Setas (Mushroom) Tacos

If it looks like I’ve lost my mind and started cooking with some kind of thinly-sliced beef, don’t be alarmed…

Last year at a restaurant in Las Vegas, I ordered something called “setas tacos” which the waiter confirmed were vegan. As I was sipping a delicious pot of Ooling tea, my plate arrived and I was sure there had been a mistake: I was looking down at a corn tortilla piled high with slices of some kind of animal, for sure. Horrified, I picked through the thin brown slices and realized that they were, in fact, mushrooms! I built up the courage to taste one – it was chewy, juicy, salty, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. Over a year later, I still remember the taste of those mushrooms on that taco.

I was so inspired by this dish that I immediately went home and spent the next 3 months trying variation after variation to copy these magical little tacos. After much trial and error, I finally came up with a very close recreation that I’d love to share with you.

Setas Tacos

Makes 4 tacos


  • 24 oz white button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro – chopped

Step One – Prepare the Mushrooms

This is the most time consuming step and it is 1000x easier with a mandolin. You can slice them by hand, but you’ll be working all day. It is absolutely crucial to slice the mushrooms paper thin (see the picture above). If they’re too thick, you won’t get the right caramelization and the final product won’t be nearly as decadent.

The crazy part about this step is the sheer volume of mushrooms you’ll be working with. They cook down so much that it requires probably about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms to make just 1 taco. If you notice that huge pile of mushrooms in the last picture above, that’s barely enough for two tacos. Rule of thumb: when you think you have enough mushrooms, quadruple it.

Step Two – Caramelize the Mushrooms

Heat a very large skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of water and vegetable oil. I don’t often cook with oils, but this recipe absolutely requires it. Toss all the mushrooms into the pan. At first, it will seem like an absurd amount of mushrooms, but they’ll cook down in about 5 minutes (first picture above).

Allow the mushrooms to cook mostly undisturbed for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them as single-file as possible. When they just start browning, add the two tablespoons of soy sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne and let cook for another 5 minutes until the liquid burns off. When they become dark brown and just on the border between juicy and crispy, they’re done – remove from the heat.

Step Three – Plate

Warm the corn tortillas and spread with mashed avocado. Top with the mushrooms and chopped cilantro. Squeeze lime over the top and enjoy!



Leave a Reply
  1. Oooh, just made these for dinner and they were absolutely delicious. Scarfed down the whole lot with some spicy guac. Yes, there was some swearing during the mushroom prep stage, but these were well worth it and we still had dinner on the table within half an hour. Major plus.

    Please keep the yummy recipes flowing. 🙂

    • Hey Lisa! Thanks for the feedback. Yes, swearing during mushroom prep is to be expected :). I’m so impressed that you had the whole thing done in 30 minutes – it usually takes me longer than that.

    • The short answer is “yes” you definitely can, BUT I do prefer more neutral-tasting mushrooms. If you try to make this with woody, deep-flavored, exotic mushrooms (like shiitakes or other Japanese varieties), the flavors might be too strong and they’re much more expensive. But yes! Any mushrooms you like should work well.

  2. This is a REALLY tasty recipe, but I will start making it in the summer outside. I don’t have an exhaust fan in the kitchen and I about gassed myself and everyone else in the house when I put the cayenne in and continued to cook!

One Ping

  1. Pingback:Fancy Mushroom and Smashed Avocado Tacos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tarahumara Pinole Energy Bars

How to Cook Tofu