10 Tex-Mex Recipes for Your Next Meatless Monday

Tex-Mex food is just like it sounds: a marriage of Texan and Mexican cuisines, inspired by Central American cooking techniques and ingredients, but with a decisively Southwestern flare. Crunchy tacos, queso dip, sizzling fajita platters, Baja-style burritos, and chili are just some of the classics, but what sets these dishes apart from traditional Mexican cooking is the liberal use of ground beef, cheese, and flour tortillas—an ode to some of America’s most plentiful agricultural commodities.

But when it comes to creating plant-based versions of these foods, it’s all about taking advantage of elements like smoke, spice, char, and texture. Humble ingredients, like beans, rice, and bell peppers can be elevated to new heights thanks to the use of smoked paprika, chili powder, jalapeño peppers, roasted tomatoes, and chipotle in adobo sauce; just like how a bright salsa, creamy “queso,” or fiery enchilada sauce can transform an ordinary platter of chips or tacos into something totally mouthwatering. This Monday, let your imagination run wild with Tex-Mex-inspired plant-based cooking.

Bean and Cheese Taquitos

Nothing says Tex-Mex quite like taquitos. These thin, crispy tortilla rolls are ideal for dipping and can be filled with everything from a simple bean chili to more elaborate concoctions. They’re typically fried in a shallow pan but you can also bake them in the oven to achieve a similar result. For the Bean and Cheese Taquito recipe, click here.

The BEST Vegetarian Chili

We know that Texans typically don’t put beans in their chili, but maybe they’ll reconsider after trying this vegetarian version. It’s loaded with mushrooms, black beans, carrots, onions, fresh tomatoes, and lots of smoky seasonings, like chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. For the BEST Vegetarian Chili recipe, click here.

Creamy Vegan Queso

What would a Tex-Mex recipe roundup be without a queso? Not a good one! That’s why we’re including this killer vegan queso recipe from Cookie and Kate, which uses grated potatoes and cashews to achieve that silky, smooth texture synonymous with a proper liquid cheese dip. Chili powder, cumin, garlic, hot sauce, smoked paprika, and fire-roasted tomatoes bring big flavor to this all-purpose sauce. For the Creamy Vegan Queso recipe from Cookie and Kate, click here.

Hearty Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is up there with some of the other most comforting, heart-warming dishes around. It’s salty, savory, smoky, and has just the right punch of heat. It’s also really easy to make meat-free, thanks to this fun recipe from Tasting Table, which uses vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lots of spices! For the Hearty Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe from Tasting Table, click here.

Loaded Vegan Queso Nachos

You won’t believe these nachos are totally plant-based. The non-dairy queso is made using blended cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and lots of spices. Pouring the silky-smooth sauce over crispy tortilla chips and chunky beans gives each bite the perfect creamy, crunchy texture. For the Loaded Vegan Queso Nachos recipe, click here.

Quinoa Tamales with Sarza Criolla

Tamales are another quintessential piece of Tex-Mex cooking. In Mexico, where the tamale originated, a filling of beans or meat would be wrapped in a layer of corn masa and steamed in a husk. This plant-based version uses quinoa instead of masa and a filling of zucchini, onion, mushroom, and squash. The sarza criolla is basically a pickled onion, which adds a nice zip to the tamale. For the Quinoa Tamales with Sarza Criolla recipe, click here.

Red Enchilada Stacks with Spicy Roasted Mushrooms

These enchilada stacks are easy to individualize compared to baking all of them together in one big dish. The filling is a roasted mushroom, which is mixed with tomato sauce, chipotle chile purée, and taco seasoning. After the mushrooms are cooked, you dip a warm tortilla in some enchilada sauce and top it with the mushroom mixture. Then you just keep on stacking. For the Red Enchilada Stacks with Spicy Roasted Mushrooms recipe, click here.

Vegan Chalupa

Traditional chalupas, popular in south-central Mexico, are flat with a small well in the middle for beans, cheese, lettuce, and salsa. The Tex-Mex version is more of a puffy, fried taco shell that’s loaded with all the typical fixins’: meat, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato. However, thanks to Thee Burger Dude, you can recreate this modern marvel using only plant-based ingredients, like cashew sour cream, vegan beef crumbles, and a perfectly fried flatbread taco shell. For the Vegan Chalupa recipe from Thee Burger Dude, click here.

Vegan Stuffed Poblano Pepper

Nothing screams Tex-Mex louder than a BIG stuffed pepper. This dish is traditionally smothered in cheese and stuffed with some sort of meat, but this plant-based alternative from The Minimalist Baker uses a flavorful rice-bean mixture instead. Top the stuffed pepper with salsa and bake until bubbly and tender. For the Vegan Stuffed Poblano Pepper recipe from The Minimalist Baker, click here.

Zesty Tempeh Bell Pepper Fajitas

No Tex-Mex menu is complete without fajitas. And although these won’t come out sizzling on a cast iron skillet, they’ll still have that charred flavor and intoxicating grilled aroma. Fajitas are often made with a protein, bell peppers, and onion. This plant-based version uses a marinated tempeh in place of chicken/steak for a similar taste and texture. For the Zesty Tempeh Bell Pepper Fajitas recipe, click here.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.