Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

Tex-Mex fusion with eastern Asia?  BTW, this recipe is vegan, and it turned out top notch, speaking as an omnivore.  I am looking forward to making this soon again.  Very soon.

recipe, taco, tempeh, teriyaki, vegan, vegetarian, cabbage, gluten-free

Three teriyaki tempeh tacos. I’ve enjoyed tempeh when others have prepared it; now I know I can make extremely tasty and satisfying tempeh myself.

Tempeh originated in Indonesia, most specifically on the island of Java, and is a fermented soybean product that apparently dates back to the 12 or 13th century (if not earlier).  It is a fermented form of soybean — there are nutritionists who speak forth on the benefits of fermented soy while stating non-fermented forms of soy should be avoided.  Obviously, if you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, neither fermented nor non-fermented soybeans should be in your food plan!


It does have a taste that seems to require getting used to for most folk, but seasoning it well can help speed the process along.  So, in interests of this, I present this recipe.  I have to say, this is the BEST tempeh recipe I’ve ever made in my life so far!!!  Yes, I repeat myself…

recipe, taco, tempeh, teriyaki, vegan, vegetarian, cabbage, gluten-free

The tempeh I used.

The tempeh I choose to use is gluten-free, and is not a product of Con Agra, a company I intensely disrespect, for other reasons nothing to do with their making of tempeh.  Unfortunately, their LightLife brand is the brand most accessible in supermarkets, at least here in the Northeast US.  So I keep my eyes open, and some health food stores (as well as Whole Foods) may carry other options.  So I wait until I see the good stuff.


I ran into this recipe for teriyaki tempeh tacos, and took this as my inspiration, though my process here is a lot different.  I used a bottled gluten-free teriyaki sauce rather than making my own, went with soft gluten-free corn tortilla shells, and muddled up the veggies some.  (I don’t like carrots all that much.)  I didn’t have any lime, so I went with lemon.  Plus, I am not a sweet tooth, so I figured the bottled teriyaki sauce had enough sugar in it to begin with.  AND, I like my tacos warm, not just the tempeh part.  So… it is no longer the source recipe, but it IS something that works for me.  But I do have to give my source serious credit, otherwise this would not have turned out as fantastic as it did.

The tempeh I used.

One problem I’ve had with tempeh, is that sometimes it is dry.  So I sliced my slices narrowly, to let sauces permeate better.  Plus, I think this physical flexibility would work better in a soft taco anyway.

recipe, tempeh, teriyaki, cabbage, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, taco

Some of the ingredients. I was going to add in some bean sprouts, but I decided I had enough items already. (But, feel free of course!)

Prep Time:  In addition to marinating,, plan on about half an hour.
Marinate Time: 2 hours.
Cook Time: 10 minutes plus maybe another 8. 
Rest Time: Not needed. 
Serves: I think this full recipe would serve 4-6.
Leftovers?:  Unassembled, yes. Otherwise, expect unwanted soggy… 

Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

If you find tempeh bitter, do steam it ahead of prepping further.  I don’t have any problem with bitterness, so I skipped doing this.

Make the marinate:  

  • 3 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten-free tamari (or soy) – As usual, I use San-J’s brand.
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic cloves

Prep the tempeh: 

  • 8 ounces (one package) tempeh.  
  • 7 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, gluten-free or otherwise 

Slice thinly, and add to the marinate.  Use your fingers to make the marinate settle over and around the tempeh. Place in the fridge for around 2 hours, more or less.

When you are close to mealtime, cook the marinated tempeh stovetop in about 2 teaspoons of avocado oil (or whatever you use), on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.  Plan for each side of the tempeh to cook about 5 minutes, or until they are browning and crispy.

Set aside.  Add 7 tablespoons of gluten-free teriyaki sauce to this tempeh, gently mix and let rest briefly.

The Taco Slaw:  

  • 2 cups of cabbage, slivered, use a combination of red and white (purple and green???) cabbage.  I used mostly the red.
  • 1 or two green onions/scallons, chopped. 
  • 100 grams dakon radish, slivered.  
  • Optionally:  bean sprouts, slivered carrots, parsnips…

Prep, and set aside.  I kept the daikon separate from the cabbage and scallions.

The Taco Dressing:  

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon low sodium, gluten-free tamari (or soy
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon hot sauce.  I used Cholula, but Sriracha would likely be awesome.  When I make this again, I will go with a full teaspoon.
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.

Mix all the above together and allow to sit.

We’re making it! 

  • Perhaps 8 or so soft corn tortillas.  (You can use the hard crispy ones if you prefer.)
  • Taco Slaw (cooked and non-cooked portions)
  • Maybe another teaspoon of avocado oil
  • Tempeh Prep
  • Taco Dressing

In a large skillet, cook the cabbage and scallion, but leave the daikon aside.  Cook maybe 5 minutes, enough to heat through but leaving the cabbage crunchy.  Set aside.

Immediately, heat up the tempeh in the skillet again, in the teriyaki sauce, perhaps about 4-5 minutes, stirring gently.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, perhaps the same one, lightly warm the tortilla shells if you are using soft shells.  30 seconds per side, at medium heat.

Lay out the shells, dispense taco slaw (the warmed part), then the daikon, then the warmed tempeh in teriyaki.  Serve, allowing guests to add the taco dressing when and as desired.

recipe, tempeh, teriyaki, taco, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, cabbage

Frying up the marinated tempeh.

taco, teriyaki, tempeh, recipe, cabbage, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Here we are, layering out the taco ingredients.

For lunch, I made three of these, and enjoyed them immensely.

recipe, taco, teriyaki, tempeh, cabbage, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free

Plated tacos to the left, extra dressing to the right… well, just in case.

I had leftovers.


I combined all the leftover tempeh and all the taco slaw makings into one dish, and kept the dressing separate.  I had these as a salad over the next day or so (without tortilla), but with a few drizzles of that wonderful dressing.


Let’s hear it for Fiesta Friday, where our cohosts this week are Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.


About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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6 Responses to Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

  1. Jhuls says:

    These tacos sound like a perfect meal to me! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party! I hope you are enjoying the party! x

  2. Wow. All I can say is wow! The sauce sounds amazing.Usually you can’t get me closer than a 10-foot pole to tempeh, but honestly, I haven’t tasted it since I was a 20 something in the 1970’s and a vegetarian for several years. I was hardcore, too but only ate tempeh once! That was enough for me, lol!! (Honey carob brownie, anyone?) Vegetarians today have it so much easier and so many options with so many foods available year round!!

    But. my point? Finally, I’m tempted by tempeh. Happy FF!

    • This was quite good… if you normally stay far away from tempeh, steam it for a few minutes (maybe ten) before following the recipe.

      Yes, vegetarian food is so much more tasty with more options, than it was back in the 70’s. I also find that when I do vegetarian meals, taking cues from cultures that were largely vegetarian (India, say) provides for the best ideas.

  3. Pingback: Cinco de Mayo: Cilantro/Lime/Avocado Taco Dressing | Of Goats and Greens

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