Plant-Based Tinga is Like Mexican Pulled Chicken, Only Better


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 Recipe - it's Like Mexican Pulled Chicken, Only Better - naturally vegan, gluten-free, top allergen-free, and paleo friendly

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.

Plant-Based Tinga Recipe - it's Like Mexican Pulled Chicken, Only Better - naturally vegan, gluten-free, top allergen-free, and paleo friendlyThe 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.

Plant-Based Tinga (Mexican Shredded "Chicken")
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
For an authentic Mexican presentation, serve this tinga in corn tortillas or tostadas with lime, diced tomato, refried beans, and dairy-free cheese alternative or dairy-free sour cream.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, place the chopped tomatoes and chipotle chili pepper in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  4. 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.
Test Kitchen Notes: Make sure to cut the mushrooms and onions into thin strips to mimic pulled or shredded meat. Be sure to cook the sauce down until it's thick and a bit "clingy." This concentrates the flavor and helps to provide the look and feel of shredded meat.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 120 Fat: 4g Saturated fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 16g Sugar: 5g Sodium: 332mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 5g

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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