Vegan tacos using fermented red onions

Tacos, Two Ways (with Fermented Onions)

Integrating ferments into our meals doesn’t have to be difficult. Some of the easiest ways we can use ferments is as sawsawan (here’s a roundup of fermented condiments) and as a side dish, or as one fellow omni mom who had our kimchi tells me, it’s a “quick veggie dose if nobody made the effort to cook veggies.” You can also throw it into versatile dishes that you usually just toss together, in salad, a sandwich, or my preferred option, into tacos.

Fermented red onions is a great addition to the popular Mexican street food, the taco. While pickled red onions has a more sour taste (because of the use of vinegar), fermented red onions still delivers the acidity. If you find it salty, you can rinse the fermented onions in a sieve. Whether pickled or fermented, both provide a bright flavor to your tacos with the fermented onions “enhancing the nutrition profile of food.”

Build your tacos

Tacos are a very versatile food. The more traditional and popular ones like Al Pastor, Carne Asada, and Birria, are often laden with meat, and often only have a smattering of cilantro, onions, avocado, or pineapple. But the beauty of a taco (like a sandwich) is that it can have a variety of fillings, toppings, and sauces.

For our two tacos where we used fermented red onions as one of the toppings, we filled one with mushroom adobo and the other with shredded bulgogi tofu. If you’ve tried some of our other recipes, you can also use shredded adobo tempeh sa gata or lentil crumble. We have some suggestions for the veg you can add, but feel free to add some of your favorites as well.


Mushroom adobo

This is one of my go-to dishes for mushrooms.

  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced in chunks
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar

Bulgogi tofu

A tweaked take on Foodie Takes Flight‘s Shredded Tofu Bulgogi. I have always loved it as a rice bowl topping with veg, and thought it would also work in a taco.  

  • Shredded extra firm tofu or tokwa (from two small blocks)
  • For the bulgogi sauce:
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp hot water
  • Gochugaru or kimchi paste (optional)
  • 12 Soft and hard taco shells
  • Fermented red onions
  • Green chilies, sliced
  • ½ Red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced thinly
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced or tomatoes, diced

For the sauce, you can use sour cream, garlicky mayo-style dip, and a simple fermented hot sauce.


For Mushroom adobo

  1. Season the mushroom with black pepper. Then in a skillet, over medium high heat, add oil and mushroom. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Wait for it to boil before stirring.
  4. Add water, sugar, and bay leaf. Stir and lower the heat.
  5. Cover and simmer for around 15 minutes or until mushrooms have absorbed most of the liquid. Set aside

For Bulgogi tofu

  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Using a cheese or box grater, shred the tofu and spread it out on a lined baking tray. Bake the tofu for 25 minutes.
  3. While tofu is in the oven, mix all the ingredients for the sauce.
  4. Once shredded tofu is done, toss it into the sauce.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Assemble the tacos

Toast a soft tortilla, scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of shredded bulgogi tofu. Top with red cabbage tossed in vegan mayo, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, fermented red onions, and some hot sauce.

For your mushroom adobo tacos, scoop 2 to 3 tablesppons on hard taco shells. Add some sliced chilies, tomato salsa and sliced red cabbage.

One thought on “Tacos, Two Ways (with Fermented Onions)

Leave a Reply