These vegan quesabirria tacos are a mess worth making. Each tortilla is dipped in a rich, savoury broth, stuffed with crispy oyster mushrooms, and fried on each side.
Serve each one with extra sauce, fresh veggies, and plant-based cheese. This dish is a true expression of Mexican flavors at their finest!
How do you make a traditional Mexican stew taste even better? Make it vegan and package it in taco form.
A delicious red broth is the star of this dish providing sweet, slightly-spicy, and ultra-herbaceous flavors. It's irresistibly good.
Toss some meaty oyster mushrooms into the mix with homemade corn tortillas and you're about to experience a true masterpiece.
What is it?
Birria is a popular stew traditionally made from marinated goat meat that's cooked in a kiln until soft and tender.
It's then transferred into a broth made from dried chiles, tomatoes, and Mexican herbs and spices where it cooks down further, forming a complex and rich tasting stew.
This dish is famously served at weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, or other holidays.
A relatively new trend is to smother this delicious broth on tortillas (both inside and out) before crisping them up on a comal and garnishing them with toppings like white onions and cilantro.
That's exactly what you'll get with these vegan quesabirria tacos. Just don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Birria originated in the beautiful state of Jalisco, but more specifically in the town of Cocula.
The origin of this meal started during the Spanish conquest when goats were introduced to the area. Unfortunately, they reproduced quickly and ate most of the indigenous peoples' crops, subjecting them to famine.
Since they were starving, the natives began eating the goats. But, in order to lessen the overly "gamey" taste and texture, they rubbed the meat with a plethora of herbs and spices and cooked it in kilns.
Birria has changed over the years, and you'll see it now served on holidays or by street vendors and small restaurants for breakfast or a mid-morning meal.
As for the rising popularity of birria tacos across the world, Tik Tok and other social media platforms are largely to thank for this. Since 2020, quesabirria tacos have gone viral, so there is no shortage of inspiration out there.
Is it vegan?
If you've read this far, you'll be able to answer this question for yourself. Traditional birria is a meat stew, so it is not vegan.
But, it doesn't have to be this way!
We've swapped out the meat for oyster mushrooms, making this meal perfect for vegans and vegetarians who want to experience an authentic Mexican meal.
Another great meat replacement to try in this recipe is young jackfruit. It's one of our absolute favorites!
You can serve birria three different ways:
Add the mushrooms into the pot and serve it in bowls topped with onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and a side of corn tortillas.
Take your fresh corn tortilla right off the comal, add in the mushroom mixture, top with cilantro, white onions, and a side of broth.
Sometimes we just use the broth as salsa and ladle it straight over top.
Our personal favorite way to serve this dish is in quesabirria taco form (shown in the recipe). Enjoy saucy tortillas filled with the mushroom mixture, then crisped up over a comal. Warning — you're going to need a lot of napkins.
Note: the broth is easily adjusted to your preferred consistency. If you want it thinner, add ½ a cup of vegetable broth at a time.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: there's no better way to replace meat than with savoury, meaty, and umami oyster mushrooms. Once shredded and cooked, their texture is uncanny to a meat counterpart (no more goats need to be harmed in the making of this dish!).
Health: while nearly fat-free, just one cup of oyster mushrooms contains 3 grams of protein and a mere 28 calories. Not only do mushrooms boast impressive macronutrients, but they're also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin B).
Dried Red Chiles
Taste: we use a combination of guajillo, pasilla, ancho, and morita chiles to create a sweet, spicy, and smoky broth. We've handpicked this dish's most commonly used chiles to create an authentic (yet vegan) experience to make sure this dish tastes like the real thing.
Health: it's a well-known fact that powerful antioxidants in chile peppers aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and speed up metabolism. Time to get on board the chile train!
Taste: this dish is meant to be very herbaceous and flavorful (as you will see in the spice list). Omitting any of these traditional Mexican spices will alter the dish, so don't skimp out!
Health: with this mix of herbs and spices, you'll be receiving compounds that help reduce inflammation, relieve nausea, and boost heart health.
Taste: this juicy, sweet, and tangy fruit is revered for making red salsas in Mexican cuisine. It's a perfect ingredient to pair with the base of red chiles.
Health: as the major dietary source of lycopene (an antioxidant), tomatoes come with a whole host of potential health benefits. And we haven't even mentioned vitamin C!
If you have questions about these quesabirria tacos, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: de-stem and shake the seeds out of all the dried chiles. Toast them in a skillet for a few minutes, or until they are fragrant.
Step 2: once the chiles are toasted, add them to a pot of water with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves. Simmer everything for around 15 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and pliable.
Step 3: drain and add the chiles, tomatoes, onion, and garlic to a blender along with the apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and all the seasonings (except the bay leaves). Blend on high until smooth.
Step 4: pour the sauce through a mesh strainer into a large pot, add in the rest of the vegetable broth, and let that simmer for 35-40 minutes.
Step 5: in the meantime, remove the bottom portion of the oyster mushrooms, then shred them with your hands into small strips. Season with oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Step 6: when you have about 10-15 minutes left on the sauce, heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the shredded mushrooms in batches until golden-brown and crispy.
Step 7: add all the mushrooms back into the skillet with 1-2 cups of birria sauce and cook down for another few minutes.
Quesabirrias: heat a little oil in another skillet over medium. Dip a corn tortilla in the pot of birria then place it in the skillet. While it’s cooking, add a scoop of the mushroom mixture and a handful of shredded vegan cheese (optional) to one half of the tortilla.
