If we’re being totally honest, I think we’ve eaten Mexican food every single for the past week. Once the house is stocked with limes, cilantro, and avocado… it’s hard to convince me to eat anything else. So we’ve had everything from this spicy Mexican street corn salad to these black bean enchiladas. Alex and I both enjoy Mexican food, so neither of us will complain if it’s on repeat. Lately, we’ve been hooked on tempeh tacos.


What is tempeh

If you’re not familiar with tempeh, it’s a soy-based product, sort of like tofu but with a different texture. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own but it does a great job of absorbing flavor and sauces. Personally, I think the texture of tempeh is much better than tofu. It’s hearty, chewy, and is a great vegetarian substitute for meat. Plus a 3oz serving of tempeh has 15g of protein and only 170 calories.

how to make vegan bacon

If you’re looking for a basic way to prepare tempeh, my vegan tempeh “bacon” recipe is my favorite!

Where to buy tempeh

You can usually find it in the natural food section of the grocery store, near the tofu. My personal favorite brand is Lightlife Three Grain Tempeh because I think it has the best texture. You can also find it at Trader Joe’s!


How to prepare tempeh

I usually follow this recipe to prepare tempeh which is similar to the recipe for these tacos. Tempeh is best when marinated before cooking, but if you forget to marinate in advance it’s ok! Either way, these tacos will be delicious.

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Vegan Tempeh Tacos

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


This makes 6 tacos which could easily serve 2 hungry people.


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (you can leave this out if you can’t find it, but it adds a great smoky flavor)
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 taco shells (flour or corn)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • Salsa, cabbage, cilantro, cheese, etc. (optional toppings)


  1. Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke in a shallow dish.
  2. Slice the tempeh into 1/2″ slices and spread in a single layer into the sauce and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes. If you can marinate it overnight or for a few hours, that’s even better.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tempeh to the pan in a single layer.
  5. Cook for 8 minutes or until it begins to brown, then flip over and continue cooking.
  6. You want both sides to be a little bit charred.
  7. While the tempeh cooks, dice the avocado and heat up the black beans.
  8. Once the tempeh is done, assemble your tacos and add any toppings you like.
  9. Serve immediately.

Keywords: tempeh tacos

tempeh tacos

Alex added a little sharp cheddar on top of his tempeh tacos. I kept mine vegan and just added a little extra salsa. The cabbage adds a nice crunch but you can skip it if you don’t have any. Also, I know you might not already have liquid smoke in your pantry, but you can usually find it near the barbecue sauce and it is so good. I love adding a little bit in a pot of chili for that earthy, smokey flavor. It’s definitely worth finding!

This made enough tacos for both of us, with just a little bit of tempeh left over. If you added in a side dish, you could feed three. The best part is that the tempeh really keeps you full! These might be my new favorite tacos.

Need the perfect side dish for these tempeh tacos?

Try this spicy Mexican street corn salad!

These vegan tempeh tacos are perfect for taco Tuesday! Tempeh is full of vegetarian protein and these tacos will satisfy vegans and meat eaters alike!

What’s your favorite taco topping?