When I first went vegan, I wanted to avoid using a lot of mock meats. This wasn’t necessarily out of health concerns (frankly, you’re a vegan whether or not you’re “healthy,” so put that to bed), but more because I really really like cooking on my own and developing my own recipes and alternatives. Particularly once I started Urban Garlic (yep, back in the low-light, 5 a.m. blurry breakfast snap days), I wanted to be a from-scratch vegan. I preferred my tacos to have things like black beans instead of “beef” crumbles, or to add mushrooms instead of vegan “bacon” to my breakfasts.

Unfortunately, for too long I missed out on how lovely and handy it was to have a handy mince substitute. Whether it was to throw in a chickpea omelette, toss on top of some pasta or just eat straight out of the jar (shut up…), I am now convinced that everyone needs a vegan mince in their life.

Of course, I love homemade stuff, and I do find something like this a little more versatile than a frozen or refrigerated crumble that you have to heat up in order for it to taste mildly edible (like I said, I eat this stuff cool and right out of the container that I store it in). Additionally, Jarrod and I are trying to cut down on our waste, so homemade is always best when you’re trying to do this!

This vegan mince is excellent to toss into any savoury recipe where you feel like you’re missing a bit of “meaty” flavour — and the best part is, it’s high in protein too!

Mushroom and tempeh mince, makes about four cups


  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
    • Grain-free
  • Nut-free
  • Refined sugar-free
    • Sugar-free
  • Soy-free option
  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15-17 minutes

* Soy-free tempeh is uncommon, but does exist. You can find soy-free versions in specialized health food stores (made from a variety of proteins from hemp to chickpeas), or if you’re so brave, you can make your own.

You can also use coconut aminos instead of tamari.


  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms (any variety — I used a mix of shiitake and crimini)
  • 1 block tempeh
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp wheat-free tamari

Alternate version: For more of a sausage taste, add 1/2 tsp each of fennel seeds and sage.

Chop the mushrooms and tempeh according to your personal preference. I like the taste and texture of mushrooms so I leave mine fairly large, cut into about 4-6 pieces each, but if you want them to disappear into the recipe, pulse through a food processor or chop super-finely.


  1. Heat a small amount of oil (or water or vegetable broth if adhering to an oil-free diet) in a man over medium heat. Sautée the onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant, about five minutes.
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms and sautée for another three to five minutes, until the mushrooms become slightly tender (don’t worry about them being all-the-way tender).
  3. Crumble in the tempeh, add the sundried tomatoes, and add the cumin, smoked paprika, chilli and tamari.
  4. Cook thoroughly, stirring often to avoid clumping, for another five to seven minutes or until the tempeh is nicely browned.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe container. Serve what you need right away and store the cooled remains in the fridge. This keeps in an air-tight container for about two weeks.

What’s your favourite go-to, easy meatless meat? For convenience, I love Gardein’s fishless filets, and my partner really likes Yves ground round. But we’re slowly falling in love with more homemade alternatives. Let me know your faves in the comments!