Quesabirrias: fold the tortilla over the fillings and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook on the second side until the outsides are crispy and the cheese is melty. Continue this process until all the tacos are made.
Quesabirrias: serve with a topping of diced white onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and a side of birria for dipping.
Tacos: serve the mushroom mixture inside fresh corn tortillas with all the same garnishes.
Stew: serve the mushrooms directly in the birria sauce with a garnish of onion, cilantro, lime wedges, and a side of corn tortillas. Whatever way you serve it, enjoy!
This recipe is delicious hot off the stove and comal, but you'll be super impressed with how well it stores.
It's best if you store the broth and mushrooms separate from the tortillas. If kept separate, the birria will keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container.
If you make a big batch, you can freeze the birria for up to 3-4 months in freezer-safe bags or containers.
To reheat the stew, thaw it in the fridge overnight (if frozen). Then, heat it in a saucepan over medium-low for 5-10 minutes. If you are making birria tacos, continue with the same steps as in our recipe card.
If you have full-made leftover quesabirrias, fry them on your stovetop for 2-3 minutes per side to warm them all the way through.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Use the oven instead. We love the crispy texture of frying mushrooms on the stovetop, but they also cook well in the oven (especially if you want to reduce your oil intake).
- Make corn tortillas from scratch. Not only are they easy to make, but they taste way better when you make your own.
- Add more spice. If you're looking for a spicier dish, add árbol chiles or cayenne pepper.
- Roast the veggies. For more smoky flavor, cook the onions, garlic, and tomatoes on a cast-iron skillet or comal instead of boiling them.
- Skip the straining. If you want to save time or don't mind more texture, straining the sauce isn't 100% necessary.
🍴 Tasting notes
This vegan birria taco recipe does not fall short in the flavor department. It's:
If you try these tacos de birria, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Quesabirria Tacos
- Chef knife & cutting board
- 4 dried Guajillo chiles ($0.16)
- 2 dried Pasilla chiles ($0.08)
- 2 dried Ancho chiles ($0.10)
- 4 dried Morita chiles ($0.08)
- 5 Roma tomatoes ($0.80)
- ½ large white onion, quartered ($0.12)
- 6 cloves garlic ($0.24)
- 8 whole peppercorns ($0.02)
- 1 tsp cumin ($0.01)
- ½ tsp ginger ($0.01)
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano ($0.06)
- 1 tsp thyme ($0.02)
- 2 whole cloves ($0.01)
- ¼ cinnamon stick ($0.02)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.15)
- 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.19)
- 2 Mexican bay leaves ($0.02)
- 2 lbs oyster mushrooms, shredded ($4.83)
- 3 tbsp neutral vegetable oil ($0.33)
- ½ tbsp garlic powder ($0.01)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
To Serve optional
- 12-14 corn tortillas
- Neutral vegetable oil for frying
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
- White onion, finely diced
- Shredded vegan cheese
- De-stem and shake the seeds out of all the dried chiles. Toast them in a skillet over medium-low for 3-5 minutes, making sure to frequently turn them so they don't burn.
- Once the chiles are toasted, add them to a pot with the tomatoes, roughly chopped onion, and garlic cloves. Cover with water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and pliable.
- Then, add the chiles, tomatoes, onion, and garlic to a blender along with the apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and all seasonings (except the bay leaves). Blend on high until smooth.
- Pour the sauce through a mesh strainer into a large saucepan, working it through with a spoon or spatula. Add in 2-3 more cups of vegetable broth, and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
- In the meantime, remove the bottom portion of the oyster mushrooms, then shred them with your hands into small strips. Season with oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the strips, then set the bowl aside.
- With 10-15 minutes left on the sauce, preheat about 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the shredded mushrooms in batches until golden-brown and crispy (about 8-10 minutes per batch).
- Add all mushrooms back into the skillet with 1-2 cups of birria sauce and cook down for another 2-3 minutes.
- Quesabirria: heat a little oil in another skillet over medium. Dip a corn tortilla in the pot of birria then place it in the skillet. While it’s cooking, add a scoop of the mushroom mixture and a handful of shredded vegan cheese (optional) to one half of the tortilla.
- Fold the tortilla over the fillings and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook on the second side until the outsides are crispy and the cheese is melty. Continue this process until all the tacos are made.
- Serve with a topping of diced white onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and a side of birria sauce.
- Stew: serve the mushrooms directly in the birria with a garnish of onion, cilantro, lime wedges, etc.
- Tacos: serve the mushroom mixture inside fresh corn tortillas with garnishes of your choice. Enjoy!
- If you don't have a cinnamon stick, you can replace it with ~ ¼ tsp powdered cinnamon.
- If you can't find Morita chiles, use chipotle chiles instead.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dish ideas, check out our:
- Tacos al pastor for a traditional Mexican street taco made without the meat, but all the flavor.
- Crispy black bean tacos for easy-to-make tacos that go well with anything (especially Modelo).
- Jackfruit carnitas for a mouthwatering meal to challenge everything you thought you knew about meat alternatives.
- Sweet potato quesadilla for an easy weeknight meal that's great for meal prep and the whole family.
If you don't have access to the dried chiles mentioned in this recipe, try using canned chipotle peppers in adobo, more tomatoes, and American chili powder.
The most ideal substitute for oyster mushrooms is young jackfruit. If you can't find jackfruit, try using shiitake mushrooms.
This recipe is about a 3-4/10 on the spice scale. It has a deep, rich, and herbaceous flavor with a subtle kick. You can adjust the level of spiciness to your preferences by playing around with the dried chiles.