These spicy and fragrant vegan birria tacos are going to change the way you eat tacos forever. A mixture of shredded oyster mushrooms and jackfruit is simmered in a sauce of dried chiles, spices, and roasted tomatoes, then served in warm corn tortillas.
Birria is a type of barbacoa, this particular recipe is one the star dishes of the state of Jalisco. The northern states like Chihuahua have a slightly different version. Traditionally it is made by marinating the protein in the sauce then wrapping it in maguey leaves and cooking it in an underground pit until tender. It is a celebration dish made for weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, and family Sunday meals.
To make this vegan birria I decided to substitute the meat with a mixture of jackfruit and shredded oyster mushrooms, but you could do all mushrooms or all jackfruit. You could also substitute with your favorite meat substitute.
- Jackfruit- make sure it’s canned young green jackfruit
- Oyster mushrooms- maitake mushrooms will also work for this
- Dried Chile Ancho, guajillo, pasilla- are commonly find in grocery stores in the Mexican section
- Chile morita- is a small smoky and can be found in Mexican markets or online
There’s three ways to serve this. You can serve in a big bowl with lots of broth with a side of lime and diced onions.
Serve in tacos: Strain some of the mushroom mixture and fill warm corn tortillas topped with cilantro and onion, and a side of the broth.
Serve in quesabirrias: Make quesadillas filled with the mushroom mixture, and brown in a pan with some of the broth. Instructions in recipe card below.
You can store in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer 6 months.
Vegan Birria Tacos
- 1 can (20 oz.) Young green jackfruit in brine, drained
- ½ White onion, peeled
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 Chile ancho, dried, deseeded, destemmed
- 5 Guajillo chiles, dried, deseeded, destemmed
- 1 Pasilla chile, deseeded, destemmed
- 2-3 Morita, chiles dried (depending on how spicy)
- 4 Roma tomatoes, medium
- 5 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
- ½ White Onion, peeled
- 5 Allspice, whole
- 10 Black peppercorns
- 2 Cloves, whole
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
- 1 stick Ceylon cinnamon (1 inch long)
- 1/4 tsp. Marjoram, dried
- 1/4 tsp. Thyme, dried
- 1/2 tsp. Oregano, dried
- 1/4 tsp. Ground ginger
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 2 lb. Oyster mushrooms, pulled into shreds
- 3 -4 cups Vegetable broth or stock
- ½ cup Chopped cilantro
- ½ cup Diced white onion
- 12 Corn tortillas
- 4 Slices vegan cheese (optional)
To make jackfruit:
- Drain the jackfruit and rinse it with water. Cut the core of the jackfruit (tip of the triangle pieces). Remove the seed pods and shred them with your hands. Place in a medium pot and cover with water. Add the half onion and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and let cool slightly. Squeeze all the water out with your hands or by placing it in a towel. Set aside
To make the sauce:
- Set a cast-iron pan or comal at medium-high heat. Toast the chiles for a couple of seconds on each side until they began to change color. Place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and turn the heat off. Let soak for 10 minutes.
- In the same cast-iron pan, place the tomatoes, garlic, and ½ an onion and let char on both sides until they are slightly blackened on all sides. (The garlic will take less time than the rest of the ingredients.) Peel the garlic and place these ingredients in the blender.
- Toast the allspice, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds in a small sauté pan set to medium heat until fragrant. Add to the blender.
- Add the marjoram, thyme, oregano, ginger, bay leaves, and apple cider vinegar to the blender. Drain the chiles, but reserve the liquid. Add the chiles to the blender and 1 ½ cups of the chile soaking liquid. Blend until smooth. If necessary add more liquid to get a smooth puree. Strain and set aside.
- Set a large pot to medium-high heat, add oil. Sauté mushrooms in batches until they are golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from pot and set aside. Add more oil to the pot and sauté the jackfruit until golden brown. Add the mushrooms back into the pot, lower heat, and pour in chile puree. Stir. Let simmer for 2- 3 minutes, then add the vegetable stock. I like mine very brothy, but if you like your thick add less veg stock. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve in tacos: Drain some of the mushroom meat, heat tortillas, and make tacos. Sprinkle them with cilantro and onion, and serve with a bowl of broth to dip in.
- To serve in quesabirrias: Drain some of the mushroom meat and set aside. Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tsp. of oil. Dip the tortilla in the hot broth and place in the sauté pan immediately, place a slice of cheese on one side of the tortilla, and add 1 tbsp. of mushroom meat. Use a spatula to fold over the other side of the tortilla to form a quesadilla. Let cook for 2 more minutes then flip it. Cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is slightly blackened. Sprinkle them with cilantro and onion, and serve with a bowl of broth to dip in.