Portobello Mushroom Tacos with Cashew Queso

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published March 12, 2023

Taco night could not be any better with these lettuce wrapped tacos.

These tacos are a perfect choice for anyone looking for a meatless alternative that is still packed with flavor and texture. The star of this dish is the Portobello mushroom, which has a meaty texture and a rich umami flavor. These mushrooms are blended with spices that will have your taste buds dancing. And to top it off, we'll be making a creamy Cashew Queso that is sure to impress even the most skeptical of cheese lovers.

The Nutritional Power of the Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet. These mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals. They have a glycemic index of 15, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, and a glycemic load of 0.5, making them a diabetes-friendly food option. 

Portobello mushrooms are rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, copper, potassium, and selenium. They also contain antioxidants such as ergothioneine and glutathione, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. Overall, adding Portobello mushrooms to your diet can provide numerous nutritional benefits while also being a flavorful and versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes.

The Versatility of the Portobello

Portobello mushrooms are an incredibly versatile ingredient in plant-based recipes. They have a meaty texture and a rich umami flavor, making them a popular substitute for meat in many dishes. Portobello mushrooms can be grilled, roasted, sautéed, or even used raw in salads. They can be used as a burger patty, sliced and added to sandwiches, or as a filling in tacos, burritos, or any type of chili

Portobello mushrooms can also be stuffed with various fillings such as spinach or breadcrumbs, making for an elegant and satisfying appetizer or main course. Additionally, they can be used as a meat substitute in pasta dishes, stir-fries, and even as a topping for plant-based pizza. Overall, the versatility of Portobello mushrooms makes them an essential ingredient in plant-based cooking, providing a delicious and nutritious alternative to meat.

Shopping and Storage of Portobello Mushrooms

When shopping for Portobello mushrooms, it's essential to select ones that are fresh, firm, and dry. Look for mushrooms that have smooth, unblemished caps and clean, dry stems. Avoid mushrooms that are slimy or have a musty smell, as these are signs of spoilage. 

To store Portobello mushrooms, wrap them in paper towels and place them in a paper bag. Avoid storing them in plastic as this can promote moisture and spoilage. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Before using, gently wipe them with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt or debris. You can also remove the stem and gills if desired. 

When cooking Portobello mushrooms, it's best to avoid overcooking them as this can cause them to become tough and rubbery. Instead, cook them briefly over high heat or grill them to bring out their natural flavors and textures.

Carrots are King

Carrots are a highly nutritious vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have a glycemic index of 41 and a glycemic load of 2, which means they have a low impact on blood sugar levels, making them a diabetes-friendly food option. 

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing over 100% of the recommended daily intake in just one medium-sized carrot. They are also rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. 

Additionally, carrots contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can help protect the body against free radical damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The high fiber content in carrots also promotes digestive health by aiding in the absorption of nutrients and regulating bowel movements. 

Overall, incorporating carrots into your diet can provide numerous nutritional benefits, making them an essential addition to any healthy meal plan.

Portobello Mushroom Tacos with Cashew Queso

Beverly Verwey
Calories 479 kcal


Mushroom Marinade

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp low-sodium worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 lime's juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps stems and gills removed, sliced

Queso Sauce

  • 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 large potato peeled, cooked and rough chopped
  • 1 tbsp raw cashew
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1-2 tbsp low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 cup carrots grated

Taco Filling

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 each red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cup black beans
  • 4 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 cups carrots grated and divided
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce chopped


  • Cook the potato and set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl soak the raw cashew in ¼ cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
  • To make the marinade, in a bowl combine the garlic, soy sauce, liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, mustard, chili powder, cumin, lime juice, and ¼ cup of vegetable broth. Add the sliced mushrooms and carefully turn over the mushrooms to coat, cover and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • To make the queso, put the cooled potatoes, garlic, nutritional yeast, the soaked cashew plus water used for soaking, chili powder, cumin, sriracha sauce and 1 cup of grated carrots in a small blender container and blend until smooth. Add water or more vegetable broth as needed to attain the desired consistency.
  • In a large pan heat ¼ cup of vegetable broth and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, beans and marinated mushrooms along with a little bit of the marinade (add more if you wish) and continue to cook for another 5 to 8 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the mushrooms are cooked.
  • With the two large lettuce leaves on each plate, divide the mushroom mixture. Top mixture with chopped lettuce, grated carrots, and the Queso sauce. Fold the lettuce leaves and eat!


If you wish, add extra toppings such as a sprinkle of vegan cheese, other vegetables such as spinach, radishes, etc.


Calories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 68.9gProtein: 24.5gFat: 4.4gSodium: 467.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.