Here’s How To Use Walnuts As A Substitute To Meat

Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or a regular meat-eater who’s just looking for plant-based offerings to balance things out, we’ve got you covered. As you know by now, walnuts are amazingly versatile, lending themselves to all kinds of preparations. However, did you know that they’re also a great natural meat substitute?

As a natural plant-based protein, walnuts can easily be used to replace meat-based proteins, all while tasting absolutely delicious. Apart from packing a punch of protein, walnuts are also naturally gluten-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free, making them a far healthier alternative to actual meat. In keeping with this idea, plenty of restaurants the world over are incorporating walnut meat into their offerings, to cater to the vast majority of people who are actively seeking plant-based alternatives in their food.

If you still happen to be wondering how you can use walnuts to create ‘faux’ meat that even the most staunch non-vegetarians will find difficult to discover, we’re here to help. You can use California walnuts as a meat substitute in many different ways. Here are a few recipes to help you get started.

Walnut “Chorizo” Tacos with Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

California Walnut Chorizo Crumble

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander


  • 16 whole wheat tortillas
  • Olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
  • Thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges


  1. Stir together lime juice, sugar and sea salt in a small bowl. Stir in radish, jalapeno and garlic slices and let stand for 30 minutes to pickle.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare “chorizo” crumble, place walnuts and beans in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons oil and remaining crumble ingredients to food processor and pulse again until mixture is finely chopped and resembles ground meat, stirring several times and moving the mixture from the bottom of the food processor bowl to the top to evenly mix.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a very large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add “chorizo” mixture to skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until mixture is nicely browned and resembles ground meat, stirring frequently. (May be prepared several days ahead and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.)
  5. Brush each tortilla lightly with oil or coat with cooking spray. Cook briefly on a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat to brown on both sides, keeping warm in foil until all tortillas are cooked.
  6. Remove pickled vegetables from liquid and discard garlic slices. Fill each tortilla with equal amounts of “chorizo” and pickled vegetables. Garnish with lettuce and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Walnut & Mushroom Teriyaki Burgers


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 340g mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup California walnuts
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, plus additional for serving if desired
  • Buns, leafy lettuce, sliced red onion, sliced avocado and grilled pineapple slices (optional)


  1. Place oats in a food processor and process until oats resemble a coarse meal. Remove and set aside.
  2. Place mushrooms in food processor and finely chop; add to bowl with oats. Add walnuts and green onions to food processor and chop fairly finely. Add to bowl with soy sauce, seasonings and eggs. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Using wet hands shape into 6 patties.
  4. Heat oil in a very large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, brushing with teriyaki sauce during the last 2 minutes of cooking.*
  5. Serve on buns with any desired toppings.

Spicy California Walnut And Cauliflower Indian Wraps

Plant-Based Walnut Meat

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup California walnut pieces, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Thai chilli (or medium sized jalapeño), stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste

Yogurt Raita

  • 1 cup Greek style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup California walnuts, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime juice and zest to taste
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 240°C. Coat cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and toast walnuts for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add to pan with cauliflower.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic, ginger and chilli, cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in water, tomato paste, golden raisins, chilli powder, garam masala, cumin, and salt; cook until mixture is thick and excess water has cooked off. Stir in cauliflower mixture and garlic oil. Cook for 3 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  4. Remove from heat and serve in butter lettuce wraps or roti flatbread. Top with a dollop of the yogurt raita and microgreens.

Optional:  Cauliflower and walnuts mixture may be ground in a food processor so that it resembles the texture of ground meat.