Eggplant Carnitas Tacos

This has quickly become one of my new favorite dishes, so quick and easy to simply grate up an eggplant, add some taco seasonings, and fry it up for a few minutes.  Unlike store bought meat substitutes that may contain soy, wheat, or high amounts of fat, this recipe is all natural vegetables and only contains 1 teaspoon of oil per serving.  It really is amazing how much it looks and tastes like meat, since the eggplant mimics the texture and the spices add all the flavor.

This recipe for carnitas can substitute in any dish that calls for taco meat.  It’s great over nachos, in a burrito or a taco salad.  You could even get creative and invent a 7-layer dip or mexican casserole, the possibilities are endless!  I kept it simple here and served it in corn tortillas with just some diced red onion, cilantro, and a lemon wedge on the side.


Eggplant Carnitas
1 large chinese eggplant (about 1/2 a pound)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Coarsely grate the eggplant, you can use any variety but I like to use chinese eggplant because they are smaller, easier to grate, and less bitter than a large globe eggplant.

Toss the shredded eggplant with all of the seasonings and the olive oil, mix well.

The spices I use are my version of taco seasoning, if you don’t have an extensive spice cabinet you can use 2 tablespoons of store-bought taco seasoning instead, but I recommend making your own because store bought varieties are often much too high in sodium.

Heat up a frying pan over high heat and toss the mixture in.  Cook on high for at least 5-10 minutes, mixing every minute or so.  Sometimes I like to cook it longer until it’s more crispy, but it’s fine soft too.  Since it isn’t meat you don’t have to worry about reaching a maximum temperature, keep tasting it and cook it to your liking!

Serve right away or pack up for later.  Enjoy!

Yields about 3 servings (6 tacos)


Would go great with:


15 Responses to “Eggplant Carnitas Tacos”
  1. Rose says:

    This is a great idea, I’m going to try this tonight.


  2. Sophie says:

    omg come to meeee tacos. need to make some of these now.

  3. t says:

    Woah, what an awesomely weird idea! I would never think of shredding eggplant. Can’t wait to try!

  4. Stella says:

    This is sheer genius. I absolutely cannot wait to try it.

  5. Oh man! What a brilliant idea! I have been eating eggplant like crazy lately, but this is such an ingenious way to use it. You really cannot go wrong with some delicious tacos, and I definitely prefer to use nice fresh veggies instead of a processed meat replacement. Thank you for this idea and for sharing such gorgeous photos.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness. This looks amazing.

  7. lexi says:

    I had a veggie friend come over for dinner lastnight and made these. They were outstanding! I am going to do a blog on my leftover night this week (I just started blogging) And was wondering if I could list this as one of them with a link to your site. The only reason I ask is the rest of my meal will contain meat so I wanted to double check first!
    Great Recipe!

  8. Donna says:

    OMG…this looks great and is such a wonderful idea! Can’t wait to make it! Thank you.

  9. Jess says:

    Made this tonight and loved it! I’d never thought of eggplant that way, but now I know I’ll never go back. I cubed mine instead of shredding, b/c it was a little old and tough. Also, b/c it was old and therefore more bitter, I salted it and let it drain before cooking. But I did the spices and cooked it according to recipe, and it turned out just great. Thanks so much for this wonderful idea!


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