Seis de Mayo?

No, it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

But we’re going to get festive today anyway! Because, let’s be honest, you don’t really need a reason to eat Mexican food.

I did plan on sharing these easy tempeh tacos with you on CINCO de Mayo; I love any excuse to make food for special occasions. There was Bara Brith for Saint David’s Day. Green oats for St. Patrick’s Day. Rice Jambalaya…just ‘cuz I went to New Orleans. Matzo Ball Soup for Passover…and I’m not even Jewish.

Yep, any excuse. ;)

But life sleep got in the way. The good news is, these are tasty any day of the year.

First, a word about tempeh. For those that aren’t familiar, tempeh is a fermented soy product that is high in protein, making it a great meat replacement. One serving of LightLife organic garden veggie tempeh–four ounces–provides 38% of the Daily Value for protein (19 grams) for only 240 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and no cholesterol. Not too shabby. It also scores well in the vitamins/minerals department; it’s rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, manganese, and copper.

So how is it different than tofu? It’s made from the fermentation of the soybean (like miso), which benefits digestive health. Elise explains a bit more about what sets tempeh apart in this post, where, incidentally, you will also find a recipe for another delicious Mexican meal involving tempeh. :)

Are you still awake? I promised a fiesta, and I’ve put you to sleep!

Let’s get cooking, yes?

I know this looks long and complicated, but it’s really not. With a little prep the day before (making the tempeh marinade and the world’s easiest red cabbage slaw), all you have to do is whip up your guac, saute your tempeh, and assemble!

Tempeh Tacos 

Serves 2

  • 8 oz. tempeh
  • 4 taco shells (I used Maria and Ricardo’s soft taco size sprouted grain tortillas)
  • red cabbage slaw (recipe below)
  • guacamole (check out my favorite guac here)
  • salsa (optional)


* for extra ease, taco seasoning would work well as an alternative to the spices

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1 Tbs tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
  • juice from half a lime


1. Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade together in a container that can fit your tempeh.

2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil tempeh for about 10 minutes. (As I learned from Elise, this helps remove some bitterness!)

3. Place tempeh in the marinade. Cover and let it work its magic overnight. (If you don’t have time to marinate overnight, try to do so for at least an hour.)

4. When you’re ready to assemble your tacos, heat your taco shells in your oven until warm.

5. Meanwhile, dice up tempeh and saute until it’s golden on both sids, about 10 or so minutes.

6. Assemble! Start with the tempeh, then add the red cabbage slaw, and top with guacamole and salsa.

Simple Red Cabbage Slaw (make ahead)

  • About 1/4 head of red cabbage, shopped
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • A drizzle of agave (about 1 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hint of lime juice

Toss together and let flavors mingle (I put this together the night before; alternatively, let it hang out for at least a half hour).

Altogether now…

Mmmm. While I’ve enjoyed many-a-tempeh in my day, this was my first attempt at working with it in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Overall, I liked it. I think marinading it overnight was key to giving it flavor.

And Tom loved it–I think because, texturally, tempeh’s a bit meatier than tofu. It definitely worked well in tacos, as would the meaty seitan (remember these beauties?).

These tacos were tasty. And had a great combination of flavors and textures happening.

If you had to choose: tofu or tempeh? Or none of the above?  I’m a fan of tempeh, but in general I think I’m more of a tofu girl…

I continued the festivities with last night’s dinner: a tex mex veggie burger. Which only sort of counts as Mexican. Just how today is almost Cinco de Mayo. Except not.

Whatever. It was good. :)

I’d only ever tried Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burgers before, so this was new–and delicious! A little less mushy than their California-style ones, and very tasty.

I served with avocado, mixed greens, and salsa on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread.

And with that, happy Seis de Mayo Friday!

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22 responses to “Seis de Mayo?

  1. those tacos look amazing!! i need to experiment with tempeh better!! that is.. if it were less expensive where I am :(

  2. So true! Who needs a reason to have more Mexican goodness in their life? Not this girl!

    I would definitely chose tempeh over tofu! I just love the grainy texture of it! Granted, I’ve made more tempeh dishes than tofu ones…I’ve only cooked 2-3 tofu dishes and I’ve never tried baking it, but I have a package in the fridge that is reserved for that this weekend!

    I’ve never marinated my tempeh before! I am all over this dish!

  3. I was a vegetarian when I was younger, and I ate a lot of tempeh. I haven’t had it in probably a decade though. Really need to try it again. I remember liking it better than tofu, so I need to try it again.

  4. Convenient that you posted this, as I just bought some tempeh and was wondering what to do with it. I’ve heard that marinading is key!

  5. Ginger&Rice

    YUM! I’ve never had tempeh before, honestly I’ve been afraid to try it because I don’t think my parents would like it, but maybe if I put it in tacos, they would love it.

  6. elise

    well done celebrating…even if its a bit of a stretch with the tex mex burgs. im a tofu girl all the way though. tempeh and i have been in a long battle and i just cant seem to get on board all the way.

  7. Oooh…now I’m tempted to try tempeh! Sorry. :)

  8. I have never had tempeh, but I really want to try it! Those tacos look so good!

  9. Yum-o! I love tempeh. I’ve found that baking it after a long soak in a tasty marinade is the key to extra delicious tempeh.

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  11. okay. I’ll admit, I’m not sold on tempeh. HOWEVER this post made me think that I might like it if I tried it like this? might have to give it a go….

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