicy mushrooms, but any store-bought BBQ sauce works well.
- Coleslaw: The spicy mustard slaw is made using shredded purple cabbage, whole grain mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and hot sauce. The hot sauce makes the tacos spicy and is optional.
- Corn tortillas: I prefer corn tortillas for tacos, but flour work just as well. I recommend cooking tortillas in a hot pan to blacken the edges before serving.
- Garnishes: Cilantro, lime, and pumpkin seeds add a lot of flavor to these tacos. Don't skip these garnishes!
Steps to make mushroom tacos
How to prep portobello mushrooms
- Lightly rinse each portobello cap to remove any dirt or debris. Dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel.
- Use a spoon to gently remove gills from each mushroom cap.
- Place the mushroom gill-side down on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice each portobello cap into long ¼ inch strips.
Saute the mushrooms
Heat a large cast-iron pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough neutral oil to coat the bottom of the pan. I usually use olive oil.
Add the sliced portobello mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring as needed to cook mushrooms evenly on each side.
The mushrooms are ready for the BBQ sauce when they are golden and have a wet appearance. They aren't ready if they still appear dry.
Simmer in BBQ sauce
Add the barbecue sauce to the pan. If it's a very thick BBQ sauce, I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable broth to the pan as well. This helps disperse the BBQ sauce evenly over every mushroom slice.
Bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes. Over time the sauce thickens and the mushrooms absorb the BBQ flavor.
The longer the mushrooms cook, the more the BBQ sauce evaporates and concentrates the flavor.
Make the slaw
The zesty flavor of mustard balances out the sweetness of barbecue sauce. To make the mustard slaw, all you have to do is whisk together the slaw dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage. Transfer to the fridge to chill while the mushrooms cook.
For a creamier coleslaw, try adding 2-3 tablespoons of vegan mayo. My tahini coleslaw also pairs well with mushroom tacos.
Time-saving tip: Buy coleslaw mix at the store to save on prep time. This usually includes carrots and is made with white cabbage.
Yes, you can use baby Bella mushrooms (AKA crimini mushrooms) or white mushrooms. I recommend including the mushroom stalk for extra texture. Slice each mushroom cap into just 2-3 pieces and cook per recipe instructions.
Although cooked mushrooms can successfully be frozen, I don't recommend freezing them for this recipe. The mushroom texture changes slightly and is softer after thawing.
It is technically not necessary to remove mushroom gills before cooking because they are safe to eat. However, they hold onto dirt and grit that can be hard to remove with just a rinse. They also have a dark color that bleeds over to whatever it is cooked with.
Some BBQ sauces contain gluten, but as long as you choose a gluten-free BBQ sauce these tacos are gluten-free.
Serving ideas and variations
- Assemble the portobello mushroom tacos by adding a few slices of BBQ portobello to each corn tortilla, along with about ½ cup of coleslaw, and the garnishes.
- Garnishes: Add a squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle of lime zest, chopped cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds to each taco before serving.
- Protein: Add BBQ tofu, baked tofu, or uncooked tofu to the pan with the mushrooms for extra protein. Air fryer chickpeas are another easy way to add protein to mushroom tacos.
- Toppings: I highly recommend pickled onions on these tacos. A dollop of (vegan or regular) sour cream and Cotija cheese are also good ways to jazz up mushroom tacos.
- BBQ sauce: I prefer tomato-based BBQ sauce with mushroom tacos, but any kind of barbecue sauce works. Try vinegar-based sauce or mustard-based sauce for a tangier result.
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Portobello Mushroom Tacos with BBQ Sauce
BBQ Pulled Portobello Tacos
- 4 large portobello mushroom caps see note #1
- 1-2 teaspoons neutral oil
- ½ cup sweet BBQ sauce see note #2
- 1-3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water only as needed
- 6 six inch corn tortillas
- ¼ cup roasted pumkin seeds
- garnishes: lime wedges, lime zest, chopped cilantro
Spicy Mustard Coleslaw
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage or coleslaw mix
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice from ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Prep the mushrooms: Remove the stem from each mushroom. Use a spoon to scrape gills out of the mushrooms. Slice caps into finger-width slices.
- Cook the mushrooms: Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sliced mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and golden.
- Simmer the mushrooms: Add barbecue sauce to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add 1-3 tablespoons vegetable broth as needed to thin the sauce enough to cover the mushrooms. Simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes. Stir as needed to avoid burning the sauce. The mushrooms are ready when softened and chewy.
- Make the coleslaw: Meanwhile, make the coleslaw by whisking together the mustard, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage. Using tongs, toss the cabbage until it is well combined with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Prepare corn tortillas by heating them in an unoiled pan over medium high heat. Flip after they are lightly browned and starting to puff, about one minute.
- Serving: Divide the BBQ portobellos evenly between 6 corn tortillas. Add ~½ cup slaw to each tortilla. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro, lime zest, and a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!
- Portobello mushrooms: This recipe also works with crimini or white mushrooms. If using these smaller mushrooms, slice them in 2-3 pieces instead of strips.
- BBQ sauce: I use ketchup-based homemade vegan BBQ sauce. Vinegar-based and mustard-based sauces also work but will result in much tangier tacos.
- Protein: For more protein, serve with canned chickpeas, crispy chickpeas, or baked tofu.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate leftover mushroom filling and coleslaw in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium-low.
Author's note: This recipe was originally shared April 2018. It was updated in March 2022 with new photos and a video. The recipe remains the same.