Making your own Tofu Ground Beef is easy, tasty, and super versatile. These vegan beef crumbles are lightly seasoned but can be easily customized for pasta dishes, tacos, enchiladas, soups, and more!
This is truly the best tofu ground beef recipe and comes together in under 45 minutes and happens to be great for meal prep and weeknight dinners. You'll never need to buy vegan ground beef from the store again!
Once you learn how easy it is to make your own homemade tofu ground beef, you will never need to buy pre-made beefless ground beef crumbles again!
Make this simple tofu ground beef to create a variety of delicious meat-free dinners! Toss in some Italian seasonings to add to your favorite pasta sauce or maybe some cayenne and chili powder to add to your favorite taco recipe or on top of a burrito bowl. The options in which you can flavor these vegan tofu crumbles is endless!
- Extra Firm Tofu
- Olive Oil
- Tomato Paste
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Nutritional Yeast
This tofu ground beef recipe is made up of minimal ingredients that are completely customizable to what you have on hand or the recipe you're making!
- Extra Firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu works best for this recipe. It only needs to be pressed for about 10 minutes and then it's ready to go! Extra firm tofu will crumble nicely and creates the perfect texture.
- Olive Oil: Adding a bit of olive oil will help our tofu get nice and brown and crisp in the oven! You can substitute the olive oil with avocado oil, melted coconut oil, vegetable or canola oil as well.
- Tomato Paste: Helps with the color and adds a nice savory flavor.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds flavor. If you're gluten-free, use tamari.
- Nutritional Yeast: Adds an umami flavor!
- Seasonings: I opted for smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Depending on the recipe, you can add more! See below for variations.
How to Make This Recipe
The full written instructions and ingredients are listed below in the recipe card.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Press the tofu block for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the excess water by using a store-bought tofu press or by wrapping it in a dish towel and stacking heavy items on top to press out the water. If you don’t press the tofu, simply wrap in a clean towel and soak up some of the water. You may need to bake it for a few minutes longer.
Whisk together the olive oil, tomato paste, low-sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper until a smooth paste has formed.
Mix the tomato paste mixture into the crumbled tofu until well combined and all the tofu is coated.
Spread out evenly onto a parchment-lined baking tray- don’t overcrowd the pan or it’ll take longer to bake.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Keep in an eye on it during the last 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn.
Remove the tofu from the oven and serve immediately in your recipe of choice!
Making homemade meat substitutes is surprisingly very simple and just as good as store-bought. Tofu is a blank canvas and soaks up all the flavor you add to it! You can do tofu cubes, baked tofu, crumbled tofu, and more! A block of tofu is a super versatile ingredient to have on hand. Here are a few ways to spice up this vegan beef recipe.
- Change up the flavors: You can add Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes when making pasta or adding them to pizza. Or try out chili powder, cumin, and coriander when making tacos or burritos.
- Make it extra smoky: Add a dash of liquid smoke to add a nice smoky flavor.
- Make it more savory: Add a dash of vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce to add a bold flavor more savory flavor.
Tips & Tricks
Don't skimp on seasonings! I added smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper for this recipe to keep it more neutral in flavor to ensure that it goes well with a variety of recipes but you can add more depending on what recipe you're making. If you're making pasta, add Italian Seasonings. If you're making burritos, add chili powder and cumin.
Press the tofu! Pressing tofu will ensure you get that crispy exterior and chewy texture. It also helps the tofu absorb flavor.
Don't overcrowd the baking tray! This is very important- if you don't use a big enough baking tray and spread the tofu crumbles out evenly, you'll have to bake them a lot longer and they won't get as crispy.
Baking Time May Vary! Keep an eye on your tofu ground beef, especially in the last 10 minutes. You don't want to burn them but you definitely want to make sure they crisp up and dry out enough.
The wonderful thing about this vegan ground beef recipe is that it is a great addition to your favorite recipes to add a meaty texture. It can be meal prepped ahead of time for a super easy meal any day of the week and the cooking process is simple and hands off which gives you time to prep the remainder of the meal.
Overall, these tofu ground beef crumbles are a perfect addition to your weekly dinner rotation. Here are my favorite ways to use it!
