Vegan Birria

This vegan birria is a saucy, flavorful, and authentic Mexican dish that is popular at weddings and big celebrations. There are multiple meat substitutes to pick from within this recipe; jackfruit, hibiscus flower, mushrooms, seitan, and more.

Vegan Birria

Birria is a popular dish from Mexico typically made with beef, goat, or lamb. However, no one should miss out on the comforting taste of birria even if they don’t eat meat. The flavor is mostly in the sauce and spices so it was fairly easy to make a vegan version.

This vegan birria recipe is one of my favorites to make with Mexican rice and homemade beans. I call it the Mexican trio. It is extremely satisfying and perfect for anytime of the year. The best part is that you can also make vegan quesabirria tacos with it! Quesabirria tacos are quesadillas with birria inside and lightly fried in chili oil. It is then dipped in a small bowl of birria broth for extra sauciness!

vegan birria in a pan.

Meat Substitutes:

Hibiscus Flower/Flor de Jamaica

I know what some of your might be thinking..hibiscus flower?! Anna, are you crazy? No, well I may be a bit crazy in other ways but you have to trust me on this one! It is not tart one bit. Hibiscus flower is usually used for teas and sweets but when prepared correctly it can also be a meat substitute. Learn more about how to use hibiscus here.

The apple cider vinegar reduces the tanginess by 99%, it’s science. The hibiscus flower is chewy just like beef but if you want a much tender texture I suggest you use jackfruit or King Oyster Mushroom (very close to meat texture too). If using jackfruit or king oyster mushrooms skip steps 1-2 and avoid rinsing when on step 6.

vegan birria ingredients

King Oyster Mushroom

This mushroom shreds very well and can replicate the texture of shredded meat. I typically find mine at local Asian groceries or whole foods. They tend to be pricey but I’ve heard it’s easy to grow them at home! This would be an easier option as it requires fewer ingredients and fewer steps than using the hibiscus flower.

Shredded Tofu

If you’ve never grated tofu, you’re missing out! I love grating it to get a “shredded” meat texture. I have a recipe for it in my Vegan Enchiladas recipe. This is definitely my go-to meat alternative for those that say they don’t like tofu, just to prove them wrong lol.

Jackfruit

I highly recommend using canned jackfruit in brine. Make sure to rinse well to get all the brine flavor out.

Seitan/Vegan Meats

Shredded seitan also makes for a great meat substitute. I recently tried Juicy Marble’s filet mignon steaks and shredded them to make birria. This product is SO close to meat it was a bit scary for us but is a great alternative for those looking for something very close to beef.

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vegan birria in a mexican bowl.

Vegan Birria


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Anna Rios
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan birria is a saucy, flavorful, and authentic Mexican dish that is popular at weddings and big celebrations. There are multiple meat substitutes to pick from within this recipe; jackfruit, hibiscus flower, mushrooms, seitan, and more.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Hibiscus option:

  • 2 cups dried Hibiscus flower (see above for more meat substitutes)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

If using King Oyster Mushrooms or Jackfruit:

  • 6 king oyster mushrooms OR 2 large cans of young jackfruit in brine
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil (or any other neutral oil)

Birria sauce/broth

  • 48 cups of Water (depending how brothy you want it)
  • 12 Tbsp Beefless Better Than Bouillon ( 1 tbsp per 4 cups)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Pasilla Chili Pepper, dry
  • 6 Guajillo Chili Peppers, dry
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 3 peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Bay Leaves

Instructions

Hibiscus Flower

  1. Boil 6 cups of water and take about 3 cups of hot water to soak the hibiscus flower in a large bowl. If using jackfruit or other meat substitutes listed above, DO NOT SOAK.
  2. Soak hibiscus in hot water and apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Jackfruit/Mushrooms

  1. Place the dried chilies in a bowl. Boil 6 cups of water, take 2 cups of boiling hot water, and pour over the dried chilies. Soak for 15 minutes. Turn the boiling water off and save the rest of the water for the birria broth.
  2. If using mushrooms, use a fork to shred them and saute in a pan with about 2 tbsp of oil, garlic/onion powder, and soy sauce/liquid aminos/tamari/salsa Maggi until golden brown. Do the same for jackfruit but avoid shredding until after it has been pan-fried. Once golden, use tongs to shred the jackfruit.
  3. Once chili peppers have softened and turned red, add to a blender along with the bouillon, cloves of garlic, peppercorns, onion, and about 1 cup of water to soak the chilies.
  4. Hibiscus should be ready to drain and rinse at this point. Rinse it until the water runs clear instead of red. Shred the hibiscus into smaller pieces to represent “shredded beef” with your hands. Add hibiscus flowers to the pot.
  5. Strain your chili sauce using a fine mesh strainer (optional), add chili sauce back into the pot along with bay leaves, salt, jackfruit/hibiscus/mushrooms, and simmer for another about 10-15  minutes. The longer you simmer it, the better the flavors will get.
  6. At this point taste your birria and add salt/pepper as needed.
  7. Serve with Mexican rice, and beans, and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Mexican
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Mexican

6 thoughts on “Vegan Birria

  1. Chi says:

    Thank you so much for their recipe! I was a little confused with the hibiscus/jackfruit wording bc i ended up soaking my jackfruit for 15 mins too which made it hard to shred, if you’re using jackfruit i would recommend just shredding it first then soaking it if it’s a little tough 🙂 Additionally i think the flavor of better than boullion i got had a barbecue flavor to it, which didn’t quite work with the vibes haha so I added tomato paste to balance out the strong barbecue flavor and it worked wonders!! The dish came out sooooo amazing with this recipe and i used in on top food some homemade vegan chimichangas with a side of sour cream and salad and it tasted amazing! This blog is a holy grail of vegetarian mexican recipes and im so glad that I came across it :))






    • Anna Rios says:

      Thank you for the feedback! I will edit the wording to make it more clear. SO glad you enjoyed it still and made it work 🙂 those chimichangas sound delicious with the sour cream and this sauce!

    • Ann says:

      My birria came out way too salty. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of better than bouillon. Are you sure it’s not supposed to be 3 teaspoons? I have a feeling that’s where the mishap was.

      I followed the recipe to the T- nothing was modified whatsoever. I only used hibiscus, not the mushrooms or jackfruit.

      • Anna Rios says:

        Hi Ann, I’m sorry that your birria came out too salty! I’ve made this recipe countless times and it has never been too salty. Did you taste as you go? Did you add salt as well as better than bouillon? Also which better than bouillon flavor was it? Better than bouillon is usually not too salty – I don’t usually consider my palate to be on the salty side. However, everyone’s palate is different! Please let me know so I can help adjust the recipe if needed 🙂

        I hope you were able to save it maybe by adding a bit more water and hibiscus. I would also even add some carrots to help with the saltiness and adds flavor too 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know!

        – much love, Anna.

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