For Cinco de Mayo, I decided to share a recipe that fits the times. Plant-based is the buzz for many reasons – ranging from health to flavor to food availability. And right now, more than ever, most of us are all looking for easy recipes. This plant-based tinga fits the bill. It uses simple ingredients from your spice rack and the produce aisle, and comes together with minimal work. It also makes a large amount, so you can enjoy it for a couple dinners or several meals, depending on the size of your household.
Plant-Based Tinga is Like Mexican Pulled Chicken, Only Better
Tinga is a Mexican dish that’s usually made with shredded chicken cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, chipotle chiles, and onions. Mushrooms and carrots are the perfect stand-in for taco meat in this plant-based tinga. They offer a wonderful texture and flavor that melds well with the smoky tomato-chipotle sauce.
Oyster mushrooms are sold fresh and dried year round, and have a delicate but “meaty” texture. You can substitute shiitake mushrooms if your local stores don’t have oyster mushrooms on hand. In a pinch, portobello mushrooms will work okay, but they don’t have quite the same taste and texture.
Serve this plant-based “pulled chicken” with your favorite dairy-free Mexican accompaniments. Options include corn tortillas or tostadas, fresh lime wedges, diced tomatoes, refried beans, shredded lettuce, dairy-free cheese alternative, dairy-free sour cream alternative (store-bought or homemade vegan sour cream), guacamole, cilantro, fresh salsa, and fresh chilies. You can even set several items out in bowls and let each person build their own.
The chefs at McCormick shared this recipe and photo with us.
Special Diet Notes: Plant-Based Tinga
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo-friendly.
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt (freshly ground, if possible)
- 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika (can sub smoked paprika)
- 3 cups onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup grated carrots
- 2 pounds oyster mushrooms, cut into thin strips (see post above for options)
- 4 large roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper.
- Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and paprika and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onions and carrots and saute until softened. Stir in the spice mixture and sliced mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped tomatoes and chipotle chili pepper in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Add the tomato mixture to the pan with mushroom mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid has been reduced to about one-fourth its original volume and has the consistency of pulled chicken.