Vegan Chorizo


  • 1 (10-ounce) block of extra-firm cottony (non-silken) tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 6 ounces plain tempeh
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black or Puy lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 whole sweet dried chilies like Costeño, Guajillo, or Choricero, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 to 2 small hot dried chilies like Arbol or Cascabel, stems and seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 whole rich fruity dried chili like Ancho, Mulatto, Negro, or Pasilla, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 whole chipotle chili in adobo sauce with 2 tablespoons sauce from can
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon freshly toasted and ground coriander seed
  • 3 whole cloves, toasted and ground
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or red miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water


  1. Chile paste. Lightly toasts chiles then remove seeds and stems. Combine chilies, raisins, canned chipotle chilies and their juices, and water. Bring to simmer then let stand. Blend until smooth.

  2. Protein. Freeze tofu for 15 minutes and let thaw to improve texture. Chop tofu and tempeh into ground beef consistency. Cook lentils then dehydrate in the over for 20-30 minutes.

  3. Aromatics. Roast the poblano using an open flame or broiler. Seal in foil to loosen skin. Peel and de-seed. Dice onion. Mince garlic. Combine spices.

Pick Up

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and poblanos, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, fresh and dried oregano, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add miso paste, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and chili mixture. Add crumbled tofu and dehydrated lentils. Stir to incorporate and season to taste with salt and pepper. For a moister, saucy texture, add a few tablespoons of water. For a dryer, crumblier, well-browned texture, add 2 tablespoons more oil and continue cooking until most of the excess liquid has evaporated and mixture is dark brown with crisp bits, about 15 minutes. Serve in tacos, burritos, mixed with eggs, on nachos, or in any recipe that calls for fresh Mexican chorizo.