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Entrees/ Recipes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos with Pepita Relish & Chipotle Crema

Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos with Pepita Relish & Chipotle Crema Recipe sitting on white plate

Whenever I see a recipe that involves steak, my first thought is, “Aha! I can make that with portabella mushrooms!” Everybody knows that portabellas are the steaks of the mushroom world!

And for the record, both portabella and portobello are correct, although portobello is more common. But portabella is a much prettier word, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

On topic: the steakiness of portabella mushrooms. When I saw a recipe for Skirt Steak Tacos with Pepita Relish from Real Simple, it was the pepita relish that grabbed my attention — I kind of wanted to make the tacos for that alone. Using portabella mushrooms was a given, but when I looked at the comments and saw someone suggesting beer as a marinade for the steak, I wondered if that would work for mushrooms too.

Beer & Taco Toppings
For as often as I use wine and beer in my recipes, you’d probably assume that I like to get my buzz on, as the kids say. But I don’t! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I drink a year because I just don’t tolerate alcohol very well, which means that when I do drink, people think I’m totally hammered when I’ve just had half a glass of wine mixed with Sprite. (Sprine! It’s a refreshing and classy drink.) Alcohol has a way of making food delicious, so even if you’re not a fan of drinking it, you might find it worth picking up once in a while for cooking. And for making Sprine.

Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos with Pepita Relish & Chipotle Crema
These grilled mushroom tacos aren’t just about beery mushrooms though! We can’t forget about the pepita relish. You could top your tacos with salsa instead, but this relish takes mere minutes to put together and it adds a fresh flavor and crunch to your tacos. I also included a chipotle crema made with soaked cashews — while it requires a little prep work, I assure you that it’s worth it. You’ll have some extra leftover because making a smaller batch won’t work in a blender, but it will keep in the fridge for a few days. We like using it as a dip for fresh veggies and chips or as an alternative to mayo on sandwiches.

This post was originally published on June 18, 2014.

Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos with Pepita Relish & Chipotle Crema Recipe sitting on white plate

Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos with Pepita Slaw & Chipotle Crema

Meaty beer-marnated mushrooms are a perfect substitute for steak in this meatless version of Real Simple's Skirt Steak Tacos with Pepita Relish.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 tacos


For the Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushrooms:

  • 1 cup pale lager like Corona
  • Juice from 1 small lime about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 medium portabella mushrooms
  • Grapeseed oil or other high heat cooking oil for brushing grill

For the Pepita Relish:

  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • Juice from 1 small lime about 2 tablespoons

For the Chipotle Crema:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces soaked for 4-8 hours, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice from 1 small lime about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo adjust the amount to increase or decrease heat
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble tacos:

  • 8-10 small tortillas warmed
  • 1 medium tomato diced


Make the mushrooms:

  • Combine the beer, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake it to mix the marinade.
  • Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and pull off the stems. Scrape the gills off of the underside of each mushroom and discard. Place the mushrooms in the bag with the marinade. Let them marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the bag every 5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat an indoor grill on high. (You can use a grill pan on medium-high or an outdoor grill too.) Brush the grates with oil and place the mushrooms on the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until the mushrooms are tender — thicker mushrooms can take a little bit longer!
  • Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place them on a cutting board. Slice the mushrooms and let the liquid drain off.

Make the relish:

  • Toss all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Make the crema:

  • Combine the cashews, garlic, lime juice, chipotle, and 1/4 cup of water in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is completely smooth. If needed, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the crema is smooth, creamy, but still thick, add salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble to tacos:

  • Divide the sliced mushrooms onto the tortillas and top each one with relish, crema, and diced tomato, then serve.


Prep time doesn't include time to soak cashews.
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  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    June 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I’m sorry…I just couldn’t keep my eyes off the corn in all the pics.


    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      CORRRRRNNNN!!!! What’s better than corn? There’s really nothing.

      • Reply
        July 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        I started my vacation in Mexico at the start of sweet corn season. I do love all the food, but there was NO SWEET CORN. The day after I came home I ate 4 ears.

        As to Mexican food though…that relish and crema are divine on chilquiles, egg and tofu.

        • Reply
          Kiersten Frase
          August 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          Well, I’m sure the vacation was worth missing out on the sweet corn. And you’re making up for it now, which is what matters! 😀

  • Reply
    Brooke: Not On a Diet
    June 18, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Uh…these are going on the menu plan ASAP! That chipotle crema sounds so good!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      It is! It should really just be a staple in the fridge at all times. 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia Mueller
    June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I’ve never wanted a Corona so bad in my life. Your photograph of the beer is AMAZING!! You should be Corona’s official photographer.

