Vegetarian Tempeh Tacos

Vegan tempeh tacos

Sheri Giblin / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
133 Calories
10g Fat
7g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 133
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 245mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 6g
Calcium 61mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

For a vegetarian option to traditional ground beef tacos, try tacos made with tempeh. This Indonesian soybean product provides ample protein for vegetarian eaters, and the fermented properties of the soy-based cake help you maintain a healthy gut. Prepare tempeh tacos as you would the meat-filled version, using your favorite blend of taco seasoning and taco fillings like shredded iceberg lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, and sour cream. Or keep it vegan and sub guacamole for extra flavor, instead of cheese and sour cream. Vegetarian tempeh tacos make a quick and easy weeknight dinner idea (or weekend "brinner") that the whole family will enjoy.

The following recipe can be made gluten-free, as well, for those with food sensitivities. First, make sure you're using gluten-free tempeh (some brands add grains in the processing, so read the label carefully). Also, swap out the soy sauce for a gluten-free substitute like tamari or Bragg's Liquid Aminos. Finally, make sure to use corn tortillas (hard or soft) or another grain-free alternative like those made with almond flour, bean flour, or cassava root. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (diced)
  • 1 package tempeh (sliced into 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 package taco shells (or corn or flour tortillas)
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 avocado (pitted, peeled, and sliced)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • Jalapeno pepper slices (optional)

Steps to Make It

 Preparing the Filling

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

  2. Combine the chili powder, cumin, and pepper in a bowl. Mix to incorporate.

  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft.

  4. Add the cubed tempeh, the soy sauce, and the spices. Allow the mixture to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the pan becomes dry, add 1 tablespoon oil or a splash of water.

  5. When the tempeh is lightly browned, remove the pan from heat and stir in the cilantro.

Filling the Tacos

  1. Fill each taco shell or tortilla 1/4 full with the cooked tempeh mixture.

  2.  Top each taco with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, a sprinkle of cheese, salsa, sliced avocado, jalapeno peppers (if using), and a dollop of sour cream to your liking. 

  3. Serve and enjoy


  • If you're not eating vegan, substitute the traditional crumbly Mexican cotija or queso fresco cheese for the cheddar cheese.
  • For a truly authentic dish, serve with pickled carrots, banana peppers, and pickled watermelon.