Tempeh Tacos – or – How to Be a Vegan

tempeh tacos / a thousand threads
If there’s one thing I really, really hate, it’s healthy food that tastes healthy. So let me just assure you… these tacos do not taste healthy at all. And if you haven’t tried cooking with tempeh (or you don’t even know what this crazy stuff is) this is a really good place to start… tempeh is like tofu’s way cooler cousin, and if there’s one recipe that makes me feel like I could… conceivably, in an alternate universe where cheese doesn’t exist… go vegan, it’s this one.  (Although Mark makes a pretty killer vegan rice pudding… that’s right up there.)

Of course we already know that I’m a terrible vegetarian, so vegan is probably out.  But lately, because we’re on the hunt for what has been making my stomach crazy for the past year, Mark and I have been making an effort to go dairy and (mostly) gluten free… and I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed the culprit down to dairy… although I’m still weighing the ups and downs of closing my eyes and covering my ears and pretending it’s all a big mistake.  Cheese and I go way back…

tempeh tacos / a thousand threads
And I’m also a pretty big fan of milk…

In fact behind carbs, dairy is by far my favorite food group.

If all of this goes on, it might not be long before you find me curled up in the corner clutching a wheel of brie, eyes glazed over, mumbling incoherently about lactose…

Maybe you can coax me back to reality with one of these tacos.

tempeh tacos / a thousand threadstempeh tacos / a thousand threads
Tempeh Tacos

8 corn tortillas
1 package tempeh, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
dash salt
2 1/2 limes
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
handful of fresh cilantro
1 avocado
1/2 white onion

Mix tempeh and salsa and marinate in the fridge for around 2 hours to allow the tempeh to absorb flavor. ​After putting tempeh mixture in the fridge, combine shredded red cabbage, vinegar, olive oil, salt, chipotle powder and the juice of 1/2 a lime in a container and allow to marinate in a separate bowl, also in the fridge.

Once your ​t​empeh and cabbage have had time to set, preheat the oven to 375 degrees​ and chop your onion and cilantro. Place the tempeh on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp.

While tempeh is baking​,​ cut your avocado in slices and begin to pan toast your corn tortillas (don’t skip toasting your tortillas… they’re just not the same) stacking them in aluminum foil to keep them warm. Once the tempeh is done pull from the oven and build the taco bottom up​,​ starting with the tempeh, then ​avocado, cabbage, onion,​and ​cilantro and finishing with a big squeeze of lime (also essential to any good taco).

tempeh tacos / a thousand threads


  1. Posted June 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    yum! can’t wait to try it out!

  2. Posted June 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    My mouth is WATERING! John and I had planned to do potato tacos tonight, but I’m going to be looking for tempeh!

  3. Posted June 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    why didn’t i ever think of marinating tempeh?! definitely looking forward to trying this recipe out! tx!!

    • Laicie
      Posted June 5, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      It’s the best!! Let me know if you do. 🙂

  4. Posted June 5, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    They look delicious! I had never heard of tempeh.

    • Laicie
      Posted June 6, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I hadn’t either until recently!! It’s the best though… my new favorite meat alternative. You can marinate and bake it in anything and it tastes delicious — we even do a wedge salad with it sprinkled on top and the recipe makes it taste just like bacon!

  5. Posted June 6, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The word Tempeh caught my eye! I’m Malay, and the word originates from the language I speak, hence I was curious about the recipe. What a way to blend east and west! Something I gotta try! 😀

  6. Posted June 8, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Looking good. We produced Betsy’s Tempeh in Mich. for 9 1/2 years and developed a new process for making it. We now have a patent on a tempeh incubator that would be useful for restaurants or small shops making artisan tempeh for the local markets. Feel free to write with any questions. Betsy Shipley

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  • […] any day of the week. We go back to our little list regularly, for things like baked salmon and tempeh tacos, and this week, we added a new recipe that’s bound for heavy rotation, especially as long as […]

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