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Tofu Chorizo

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This tofu chorizo is made with crumbled firm tofu and a blend of Tex-Mex spices. Add it to burrito bowls, spoon it into tacos, and use it any way you’d use traditional chorizo!

Bowl of tofu chorizo with spoon, garnished with lime wedge and cilantro

Hot, spicy chorizo is featured in many Tex-Mex dishes, but finding store-bought vegan chorizo substitutes is a dicey proposition. If you don’t live near a Whole Foods or natural market, you’re probably out of luck!

It’s a good thing tofu chorizo is so easy to make—and it’s made with ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store.

Tofu is famous for taking on any flavors that are added to it, which makes it the perfect swap for meat in this vegetarian chorizo recipe. When crumbled, it has a ground meat texture, and the blend of spices mimics the flavor of traditional chorizo. Add it to your favorite Tex-Mex foods and enjoy!

Mexican Chorizo vs. Spanish Chorizo

This tofu chorizo is a substitute for Mexican chorizo, which is spicy because it’s made with chiles. Spanish chorizo is made with smoked paprika and garlic, so the flavor is more smoky than fiery.

Bowl of tofu chorizo set next to plate of tortillas

What You’ll Need

If you cook often, you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry! Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Avocado oil – Another cooking oil can be used instead—no need to go out and buy avocado oil if you don’t have it on hand!
  • White onion – Yellow onion is fine, too.
  • Garlic
  • Firm tofu – Learn more about cooking with tofu: Tofu Guide: How to Cook It and Love It
  • Chili powder
  • Sea salt
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper – You can use more or less, depending on your heat preference.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • White vinegar

Can I Substitute Paprika for Chili Powder?

Yes, you can substitute paprika for chili powder, but it’s not quite the same. Both are made with dried peppers, but chili powder also has cumin and oregano added as well, and sometimes other herbs or spices. In other words, chili powder is actually a spice blend, while paprika is made only with dried peppers.

Bowl of tofu chorizo with cilantro leaves and lime wedge

How to Make Tofu Chorizo

I recommend starting by pressing the tofu, which gets the excess moisture out so it can absorb all the flavors you add. (You’ll see how to do this in my guide to cooking tofu.)

Make the tofu crumbles. Use your hands to crumble the tofu into small pieces.

Cook the aromatics. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it’s translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.

Add the tofu. Place the tofu in the skillet and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tofu is browned and crispy. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil a little bit at a time whenever the pan seems dry, scraping off any bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Stir in the seasonings. Add the chili powder, sea salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and cinnamon, followed by the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, then serve.

Tofu chorizo in skillet with wooden slotted spoon

Tips for Success

Here are some hints and tips for making perfect tofu chorizo.

  • Use the right tofu. Be sure to buy refrigerated soft tofu, not shelf-stable silken tofu. Soft silken tofu has a different texture that won’t work for this recipe.
  • Make sure your spices are good. When you open the jars, they should be fragrant. If they don’t have much smell, or smell a little musty, it’s time to replace them. This recipe is all about those spices!
  • Deglazing the pan. If you have a lot of burnt-on bits at the end of the recipe, the vinegar will do a great job loosening them up. 

Serving Suggestions

Use your tofu chorizo for:

  • Topping homemade nachos
  • Filling burritos or adding to burrito bowls
  • Making vegan tacos, tostadas, taquitos, crunchwraps, whatever!
  • Adding protein to salads
  • Pairing with eggs for breakfast
Overhead view of tofu chorizo in bowl with spoon, plate of tortillas, and lime wedges

How to Store

You can store your vegan chorizo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat it in a skillet with a splash or oil, or in the microwave until warmed through.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze your tofu chorizo for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag; let it thaw in the refrigerator or reheat it from frozen.

Bowl of tofu chorizo with cilantro leaves and lime wedge

Tofu “Chorizo”

A meaty vegan chorizo substitute made with crumbled bits of soft tofu!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • Start by crumbling the tofu with your hands into small crumbles.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute before adding in the crumbled tofu.
  • Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes until the tofu is browned and crispy. Add in the remaining tablespoon of oil a little bit at a time when the pan seems dry making sure to use the back of the spoon to scrape up any stuck on bits.
  • Once you’ve achieved your desired crispiness, season with chili powder, sea salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and cinnamon. Stir in the vinegar and taste for additional salt if needed.
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

How to store: You can store your tofu chorizo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat it in a skillet with a splash or oil or in the microwave.
How to freeze: Freeze tofu chorizo for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag; let it thaw in the refrigerator or reheat it from frozen.

NUTRITION FACTS

Calories: 214 kcal | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Protein: 11 g | Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Sodium: 622 mg | Potassium: 113 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 2 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keyword: easy tofu recipes, vegan chorizo, vegetarian chorizo
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