Friday, June 17, 2011

Tempeh Tacos

This is my third attempt at some sort of tempeh tacos. The photo is of mine, Graham's were disassembled in a matter of seconds. I had some incredible tacos from Fuel at this food truck festival a few months ago, and I keep trying to replicate it. I'm not even sure that tempeh is what they used, but it planted the idea in my head. I don't really love tempeh. G2 does. LOVES it. It seems like I should, but it's just not my favorite. I'm trying, though. And Graham seems to like it. He always eats it, anyway. I read about steaming tempeh, so I started by doing that. I diced the tofu and then steamed it for 10 minutes. It did make it much softer, and I think helped it absorb the marinade.

1 block of tempeh, cubed and steamed
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp cumin
1-2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
LOTS of ground pepper
juice of half a lime
hot water to thin (the marinade ended up making about 3/4 cup)
canola oil
1/2 onion, diced

While the tempeh is steaming, mix all of the marinade ingredients (tomato paste through water) in a cup or bowl. Pour over the tempeh in a shallow dish (I used a pie plate). I let it marinate for about 20 minutes. Saute the onion in hot canola oil and then add the tempeh and marinade into the skillet. I cooked it for a long time (like 25-30 minutes) over medium high heat to get kind of a char on it. Then just put it in some tortillas with your favorite fillings. We used a lime slaw, avocado, diced tomato and sour cream. Graham had a little cheese on his and we had fresh jalapenos on ours, as well.

For the slaw (I made this before the tempeh so it had time to get yummy):
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
a couple of big handfuls of cilantro, chopped
juice of the other half of the lime
1 Tbsp canola oil
2-3 tsp agave
salt and pepper

I think the slaw really added a good flavor. I'm still not totally convinced on the tempeh, but this was tasty and as long as the boys like it, I'll keep trying to come around.

*A big reason I am open to tempeh is because it's rich in iron as well as calcium. And it does make a protein rich, filling meat substitute without being super high in sodium like the the pre-packaged stuff.


  1. If the issue you have with tempeh is the taste which is mine and my kids problem with it try deep frying it until it is a reddish brown. It absorbs very little oil as long as you fry it is very hot oil. This changes the taste completely making it nutty and really good. It will still absorb the marinade easily.