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Three vegan tempeh tacos topped with pickled onion, cashew crema and hot sauce on a plate.

Vegan Tempeh Tacos

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan


These tempeh tacos are super easy to make and have a hearty, meaty texture and are super flavourful for a delicious meatless taco option!


For the Tempeh Tacos

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil
  • 225 g (8-ounce ) package tempeh, crumbled into bits
  • 1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces (1 cup/110 g)
  • 1 bell pepper (or poblano), cut into ¼-inch pieces (1 cup/125 g)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste (58 g)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (7 g)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp tamari or low-sodium sauce (15 ml)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 46-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped 

Quick Pickled Radish or Red Onions

  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced, or 810 radishes, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Garlic-Lime Cashew Cream

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in boiled water for 1 hour (72 g)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt


  1. For the Pickled Radish or Onion (Optional): Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar together in a glass jar. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the onion or radish, mix and set aside to pickle for 30 minutes. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
  2. For the Garlic Lime Cashew Cream (Optional): Cover the cashews in boiled water in a bowl and soak for 30-60 minutes. Drain then blend with the rest of the ingredients, starting with 1/4 cup water, scrapping down the sides and adding more water as needed. This is best done in a small or single-serve blender container or mini food processor as the volume is too small for a large blender
  3. Cook Tempeh, Onion & Pepper: In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the tempeh, onions and peppers.  Season with salt.  Cook for 6-8 mins, stirring occasionally, until browned all over.  
  4. Add Seasonings: Add tomato paste, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Cook for 3-4 mins, stirring constantly, until toasted and dark red in colour. If it begins to burn at this stage, reduce heat a bit and add 1-2 tbsp water.
  5. Add Water & Reduce: Add ¾ cup water. Cook for another 2-4 min, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until mixture is reduced and thickened. Stir in the tamari.  Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  6. Serve: Warm the tortillas in a pan or in the oven, if desired, then divide the tempeh mixture between the warm tortillas and top with desired toppings. If you’re not making the cashew cream and pickled onions, the tempeh mixture is delicious on it’s own or with simple toppings like black beans, shredded lettuce or cabbage, tomato, onion, hot sauce or whatever else you enjoy on tacos.


See post above for alternative sauce recipes. Nutrition facts include the tempeh taco meat and tortillas.


  • Serving Size: 2 tacos
  • Calories: 237
  • Sugar: 4.3g
  • Sodium: 924 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 8 g