Smoky Mushroom and Aubergine (Eggplant) Tacos


Smoky Mushroom and Aubergine Tacos

These tacos are ridiculously tasty, so smoky and surprisingly meaty given that they’re 100% vegan. The meatiness comes from the king oyster mushrooms which, when shredded, have the most incredible texture. The smokiness comes from the charred aubergines, which add so much depth of flavour. Every taco needs toppings. I’ve gone with crispy cumin onions and homemade pickled jalapeño salsa, but feel free to top these tacos with whatever you’d like!

  • Author: zenak
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x



For the pickled jalapeño salsa (optional): 

  • 60g pickled jalapeño
  • 60ml pickled jalapeño brine
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • ¼ onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 limes, juice only

For the crispy cumin onions: 

  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour (or cornflour for a GF option)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • vegetable oil, for frying

For the tacos: 

  • 2 aubergines
  • olive oil
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 300g king oyster mushrooms, shredded
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 350ml water
  • 1 avocado
  • 12 soft taco shells (flour or corn)


  1. We’re going to take things in reverse and start by making the taco toppings. If making the pickled jalapeño salsa, place all the ingredients in a food processor with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and blitz until finely chopped.
  2. Onto the crispy cumin onions. Heat around 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, place the sliced onion in a bowl with the flour, ground cumin and a good pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add the onions to the hot oil and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, then drain on some kitchen towel. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Onto the taco filling. Place the aubergines directly over a gas burner set to high. Cook, turning frequently, until completely blackened and collapsing, around 10 minutes. If you don’t have a gas stove, pierce the aubergines all over with a small knife and rub with vegetable oil. Roast at 220°C / 200°C fan for 45 minutes, or until completely softened, turning once halfway through. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the burnt skins. Pull the aubergine flesh with two forks and set aside.
  5. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large sauté pan set over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until softened, then add the garlic and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute.
  6. Add the pulled king oyster mushrooms and aubergine flesh and season very generously with salt and pepper. Add the chipotle paste, ground cumin and smoked paprika and stir fry for 1 minute, then add the water and stir to combine.
  7. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and the filling is thick and jammy in texture, around 10 minutes.
  8. Slice the avocado and set a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Toast your taco tortillas for 20 seconds-ish per side then transfer to a clean tea towel and cover.
  9. Assembly time, finally! Get a dollop of the taco filling onto the tortilla. Top with a couple of avocado slices, a spoonful of salsa and finish with the crispy onions. Tuck in and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram, tagging @zenaskitchen. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

  • FJ
    Posted at 17:19h, 17 January Reply

    SUCH a delicious alternative to jackfruit as pulled pork replacement. Went down a treat

    • zenak
      Posted at 11:08h, 18 March Reply

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Andrea A
    Posted at 23:36h, 21 January Reply

    Can I use regular mushrooms? I can’t find king oyster.

    • zenak
      Posted at 11:08h, 18 March Reply

      Yes, absolutely. They won’t shred but you can thinly slice them and it’ll still be delicious 🙂

  • Nick Ball
    Posted at 12:57h, 05 February Reply

    Delicious recipe! Sunday Dinner done right!! very much a labour of love; but very simple to follow the steps above and came out very well and definitely worth it!

    • zenak
      Posted at 11:01h, 18 March Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It certainly is a labour of love but I’m so glad you agree that it pays off 🙂

  • Judith
    Posted at 18:01h, 15 May Reply

    Such an epic recipe! Amazing flavour and a real crowd pleaser. Even more impressive that it’s vegan! I made double the amount of the cumin onions because I love them so much.

    • zenak
      Posted at 07:43h, 29 May Reply

      I’m so, so glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of my personal favourites 🙂

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