I don’t eat a whole lot of meat substitutes, but I do have a few favorites, and every now and then I’ll see something new at the store and decide to give it a go. And every now and then one of the new ones I try gets added on to my favorites list. That’s what happened with Trader Joe’s vegan chorizo. I’ve never had traditional chorizo, so I was curious. It was delicious, so now it’s one of the few meat substitutes that I do indulge in on occasion.
It was all the spices that made me love veggie chorizo so much. A little bit hot, a little smoky, and so much flavor. That got me thinking, if all the flavor I loved so much in this stuff comes from the spices, it shouldn’t matter too much what the chorizo is actually made out of. The base is really just a vehicle for all the spice.
That’s what prompted me to take my first crack at vegan chorizo with these stuffed zucchinis. I made that chorizo out of lentils and walnuts, thinking they’d be perfect for the texture. This time around I decided to switch things up and go with chickpeas and walnuts. I liked it even better.
The chickpeas get briefly blitzed in a food processor to create this meatless chorizo. The key is not to overdo it—4 or 5 pulses is plenty. Once you’ve chopped your chickpeas and walnuts in the food processor, they get cooked up quickly in a skillet with lots of spices, to give you that hot and smoky chorizo flavor. The chickpea chorizo gets piled onto crispy tostada shells and topped with a drizzle of avocado crema, to balance out the heavy spices. I threw a bit of shredded lettuce and tomatoes onto my tostadas for texture. Feel free to substitute or add your favorite veggies or tostada toppings though.
For the chickpea chorizo:
For the shells:
For the avocado crema:
Make the chickpea chorizo:
Make the shells:
Make the avocado crema:
Assemble the tostadas:
Adding more cayenne pepper will make the chickpea mixture taste more like chorizo, but a little bit goes a long way. I suggest starting with 1/4 teaspoon, taste-testing, and adding more as needed.
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