Put the rice in a medium sized pot and fill it with water, make sure you have plenty of water so that when you add the chickpeas it will cover them.
Partially cover and bring to a boil (about 7-8 minutes, depending on stove top).
Turn the heat down to medium and cook partially covered an additional 10 minutes (should be about 17-18 minutes total rice cooking time). The texture of the rice should be just beginning to get chewy, not hard but not fully cooked.
Add the soaked chickpeas and cook an additional 8 minutes.
Drain and rinse and immediately put the mixture in a food processor. Make sure you have drained it well so there isn’t any residual water in the food processor.
Add the taco seasoning into the food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Adding the taco seasoning in right away when the mixture is hot, allows the flavors to meld together well.
While the rice and beans are boiling, you can cook the onion in a separate pan, or you can wait until they are done cooking and use the same pot to cook the onion in.
Saute the chopped onion with salt and veggie broth over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, until it is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Transfer onion mixture into the food processor.
Pulse until you get a nice crumble. Add breadcrumbs and pulse 2-3 more times to incorporate.
Put into a bowl, give it a good mix and allow it to settle in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This helps the flavors and texture fully develop. If you are eating it that day, you can also let it settle on the countertop so that you don’t have to reheat it.
For easy oven baked crispy tacos:
Fill hard tortilla shells with a little bit of the taco meat, top with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese sauce, if using. Then cover with more taco meat. This helps the cheese sauce stay away from the taco shell so the shell does not become soggy when baking.
Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 12-15 minutes or until the shells begin to brown.
Allow to cool 5 minutes, then add your favorite toppings and dig in!
For traditional tacos:
Bake tacos according to package directions, make your own crispy taco shells or use soft corn tortillas.
Fill the tortillas with taco meat, top with cheese sauce and any of your other favorite toppings and enjoy!
The hardest part about making this recipe is remembering to soak the chickpeas the night before. If you forget, you can easily get away with soaking them for 4 hours in a pinch and be fine. You can also boil them prior to cooking them with the rice.
This recipe makes about 3 cups taco meat. Nutrition is for the taco meat portion of the recipe only, and accounts for 1/2 cup. Values will change depending on what tortillas and toppings you use.
If you plan to make this ahead of time and eat it over the course of a few days, you may need to add a bit more broth so that it doesn't dry up. You can always warm it up with a touch of broth as well.
Make sure you use short grain brown rice and not long grain. The short grain rice helps gives this a meaty chewy texture.
Adjust the salt for the ingredients you use. My homemade taco seasoning does not have added salt. I also use low sodium veggie broth.
The toppings are all optional and just ideas. I highly recommend the cheese sauce recipe paired with this taco meat. I also love topping my tacos with guacamole, shredded lettuce, fresh tomato and red onion and pickled jalapeno slices. Mix and match and create your own favorite loaded taco!
See post for the lentil/walnut version of taco meat.
Tips to prep ahead:
Cook rice and beans
Make taco seasoning if not buying
Baby/toddler food idea:
Serve as a taco bowl or as a burrito with grilled seam to close for easy eating.