Crumbled tofu is combined with Mexican inspired chorizo spices for the perfect vegan taco filling! This recipe requires less than 30 minutes of active time and is easy to freeze or double.
- Diet-friendly: vegetarian, vegan, nut-free, gluten-free
- Filled with flavor from Mexican-style chorizo spices
- Perfect as a taco or burrito filling or with rice & beans
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What is chorizo?
This is not an authentic chorizo recipe, but instead is inspired by Trader Joe's soyrizo. But chorizo goes far beyond the soyrizo found at the grocery store.
Traditional chorizo can be Mexican or Spanish style. It is usually made with pork or beef. The kind that I'm making is inspired by Mexican spices.
Chorizo is traditionally high in fat and sodium, but it's also super flavorful. Mexican chorizo usually uses chile peppers like ancho chiles and a bunch of warming spices like cinnamon, coriander and cloves. We'll be using ground ancho chili powder in this recipe.
To learn more about the differences between Spanish and Mexican chorizo and traditional spices and ways of serving, check out Isabel Eat's article on chorizo.
What you'll need
You'll notice that there are a lot of different spices and that's because I tried to limit shortcuts and stick with traditional seasonings.
Tofu: I've made this recipe with firm, extra firm and super firm tofu and they all work well. I prefer extra or super firm because it is not as a soft as medium firm tofu.
Key seasonings: Ancho chili powder, cumin, ground paprika, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, salt and sugar. Ground ancho chili powder can usually be found in the spice section or International section at large grocery stores or at your local Mexican grocery store.
Apple cider vinegar. Acidic and slightly sweet, apple cider vinegar gives these tofu crumbles a little bit of tang.
Olive oil. Chorizo is traditionally high-fat, so to veganize this recipe we'll use olive oil.
Step by step instructions
Ground chorizo is usually pan-fried and browned in a skillet, so that's the method we'll use with tofu.
Press the tofu for 15 minutes. To do this, place the tofu between two plates. Weigh the top plate down with a can or with a bag of dried beans; you just need enough weight so that you can see liquid being squeezed out of the tofu. Alternately, use a tofu press (this is the one that I use).
Crumble the tofu: After pressing, use a fork, potato masher or your fingers to crumble the tofu into a ground consistency.
Make the marinade by combining the spices, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, olive oil and vegetable broth together.
Combine the marinade and tofu and let marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the more flavorful it will be.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu with the marinade. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to brown evenly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes more, until the tofu is firm but juicy.
This tofu can be used anywhere that you would usually use taco meat. These are a few of my favorite ways to serve it:
- Vegetarian burrito bowls and burritos
- Combined with lentil taco filling
- In black bean enchiladas
- Mixed with roasted veggies
- On nachos or sweet potato nachos
Recipe tips and FAQ
- Salt and sugar content: This recipe includes a fair amount of salt and sugar to get closer to the flavor that Trader Joe's has, but you can definitely decrease the amounts for a more heart healthy recipe.
- DIY spice blend: Combine all dry ingredients, including salt and sugar, to make a chorizo-style spice blend. Use 1-2 teaspoons on roasted veggies, tofu scrambles, etc. for instant flavor.
- Check out my guide to tofu for more tips & tricks about how to prepare tofu.
Yes, you can. Ancho chili powder is smokier and has a stronger flavor than standard chili powder but the overall flavor won't change too much if you use any spice labeled "chili powder".
Mashing a block of tofu with a potato masher is the easiest way to get well-crumbled tofu. You can also just use clean hands to crumble it up.
Yes, you can bake the tofu instead of sautéing it. Spread the tofu into a thin layer on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until the tofu is deepened in color.
No, but it really does help with flavor because it removes extra water and allows the marinade to seep into the tofu instead.
Yes, tofu freezes really well. I recommend freezing it after sautéing it. Freeze it in a closed container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight before reheating on the stove.
Refrigerate in a closed container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium-high heat, cooking until warmed through. Spray with nonstick oil as needed to prevent sticking.
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Vegan Chorizo-Style Tofu Crumbles
- 1 block (14-16 ounces) extra firm tofu see note #1
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 and ½ tablespoons ancho chili powder regular chili powder works too
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 and ½ teaspoons ground paprika
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- Press the tofu for 15 minutes. If you don't have a tofu press, place the tofu between two plates. Place something heavy on the top plate (like a can of beans or bag of dried beans). I avoid using breakable items to weigh the tofu down because they may fall off during pressing.
- Make the marinade in a medium mixing bowl or shallow baking dish by whisking together the apple cider vinegar, broth, olive oil, tomato paste, chili powder, dried oregano, ground paprika, salt, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
- Crumble the pressed tofu using a fork, potato masher or clean hands. Mix together with the marinade. Coat thoroughly. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet medium-high heat. Add the tofu and marinade. Let heat for 5 minutes, stirring as needed to evenly brown.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Stir the tofu occasionally to cook evenly. The tofu is ready when it is firm but still juicy, about 5 minutes.
- Serve in tacos, burrito bowls, or as a salad topping. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Tofu: I've made this recipe with firm, extra firm and super firm tofu and they all work well. I prefer extra or super firm because it is not as a soft as medium firm tofu.
- Storage and reheating: Refrigerate in a closed container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium-high heat, cooking until warmed through. Spray with nonstick oil as needed to prevent sticking.
- Baking instructions: Spread the tofu into a thin layer on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until the tofu is deepened in color.
- Freezing instructions: I recommend freezing it after sautéing it. Freeze it in a closed container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight before reheating on the stove.
Author's note: This recipe was originally shared on January 19th, 2019. It was updated on March 29th, 2021 with new photos and a video. The recipe was altered slightly to improve flavor: soy sauce was omitted, salt and sugar increased and apple cider vinegar decreased.