- These tofu crumbles are perfect when added to pasta recipes such as a Bolognese Sauce, Lasagna or Stuffed Shells.
- Add to burritos, burrito bowls, tacos or in enchiladas. Pair with Chipotle Copycat Black Beans, Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice, and Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa.
- Add to soups and stews like my Three Bean Chili or Lasagna Soup.
- Use as a topping for Nachos along with my Red Pepper Cheese Sauce.
- Coat the tofu crumbles in Teriyaki Sauce or other soy sauce-based sauce and serve over jasmine rice with green onion.
Storage & Reheating
Storage: Allow the tofu beef crumbles to cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Reheating: You can add these straight to the recipe from the fridge or simply reheat in the oven at 350F for about 5-10 minutes or reheat on the stovetop until warmed through.
Freezing: Keep in mind that the texture of tofu changes when it has been frozen. But it should still be good in recipes such as pasta sauces or even burritos or tacos. Simply thaw before using and follow the reheating instructions from above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, all you have to do to “ground” tofu is simply crumble it in to small pieces with your hands. This will resemble ground meat once you add flavoring and bake it!
Tofu is a blank canvas and really takes the flavor of whatever you add to it. This ground tofu recipe resembles the texture of ground beef and that's why it's great replacement in certain recipes.
You may need to cook it longer to get it crispier and note that tofu absorbs flavors better when some of the water is pressed out of the block. I recommend pressing it for only 10 minutes for this recipe or wrap in paper towels to absorb some of that extra liquid.
Pressing tofu for at least 10 minutes and spreading out the crumbles on a baking tray so they aren't overcrowded should solve this problem. If they aren't as crispy as you'd like, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
The texture isn't quite right when cooked on the stovetop. The oven really dries out the inside and creates the perfect texture. You can use the stove top if you don't mind a less crispy tofu crumble.
More Meaty Vegan Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Baked Tempeh Bacon
- Vegan Steak
- Easy Vegan Bacon Bits
- How to Make Vegan Chicken Seitan
- The Best Crispy Tofu Chicken Nuggets
Best Tofu Ground Beef
- 14oz Extra Firm Tofu 1 block
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- Pinch of Salt & Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the excess water. If you don't press the tofu, simply wrap in a clean towel and soak up some of the water. You may need to bake it for a few minutes longer.
- Whisk together the olive oil, tomato paste, low sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of salt and pepper until a smooth paste has formed.
- Crumble the block of tofu and use a spatula to coat in the tomato paste mixture. Stir until the tofu is coated.
- Spread out evenly on to a parchment lined baking tray- don't over crowd the pan or it'll take longer to bake.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Keep in an eye on it during the last 10 minutes so it doesn't burn.
- Remove the tofu from the oven and serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
This is so easy and delicious. My carnivore husband and son prefer them to meat!
I’ve made my recipes of bolognese sauce, tacos, breakfast burritos, and chorizo with these. My biggest issue is that I start snacking on them while cooking. I’m thinking maybe taco salad over the summer. Or maybe next week.;)
I will never go back to store bought! Thank you!
Thank you for this amazing review!! I'm so happy your family loves this recipe. Taco salad sounds incredible!! 🙂
Great recipe adjustable to your own taste , I like the simple ingredient this was going to be a topping for pizza I doubled the paprika , added 1tsp Italian seasoning 1 tsp thyme and 2 tsp fennel seeds crushed in the mortar ..I was aiming for pepperoni flavor this was incredibly good . I can see if you want to add it to a bolognese sauce you might not need as much flavor . I loved the tomato paste in this I baked it for 30 minutes to get a nice texture ! awesome
Yes, I intentionally left this recipe simple so you can customize the spices to your specific dish. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for leaving a review 🙂
Really unbelievably Good
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
Rachael M. says
I made these for the first time tonight, and it is by far the BEST grounds I have had since even before being vegan. Better than any of the store-bought brands, by a long shot! I thought baking would make it dry out, but that is so not true - just the right about of moisture in the middle and crispy bits on the smaller pieces. This will be my new go to for any type of grounds. I used super firm tofu and didn't press beforehand - had no problem with excess water. Thank you Liv. This is 10/10!
Amazing!! I no longer buy store-bought brands after developing this recipe. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I do! Thank you 🙂