“Thai basil pesto? What even is that?” There’s a lot goin’ on here, we know. To find the explanation you seek, you must calm your mind and let your tastebuds decipher the situation. Ahh yes, this dish combines a myriad of sensory stimulants to create a layered experience that’s filled with soft, chewy, and crunchy textures along with salty, funky, herbal, and earthy flavors. There’s many notable highlights, but none of them outshine the other elements, and the flavors are ambitious, but not so much so that they become unfamiliar.

So… what does that mean in normal people terms? Basically there’s zero percent chance of getting bored while eating these tacos.

Since we’re giving many of the ingredients their own treatment to create defined textures and pronounced flavors, making these tacos requires several different cooking methods, such as searing, deep frying, and pan-frying, but the exquisite layers that form via handling each ingredient separately results in, well, exquisite layers! And that’s always worth it.We hope you guys enjoy these tacos! They’re:

  • Thai-inspired Mexican fusion
  • Chewy, tender, and lightly crunchy
  • Funky, salty, herbal, earthy, and deep
  • Vegan

If you like what your eyes are tasting, then share this recipe with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest at @noeggsorham! For more flame-emoji photos, geeky food talk, and mouth-watering dishes, subscribe to our email list. Tag us in a photo when you create one of our recipes at home so we can share it!

Taco ‘Bout Some Weird Pesto

Thai Pesto Mushroom Tacos with Cheesy Grilled Tortillas, Toasted Sesame Seeds, and Flash Fried Veggies (vegan)

  • Servings: ~4 tacos
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Parmesan cheese is grilled onto soft flour tortillas and topped with lightly fried onions, crispy cabbage, toasted sesame seeds, and seared cremini mushrooms that've been tossed with Thai basil pesto.



  • 2 c (90 g) packed Thai basil leaves*
  • 3 tbsps packed vegan parmesan, shredded
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tbsps vegan butter
  • Salt
  • Thai pesto

Flash-Fried Veggies

  • 1/4 small head of cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 gal refined oil for frying


  • 4 medium-sized flour tortillas (bigger than street tacos, smaller than burritos)
  • Vegan parmesan, shredded*
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  1. Pesto: After picking 90 grams of Thai basil leaves off the stems, rinse them in a colander to remove any dirt, lay out on clean towels or paper towels, and pat completely dry. Excess moisture creates watery pesto (bleh).
  2. Place basil and all other pesto ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Blend on low until a loose paste forms, scraping down the sides once or twice throughout. Cover and place in fridge until ready to use.
  3. Tips: Little bits of basil and sesame are good, so don’t make the paste completely smooth. If necessary, add a touch more olive oil for it to come together. At the end, pour out any excess liquid that’ve formed in the bowl.
  4. Flash-Fried Veggies: Heat refined oil in a large dutch oven until it reaches 350° F. Add in a handful of cabbage, submerge using a spider tool, and cook until it begins to wilt and brown around the edges; 45-60 seconds. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat for onion and remaining cabbage. Keep aside until ready to use.
  5. Mushrooms: Heat a medium-large sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add in butter, mushrooms, and a medium pinch of salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned and subtly reduced in size; about 5 minutes.
  6. Add in enough pesto to thoroughly coat the mushrooms and cook for another minute, just to warm up the pesto. Reduce heat to low, clamp on a lid, and store for up to 15 minutes, until you’re ready to assemble.
  7. Cheesy Tortillas: This is the part where we melt parmesan right onto our tortillas, aka the tricky part. To do this, find out how much cheese it takes to line the middle of your tortillas.
  8. Heat a small/medium nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, place said amount of cheese directly onto the pan in a line about the length of your tortilla and place your tortilla right on top of that. Cook until cheese is melted—about 1 minute—flip, and cook for 30 seconds on second side. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
  9. Note: If you don’t trust the integrity of your nonstick pan, add a touch of oil to the pan and wipe it off using a paper towel to give a slick surface. If you go to flip the tortilla but the cheese is still stuck to the pan, let it cook for a few more seconds before trying again.
  10. Assembling: Top cheesy tortillas with Thai pesto mushrooms, flash-fried veggies, toasted sesame seeds, and extra parmesan. Enjoy while fresh!

*Thai basil can be found in the produce/herb section of most Asian grocery stores.

*The only vegan parmesan brands we know of that work for this application are VioLife and Follow Your Heart.

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