#TacoMonday: Loaded Smoky Tempeh Slaw Tacos [Recipe]

It’s another #TacoMonday, friends! Time for us to share a yummy recipe, using one of our favorite proteins, TEMPEH! We wanted to have a little fun while making a filling meal to “work for!” That’s what went into our recipe for Loaded Smoky Tempeh Slaw Tacos.


Tempeh’s one of those ingredients that can be tricky for some. If you caught our 7 for $30 Trader Joe’s challenge, you may have read where we called out NOT to eat tempeh straight from the package. Well, that’s because tempeh on its own can be rather bitter. Sure, there are flavored, ready-made tempeh products on the market, and you can work with those. However, we like to start out plain and putting our own flavor twist together, for which we steam our tempeh before including in a recipe.


We like making our own spice blends. When it comes to tacos, we find many are high in sodium. So, we try to scale back on that by putting a mix together ourselves. For this recipe, we used chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, paprika among others. Yeah, we went really smoky with this one, especially when you see we added liquid smoke to boot! That’s just how we roll.

The best tacos really are made with both flavor and texture in mind, in our opinion. The slaw with lime juice adds a citrus CRUNCH. The mashed avocado complements the smoky tempeh. The salsa just brightens things up all the more. You can’t go wrong with that, right?


You know what else you can’t go wrong with? Turning this dish into a salad. Taco salads are great. They’re just like an inside-out taco with more veggies! Your lime slaw can become the base, topped with the tempeh mixture, salsa, avocado and anything else you like to add. Of course, tortilla chips too!

One of my NEW favorite ways to make tortilla chips and strips comes from the “Clean out the Fridge” Soup we made from Spoon University. No fry. No bake. Microwave the tortillas for 2 minutes and it’s all good!


Here’s the recipe below! Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments! Also tell us how you like to make your tempeh!

Loaded Smoky Tempeh Slaw Tacos
Serves 4
Using tempeh as the taco "meat" with homemade spice blend makes for a delicious dish. Then adding crunch with a slaw with your favorite toppings just brings it to another level
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
For the spice blend
  1. 1 T. chili powder
  2. 1 t. chipotle powder
  3. 1/4 t. cumin
  4. 1/4 t. garlic powder
  5. 1/4 t. onion powder
  6. 1/4 t. paprika
  7. 1/4 t. cracked black pepper
For the taco filling
  1. 1 8oz. pkg tempeh
  2. 1 T. olive oil (optional)
  3. 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  5. 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  6. 3 T. tomato paste
  7. 1/2 c. water
  8. 2-3 dashes of liquid smoke
  9. For the slaw
  10. 1 lime
  11. 2 c. slaw mix (ex. cole or kale-sprout - see notes)
To assemble the tacos
  1. 6-8 corn tortillas
  2. 1/2 c. salsa
  3. 1/2 avocado, mashed
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the spice blend. Set aside.
  2. Using a steamer or double-boiler, steam tempeh for 25-30 minutes. When ready, remove from steamer and roughly chop the tempeh
  3. Heat a cast-iron pan over a medium-high flame. If using oil, add to the warm pan. Then, add garlic, onions and peppers. Saute for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add the chopped tempeh and sprinkle the spice blend. Cook for another 5 minutes
  5. In a small bowl, mix together tomato paste, water and liquid smoke. Pour it over the tempeh and cook for another 5 minutes until liquid has reduced. (Tempeh will begin to break down and resemble taco meat)
  6. While tempeh cooks, add slaw mix to a medium bowl, and squeeze the juice of the lime over it. Give toss the slaw
  7. In a warm skillet, heat your tortillas 1-2 minutes on each side to make them more pliable
  8. Assemble your tacos, filling with the tempeh mixture, salsa, mashed avocado and the slaw
  1. *For the slaw, you have options from cole slaw to carrot slaw. For this recipe, we like to use Trader Joe's Kale & Brussels sprout slaw, not using the dressing, sunflower seeds or cranberries that come with it
  2. Note: The dressing with the Trader Joe's slaw is NOT vegan and does NOT come in contact with the slaw
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