Mushroom Tempeh “Chorizo”

by | Sep 28, 2022 | General, Gluten-free, Plant-based, Vegan | 0 comments

(Recipe adapted from the “Oyster Mushroom Taco” recipe in the 2021 Flavor cookbook by Ottolengi, Belfrage & Wigley).

This recipe is tasty AF.

My husband’s words, not mine. He’s not wrong though.

This Mushroom Tempeh “Chorizo” recipe came into our lives in 2020 – the year we began our steamy love-affair with homemade corn tortillas.

[Side note: if you’ve never made corn tortillas at home, do it.

It’ll change your life.

Or, at the very least – it will take your taco obsession to the next level. That’s what happened to us.]

And amidst our renewed taco obsession, I discovered an “Oyster Mushroom Taco” recipe in Ottolenghi’s Flavor cookbook that I knew I had to recreate with tempeh for added protein.

Turns out, the texture of crumbled mushrooms and tempeh come pretty close to the look and feel of chorizo.  And after a few tiny tweaks, this recipe was born.

But does it taste like chorizo?

If you’re looking for a veganized Mexican chorizo, this isn’t it (TBH there are delicious vegan Mexican chorizo recipes out there already).

The flavor of this particular dish is so unique – spicy, smoky, salty and slightly sweet – that it’s almost a different dish altogether.

Infused with allspice, dried chipotle chilies, tamari and garlic – and sweetened with maple syrup – this “chorizo” is intoxicating, satisfying and so addicting, you’ll wish you’d made more.

So, lets get right to it.

Here are my tips before you dive in:

  • This recipe is somewhat involved: It consists of multiple steps and can feel intimidating and time-consuming the first 2-3 times you make it. So, save this dish for a weekend taco night.
  • Texture is key: Chopped mushrooms + crumbled/chopped temeph are a match made in texture heaven. For this dish, I took it a step further and shredded the mushroom stems with my fingers. This is optional. You can use a food processor for both, mushrooms and tempeh, to speed things along – but don’t go overboard! You want texture, not mush.
  • Use any mushrooms: I most often use cremini (baby Bella) mushrooms they’re easily available and affordable. Oyster mushrooms, which tend to be pricey, will give you the most texture in this recipe (especially if you shred them – they look like chicken!).
  • Don’t forget the spicy drizzle: At the very beginning, you’ll make a dry spice-blend with cumin, allspice and dried chipotle chilies (found online or your local Mexican grocery store). You’ll mix 2 teaspoons of that dry spice-blend with olive oil for a spicy drizzle at the end. Don’t forget the drizzle (I always do)!
  • Add a vegan “crema”: This “chorizo” is quite intense. While I love it as-is with plain mashed avocado, you may prefer something creamier to soften it. Consider adding a dollop of vegan “crema” using this recipe by Brown Sugar & Vanilla or these Cashew Crema instructions by Todo Verde. If not vegan, you can use sour cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt.

That’s all for now. I hope you try this recipe – and love it too.

Let me know how it goes! xo

Mushroom Tempeh "Chorizo"

An Ottolenghi-inspired mushroom tempeh "chorizo" packed with flavor: spicy, smoky, sweet, salty - it's got it all. Perfect in tacos, breakfast burritos, or salads!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chorizo, mushroom, plant-based, tacos, tempeh, vegan
Servings: 2

Equipment

  • Spice-grinder or mortar & pestle
  • Rectangular baking dish (9X13")

Ingredients

  • 1 lb mushrooms oyster or cremini
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp tamari (I used low-sodium) or soy sauce or shoyu
  • 4.5 tsp maple syrup
  • 7 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds approx. 3/4 tsp ground
  • 4 dried ancho or chipotle chilies stem removed, roughly broken
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice approx. 6 whole allspice berries

Serve with:

  • Corn or flour tortillas, avocado, radish, cilantro & squeeze of lime.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • First make a dry spice-blend by grinding the cumin seeds, dried chilies and allspice berries (if using whole) together using a spice-grinder (ideal) or mortar & pestle.
  • Make your spicy drizzle: In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of the dry spice-blend with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. You will use this as a final drizzle once the "chorizo" is cooked.
  • In a larger bowl, make the sauce by mixing the remaining dry spice blend with the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, maple syrup, tamari, minced garlic and sea salt.
  • Crumble the tempeh: First, remove the tempeh from its plastic wrapping. There are multiple ways to crumble tempeh (see notes). My preferred way is to chop it into small uneven pieces (crumbles) as follows:
    On a chopping board, cut the tempeh block into half widthwise. Then chop each half roughly into thin strips - then rotate it and chop into smaller pieces. You want the crumbles to have texture, so don't worry about making them evenly shaped or sized. You can break up anything that's too big with your fingers.
  • Spread the tempeh out into a large baking dish.
  • Prep your mushrooms: It isn't necessary to wash mushrooms, but you can if they're dirty. Otherwise, brush them off gently with a cloth or your hands. Do not throw away the stems! You can slice off the very bottom of the stem if it's dirty.
    Shredded or torn mushrooms give maximum texture to this dish. Use your fingers to tear the stems lengthwise. You can finely mince the mushroom caps, or tear them up too into small pieces.
  • Combine tempeh, mushrooms and spices: Add the shredded mushrooms to the tempeh in the baking dish, pour in the sauce (oil-maple-tamari-garlic-spices) and mix well using a spoon. Spread the mixture out evenly in the dish.
  • Bake! Place the baking dish into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Then, carefully take the dish out of the oven, give the mixture a stir, spread it out again and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Assemble tacos! Spoon the "chorizo" onto tortillas with mashed avocado, sliced radish, chopped cilantro, a drizzle of the reserved spice-blend oil, and a big squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Notes

How to crumble tempeh:
  1. Chop small: My preferred way is to chop the tempeh up into small pieces and break it up with my fingers (described above).
  2. Food processor: You can crumble your tempeh in a food processor or hand-chopper by pulsing a few times. Do not over-process it - you want to maintain the texture of the tempeh. If using a food processor for this recipe, you can crumble the tempeh & mushrooms together to save time!
  3. Use your fingers: Of course, you can just use your fingers to crumble the tempeh! 
If the "chorizo" flavors are too intense:
  • Add something creamy: vegan crema, sour-cream, a dollop of Greek yogurt or mashed avocado are my go-tos.
  • Combine with plain steamed/roasted potatoes: I especially love using my "chorizo" leftovers in breakfast burritos along with steamed potatoes and salsa. 
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