Chipotle Tempeh Tacos

I love a good taco night. There’s something delightful about a “DIY” meal, with all of the colorful components laid out to choose from to create The Perfect Taco. What’s “perfect” varies from person to person. Individual assembly preferences are acceptable; if John wants to put the cheese on the tortilla first, instead of on the top like it should be, I can’t say anything. It’s HIS taco. The best part is that tacos are so versatile. You can put anything into a tortilla and have it be delicious, and it doesn’t have to be South-of-the-Border style (like these Thai Chicken Tacos I made in June).


John and I have been cutting out red meat during the week, and it’s been a delicious challenge to create non-boring meatless meals. Lemon shrimp linguine. Homemade black bean burgers. Grilled swordfish with a harvest veggie couscous miracle. A fantastic wild mushroom pizza (recipe coming soon!). And these tacos, made with tempeh.


Like tofu, tempeh is made from soy, but has more texture to it (thanks to whole soy beans). Tempeh comes in little bricks, which you can slice up or crumble it, like I did. For these tacos, I decided to keep it simple and treat the tempeh just like ground beef.

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Similar to tofu, tempeh is relatively bland and needs some doctoring up to be delicious. A few chopped chipotle chiles and some of the adobo sauce would give the tempeh a flavor boost. I also finely chopped some red onion, bell pepper, and garlic to sauté into the taco filling. I peeled and chopped up half of a sweet potato, tossed it in a little olive oil and chile powder, and roasted it. The last filling item was some frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed.

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I started by sautéing the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. I tossed in a handful of cumin before adding the tempeh crumbles, the chopped chipotle peppers, and a couple of spoonfuls of adobo sauce. After the tempeh had some time to absorb some of the flavor, I added the corn and roasted sweet potatoes. I added a little garlic salt and stirred it while it continued to heat up. Before serving, I added some chopped cilantro for color. Taco time!

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Our toppings were few but important: halved cherry tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, shredded cheese, and lime wedges. I charred taco-sized flour tortillas on the burner, and a yummy Mexican rice completed the meal.

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The way I assemble tacos: filling, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeno, squeeze of lime. John contends that putting the cheese below the filling helps it melt more. Either way, these tacos were filling and scrumptious. The tempeh texture was not far off from ground beef or turkey, and the chipotle and cumin warmed up the flavor. The sweet potato and corn balanced out the spice from the chipotle and added a necessary texture difference. If I didn’t tell you, you’d never know this was a meat-free meal! You should probably go ahead and make them for Meatless Monday.

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Confession: I made too much taco filling for the two of us. One brick would have been sufficient. But the tempeh is delicious the next day- we made tempeh nachos for dinner the next night.


Chipotle Tempeh Tacos

You’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 8 ounce packages of tempeh
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (reserve sauce)
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ sweet potato, peeled, chopped and roasted
  • ½ cup frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Taco tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice (cheese, tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno, lime, etc.)

Crumble the tempeh into a bowl. Swirl some olive oil in a pan on the stove at medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and stir. Add the crumbled tempeh, the chopped chipotle peppers, and two spoonfuls of the adobo sauce. Saute for at least five minutes, stirring often. Add corn, sweet potato, and cilantro and cook until warmed through. Serve with charred tortillas and toppings of your choice. Cheers to Meatless Monday! Yum.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.

My Pinterest inspiration.

One year ago: Blackberry cinnamon oat bars.



      1. Here’s a challenge for you. Try finding new ways to eat without dairy (butter, cream, whey, milk, cheese, etc.), the OTHER red meat. You might not use the word “fun” to describe your journey!

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