This Vegan Carnitas Tacos recipe makes delicious tacos quick, easy, and perfect for Meatless Monday! The secret ingredient? Hearts of Palm!
Guys, it’s been 8 months since I started this whole vegetarian-lifestyle experiment and I’m still completely loving it. My body is happier for it, and it’s forced me to get even more creative in the kitchen. Win-win!
Most of the time I don’t like to eat a lot of “meat substitutes” because I think they rarely resemble the real deal, and also because there are just too many amazing meatless recipes out there to waste a bunch of time with imitations.
The exception may be these vegan carnitas tacos. The secret ingredient is one that you may or may not be familiar with: hearts of palm!
Hearts of palm are made from… what for it… the inner core (or “heart”) of certain types of palm trees. They are sold in either jars or cans and have a wonderful pulled-pork style texture, making them perfect to use for carnitas.
They pull apart almost like string cheese, with the outer edges having a tougher texture than the soft interior. This variation in texture really works well as a pulled pork replacement.
After pulling apart the hearts of palm, take a few minutes to cook them in a simple carnitas marinade.
Today’s post sponsor, my friends over at Old El Paso, just released their new whole wheat taco boats which are basically a match made in heaven for these vegan carnitas tacos.
I topped my tacos with some pickled jalapeno and crunchy sliced cabbage, and served them with lime wedges for squeezing. I also ate a few tacos topped with avocado which was, as you would expect, absolutely delicious.
Even if you’re not on a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet, these tacos are still a great option for a low-calorie and heart healthy meal (especially in comparison to pork!).
Be sure to check out the archives for even more delicious Mexican recipes!
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 4 large cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans whole hearts of palm, torn into small strips
- 1 (8-count) package Old El Paso™ Whole Wheat Taco Boats, warmed
- Optional Toppings: shredded red cabbage, pickled jalapenos, avocado slices, chopped cilantro
- In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, pressed garlic, brown sugar, oregano, paprika, salt, liquid smoke, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
- Place the sliced onions in a large pan and set it on the stove over medium-high heat. Allow the onions to sweat as the pan heats up for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and semi-translucent.
- Add the vegetable oil, the whisked marinade, the shredded hearts of palm, and the bay leaves to the pan. Stir well and turn the heat down to medium. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the marinade has absorbed and the hearts of palm is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
- Divide the hearts of palm mixture into the 8 taco boats. Garnish with desired toppings and serve hot.
Use your hands to shred the hearts of palm as if you were pulling apart string cheese. The inside will be softer than the outside, which provides a nice variety of textures.
If you don’t have any liquid smoke, use smoked paprika in place of regular paprika.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213|Total Fat: 11g|Saturated Fat: 2g|Trans Fat: 0g|Unsaturated Fat: 8g|Cholesterol: 3mg|Sodium: 318mg|Carbohydrates: 26g|Fiber: 6g|Sugar: 3g|Protein: 6g|
Nutrition information has been auto-calculated for your convenience.
Today’s recipe is sponsored by the wonderful people over at Old El Paso. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Wanderlust Kitchen!
August 23, 2016 | Last Updated on December 13, 2020 by Linda