    Okay, these tacos are killing me, smalls. Just killing me. I’ve never prepped mushrooms with beer and it sounds so wonderful! You don’t have to tell me twice about the pepita relish, I’m all over that ish!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Ha! I’ve been in a photography rut and one of the exercises I’ve been doing to help myself get un-rutted is to photograph individual objects or really sparse set-ups and see if I can make them interesting. So that’s my totally non-glamorous explanation for that photograph. 🙂

  • Reply
    Raquel @ My California Roots
    June 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

    These look so light & fresh & summery! I love mushroom tacos – they’re my favorite. Also, the corn in the photos looks so yummy. I can’t believe it’s the middle of June and I’ve yet to have any corn yet. Sad face.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I get SO excited as soon as I start seeing fresh corn again! My husband is totally meh about it and doesn’t get the fuss, but I really could eat it everyday all summer long…

  • Reply
    Annie @Maebells
    June 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    yum! We have “taco tuesdays” every week and this looks like it would be a great addition!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Corona + mushrooms? My hubby is going to love these. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    June 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Sometimes I think I could live on grilled mushrooms. What a great taco!

  • Reply
    Crissy from BeginWithin Nutrition
    June 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I like it…using mushrooms in place of steak! That opens up a whole new world of recipes for me! I just read your ebook and found it very helpful, thank you for all the advice! P.S. I love your style of writing, you crack me up 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the ebook! Mushrooms are one of my favorite substitutes for beef – and they’re much cheaper than the frozen faux meats too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes
    June 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Okay so, I’m right there with you with the tolerance – I actually do love wine but two glasses later and people would think I had 6. It’s sad. Cooking with wine or beer is a yes in my book, and I love that you marinated the grilled mushrooms with it! These photos look so gorgeous…I kind of feel like if you did this post on the beer ALONE I would be like “yes, I need beer now” cause I need everything in these photos!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      It’s embarrassing, right? People think I’m SUCH a lush, when the truth is, I just have zero tolerance at all. I’m the same way with caffeine – if I have black tea that’s brewed too strong, I get dizzy and nauseated. I am the weakest weak that ever weaked. 🙂

  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    June 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Pass me a corona and 100 of these tacos! Yum

  • Reply
    Millie l Add A Little
    June 19, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Beer marinated mushrooms?! That sounds so awesome!

  • Reply
    Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe
    June 19, 2014 at 5:39 am

    I love how summery and fresh these tacos look. They would be perfect for a lazy weeknight dinner and also for summer get-togethers on our terrace. Plus, pepita relish?! How is it that I’ve never thought about it myself?!

    xo, Elisa

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      I want pepita relish on everything now! It was so good. 🙂

  • Reply
    Olivia - Primavera Kitchen
    June 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

    THis recipe looks perfect and totally has me craving tacos now!!

  • Reply
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner
    June 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Yummy interest twist! Already pinned!

  • Reply
    Becky (The Cookie Rookie)
    June 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    This looks ridiculously good!! I can’t wait to try it. Your pictures are so beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    June 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    These just went on the menu for a dinner this week! I have everything for them. What great veggies tacos!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Wow, the chipotle crema alone is amazing. Thanks for the great recipe! Tip: I didn’t have time to soak the cashews so I put them in water and microwaved for about 2 min. Then, I let them sit for another 10 or so. Worked well as the sauce came out smooth.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 25, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Yeah, when I’m in a hurry, usually I’ll just soak them in hot water for a few minutes too – it works in a pinch! I’m glad to hear the recipe was a hit!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    This is listed as gluten-free, but it includes beer as an ingredient. If you use gluten-free beer, will you be okay?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Ahh, I can’t believe I did that! My mistake; I corrected the tag. But yes, I’m sure a gluten-free beer would work just fine.

  • Reply
    Joanne Bruno
    June 23, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Lately I’ll have just one beer and end up with a MAJOR headache. So eating my alcohol is definitely the way to go these days! And being that I won’t be beer marinating steak any time soon…bellas are definitely the way to go! These tacos are da bomb.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Yeah, that happens to me with hard cider, which is a bummer because I love hard cider so much. Why does it have to be the delicious alcohol that gives me headaches?! Boo.

  • Reply
    Amy | Tiny Red Kitchen
    August 4, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Tacos are always such a hard thing to do vegetarian, and one thing that sometimes makes me miss meat. I usually just crumble up some veggie burgers, but this is definitely on my list for next time.

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    August 4, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Everything about this makes me happy… especially that crema. I want it on everything.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Can’t wait to try this recipe for myself! Sounds light and refreshing- – lovely way to enjoy tacos.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    This recipe looks amazing! The photography is so real and tempting. Perfect dinner on a Taco Tuesday & National Taco day (the reason for my search! ;)). I love every aspect of this page!!!

    Quick Question: If you don’t have enough hours to soak the cashews, is there any other alternative? I might have 2 hours tops after I get home to cook dinner 🙁


    • Reply
      October 4, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      If you soak the cashews in hot water for an hour or two, that will usually work in a pinch. I do it that way a lot. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Just came across this recipe, and I’m lucky enough that it is taco Tuesday and that I have an excuse to go all out and make it. Really love the use of pale lager with the earthiness of cumin, along with the pepita slaw. I may add pickled radishes to mine as an experiment since I have them on hand.

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