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Walnut Meat: Easy Recipe and Everything You Need to Know

Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD

pinterest pin featuring walnut meat in a white bowl

Walnuts are a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They are packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a great alternative to traditional meat in vegetarian and vegan recipes.

In this blog post, we will be exploring a delicious walnut meat recipe that is perfect for those who are looking for a meatless option. This dish is not only tasty but also satisfying and filling, making it a great option for lunch or dinner.

Whether you are a seasoned vegetarian or just looking to try something new, this recipe is sure to impress. So let’s get started!

What is walnut meat?

Walnut meat is an easy recipe that can be used as a vegetarian replacement for ground meat, usually beef or pork. 

There are multiple ways to make it, some easier than others. But the 2 main concerns when making walnut meat are to add umami flavor and get the perfect texture.


Walnuts are one of the richest sources of polyunsaturated fats and contain fiber, protein, and many vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. 

Compared to beef, walnut meat will have less protein and saturated fat but more fiber, unsaturated fats, and a different assortment of vitamins and minerals.   

Consider adding another protein source to your meal to increase your intake, if needed.  Another option would be to increase the amount of walnut meat when compared to the amount of beef someone else would use. Finally, you could omit the mushrooms from this recipe to increase the protein per serving

How to make walnut meat

Walnut meat is super easy and adaptable to your tastes.  I created this recipe to be the base of your meal. Similar to an omnivore using ground beef to then season and make tacos.

Once you finish making your plain walnut meat, use it in your main dish recipe, seasoning it accordingly.

To make:

  1. Boil the walnuts for 10 minutes, until softened. Rinse and dry.
  2. Pulse the walnuts and mushrooms together. 
  3. Add all ingredients to a pan and saute until the mushrooms have released their water and the mixture is dry again.

If you don’t have a food processor, or you’d rather not clean it, use a good quality chef’s knife to finely chop the walnuts and mushrooms. Do this after cooking for easier cutting.

How to use walnut meat

Walnut meat would be a good substitute anywhere your omnivore friends and family would use ground meat.

  • Mix with taco seasoning and a small amount of water or broth to make a base for tacos. You could also use this to top nachos or put in quesadillas or burritos.
    • If you don’t have taco seasoning, use a mix of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and dried oregano. Sprinkle some lime juice on top for extra flavor!
  • Use an Italian seasoning blend for use in bolognese sauces. This is great for spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed peppers, and more!
  • Mix with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers for a yummy pizza or pita topping. Use tzatziki sauce!
  • Use in Buddha bowls
  • Top your salad
    • Or make a yummy, plant-based taco salad everyone would love!
  • Season with Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, fennel seed, celery salt, and paprika to create a vegan crumbled sausage.
  • Mix with pico de gallo and mix into scrambled eggs for breakfast
  • Mix with curry paste and garam masala for use in your favorite Indian dish
  • Mix with cooked quinoa, bread crumbs, and an egg to make a veggie burger
  • Add some barbecue sauce and top a baked potato
Red taco plate with 2 tacos filled with vegetarian walnut taco meat and side of sour cream and pico de gallo
Walnut taco meat tacos with sour cream and pico de gallo


Store your leftover walnut meat (if you have any!) in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

walnut meat in a white bowl

Walnut Meat

Walnut Meat is a tasty and nutritious vegetarian alternative to ground meat that can be used in a variety of dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Easy, vegan, Vegetarian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Jenn



  • 1 cup walnuts raw, unsalted
  • ½ cup mushrooms I used cremini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce low sodium
  • liquid smoke few drops
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste I use the paste that comes in a tube, so I don't waste an entire can.
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Add walnuts to boiling water. Boil 10 minutes, rinse, then allow to dry on paper towel.
  • Using your food processor, pulse mushrooms and walnuts together, until a crumbly texture forms. Make sure not to over process, or a paste will form. You can also use a good chef's knife to chop ingredients to your desired consistency.
  • Sautee all ingredients together until the mushrooms give off their water and the walnut meat has dried.
  • Use your walnut meat wherever someone might use ground meat, such as tacos, spaghetti sauce, or


Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 285mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

*Nutrition Facts are an estimate only. Differences are expected when making substitutions for any ingredient or when different brands are used.

*We may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links on our site. These commissions help support our work in providing valuable content to our readers. Thank you for your support!

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In conclusion, this walnut meat recipe is a delicious and nutritious vegetarian alternative to traditional meat dishes.

The combination of walnuts, spices, and seasonings creates a delicious and versatile dish that can be used in a variety of dishes such as tacos, salads, or even pasta sauces.

It’s easy to make, affordable, and a great way to add a new dimension of flavor to your cooking.

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just starting to explore vegetarian options, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. So, give it a try and enjoy the taste and health benefits of this delicious dish!

How much protein is in walnut meat?

This recipe has 6 g of protein per 1/4 cup. You can increase the protein by omitting the mushrooms and using more walnuts, though you will sacrifice some flavor by doing this.

Are walnuts a good substitute for meat?

It depends.
Walnut meat will allow you to enjoy a vegetarian version of a traditionally meat-based dish. However, nutrient-wise, they are not a 1 to 1 comparison. Refer to the discussion above for more info on the nutritional makeup of this dish compared to black beans and ground beef.

Can you make walnut meat without a food processor?

Simply follow the same instructions using a good chef’s knife to chop up the walnuts and mushrooms instead of a food processor. You’ll actually have better control over the final texture this way! It may be easier to do this after you cook all the ingredients together.

How do you make walnut meat soft?

Walnut meat won’t ever be as soft as ground meat.
Improve the texture by boiling the walnuts for at least 10 minutes. The longer you boil them, the softer they’ll get, to a point.
Just make sure to keep an eye on the pot. You’ll need more water than you think!

How do you dry walnut meat?

With all ingredients in your pan, simply sautee until the mushrooms release their water. Then continue cooking on medium heat until the walnut meat is dry.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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