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Vegan tempeh tacos on white plates.

Tempeh Taco “Meat”

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Vegan


Tempeh tacos are an uncomplicated and delicious way to start experimenting with this plant-based protein.


  • One 8-ounce package tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red or yellow onion (or 1/2 medium), finely diced
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder* (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • For serving: corn tortillas, shredded romaine lettuce, pico de gallo or salsa, and guacamole


  1. Using your hands, crumble the tempeh into small bits roughly the size of chickpeas.
  2. Place in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 cup water. Simmer until all the water has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, the onion, and pinches of salt and pepper. Cook until the tempeh is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Then add 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon each chili powder and ground cumin, and cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly with a lid, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  5. To serve, divide the filling among tortillas, and top with lettuce, pico de gallo, and guacamole.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. The tempeh filling is also great for tostadas, burritos, and burrito bowls.


  • If chili powder is too hot for you, sub with smoked paprika.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe (just the tempeh)
  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 13.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 11.5 g