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Vegan Carnitas (Soy Protein)

Recipe by Vegan Recipes and Vibes (@veganrecipesandvibes)

Vegan Carnitas (Soy Protein)
Vegan Carnitas (Soy Protein)

Yield: 6 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes |

Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes


Craving salty, meaty, savory carnitas but don't want to harm any animals in the process? I'm here to help! This vegan carnitas recipe is perfect for whipping up some tacos in a hurry. The recipe takes about 25 minutes to throw together, and almost half of that is just waiting for the textured soy protein to re-hydrate (leaving you time to prep any taco, burrito, or rice bowl fillings).

You can use any type of vegan meat substitute for this recipe, including hearts of palm, jackfruit, or king oyster mushrooms, but I've learned that textured soy protein works the best. It turns out crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and is not chewy at all. Give these vegan carnitas a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


  • 1 cup of dried textured soy protein

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 cup of vegan chicken stock

  • 2 tsp light brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil


  • In a large bowl, combine the vegan chicken stock, liquid smoke, soy sauce, sugar, and seasonings.

  • Add the dried soy protein to the bowl and mix so it gets coated in the stock mixture.

  • Let the soy protein rest for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all the pieces get re-hydrated.

  • Meanwhile, finely chop your onion and set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat.

  • Pour the re-hydrated soy protein and any leftover liquid into the frying pan with the oil (careful, if the oil is too hot it may splatter a bit).

  • Immediately add the the onion to the frying pan.

  • Fry the soy protein in the oil, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until they are dark brown and crispy looking.

  • Remove from the pan and serve immediately on tacos, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, and more!


Tips and Tricks:

  • You can purchase a big bag of textured soy protein granules from most health foods stores, like Whole Foods, Sprout's, Trader Joe's, and MOM's. If you can't find it in stores, you can even purchase it online (just google "buy textured soy protein" and a ton of options will pop up).

  • Store the cooked carnitas in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

  • Reheat in a frying pan with a splash of oil to crisp them up again (they tend to get chewy when reheated in the microwave).

Nutrition & Servings: (calculated by MyFitnessPal)

  • Servings: yields 2 cups / 6 servings (1/3 cup per serving)

  • Calories: 143

  • Total Fat: 12g

  • Carbs: 6g

  • Protein: 5g

^ Nutrition facts include the ingredients listed above. Nutrition facts may change slightly if different quantities of ingredients are used or added.

Tag me on Instagram @veganrecipesandvibes


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