Monday, March 4, 2013

Tempeh Tacos with Lime Aioli (Meatless Monday!)

I've only been eating tempeh for a few years now.  I think the first time I had it was when I was convinced to try it in a "Tempeh Sloppy Joe" recipe by a favorite blogger of mine, Mari.  I couldn't believe how different the texture was from tofu.  I mean, tofu doesn't really have much of a texture at all, other than...slimy (but to be fair, tofu isn't slimy once it's cooked. Not convinced? Try it in one of these applications).  Tempeh, on the other hand, it more like meat (which, I sort of like, to be honest).

Tempeh is basically cultured soy bean.  Sounds gross, I know, but it's not.  Did you know that tempeh has about 5 grams of protein in an ounce?  That's almost comparable to actual meat!  Plus, those 5 grams of protein come with about 5-15 mg isoflavones, which are plant nutrients that have many health-promoting effects.  Don't believe me? Read the research (and take note of the research about soy and it's "feminizing effects" for males.  It's just not true!).  Did you know they may also help alleviate hot flashes?!

Tempeh Tacos with Lime Aioli 
Serves: 6 (2 tacos per person)


1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (or regular mayo, if you'd like)
1 lime, zest and juice
1 clove garlic, minced **

1 Tbsp. olive oil
16 ounces tempeh
1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup) **
1 Tbsp. minced garlic **
2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce **
12 flour or corn tortillas**
1 vine-ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced **
1/4th cup chopped cilantro

** NOTE:  If you follow a low-FODMAPs diet, omit or reduce the onion and garlic (and use a garlic-infused olive oil for more garlic flavor).  I used less of both when I made this, and the tacos were still delicious.  Also watch out for onion and garlic in the tomato sauce. If you're really sensitive keep in mind that tempeh does contain some FODMAPs (specifically the "O" in FODMAPs) so only stick to one serving of these tacos per day. I rarely eat tempeh because it can cause me stomach upset, but I seem to be able to handle a little at a time (~3 ounces, or a little under 1/2 cup).  Another issue might be the flour tortillas.  Use gluten (wheat) free if you can.


In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for aioli; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook tempeh, onion and garlic for about 8 minutes until lightly browned; add cumin, chili powder and tomato sauce. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Warm tortillas according to package directions. Place warm tortillas on a large platter and divide tempeh mixture among them. Garnish each taco with tomatoes, red onion and cilantro. Drizzle lime aioli over top of each before serving. Makes 6 servings based on 2 tacos per serving.

Yes, these were as amazing, maybe even better than they look!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 serving; 2 soft tacos, using lower calorie (100 each) tortillas
Nutrition Highlights: Less than 400 calories,  ~20-30 mg soy isoflavones (plant nutrients that may have powerful health benefits), lower in saturated fat compared to most animal proteins, almost cholesterol free, good sources of fiber, calcium, and iron.

QUESTION:  What do you like better, tofu or tempeh? Have you tried them both?  What's your favorite use for tempeh, if you've tried it?  Check out more tempeh recipes on the side of my blog, I've got several, including one for tempeh lasagna (soooo good).

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd
NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.


  1. These sound amazing! I bet the lime aioli is awesome. I agree, tempeh's a nice change when you want something heartier and meatier than tofu. Would love to do more taco recipes with it!

  2. I'd love a whole post on Tempeh..not sure what brand to buy, how to cook etc!

    1. This post has a lot of info on tempeh and how to cook it!

    2. thank you Maria!
      Trixie, I will think about doing a post about tmepeh, but any brand is good, really (just make sure the ingredients don't have any extras like perservatives and extra sodium!)

  3. I LOVE tofu - cooked, raw, blended in smoothies, any way. However, I've never really gotten into tempeh. Something about the taste always bothered me. It's been a while since I've tasted it, though - I should give your recipe a try! Don't want to pass up the chance at some awesome plant protein!

  4. I love tempeh! So yummy and it really has a meaty taste and texture. I've made tempeh fajitas before and there are super good!

  5. I love tempeh and I love tacos - I don't know how I never thought to put the two together! Genius! And that lime aioli sauce looks fantastic! I can't wait to try these!

  6. I Love So Much of It. Thank You...

  7. Thought you and readers would like to know about our easy method for making tempeh at home.
    We produced Betsy's Tempeh in Mich. for 9 1/2 years and developed a new process for making the best tempeh in the country.
    Since retiring our dream is to make tempeh a household word so we are now working on a tempeh incubator that would be useful for restaurants and small shops producing a healthy food for the local community especially farmers' markets.
    If you are ever in the area of S. Calif., let us know and stop by for a tempeh panini.
    betsy shipley