These vegetarian Chipotle Tempeh Tacos are smoky, spicy, and incredibly satisfying. The tempeh is marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce, gets baked to perfection, then is piled into tortillas with a fresh, crisp green apple slaw. This is healthy eating at its finest.
Your resident dairy queen may have to step down from her post, but she’ll maintain her role as cheese queen, because, well, there are just some things not worth living without. This month’s Recipe ReDux is all about gut health (well at least I thought it was), and it seemed to be perfect timing due to a recent revelation. We’ll get to that.
Turns out I ended up working ahead and took on the Recipe ReDux theme for October (deja vu?), which revolves around gut health, instead of this month’s sheet pan theme. The tempeh for these tacos is baked on a sheet pan and it’s pretty simple…what do you say? Close enough? E for effort? On second thought, why sugar coat it? I f****** up, but made a damn good dinner in the process.
Back to the revelation. There’s always a current fad that promotes eating this, not eating that, or cutting this and that from your diet. And I usually don’t listen to any of that BS because I find it’s often just a bunch of hullabaloo that’s debunked within a year.
Take coconut oil for example, sure I use it every once in awhile for flavor, like in these, and it does have certain health properties. But like butter, it’s saturated fat. (Don’t stop using olive oil!) And gluten? Yes, I develop recipes that are gluten-free because I genuinely like them and I know some people out there really can’t eat it. But for those of us who can tolerate gluten, dairy, or whatever the fad may be, eating wholesome doesn’t mean cutting out everything from our diet that’s currently controversial. Instead of removing types of foods altogether, let’s first look at the quality of our food and ingredients, then see how they make us feel.
Now that I’ve spent quite a bit of time up here on my soap box, let me tell you what I’m starting to cut back on…
YES, I know. This is a total out-of-body experience and I’m hating every moment of it. However, I’m just cutting back, not cutting out dairy. Because one, cheese and two, ice cream. But when I actually took a moment and looked at how much dairy I consumed in a day it was pretty astounding. Most of my protein was coming from dairy and every morning my day started with a bowl of yogurt, berries, granola, and nuts. It wasn’t until I began to switch up my breakfast routine that I realized how uncomfortable the yogurt made me. Too often I felt overly stuffed and not satisfied. Yes, greek yogurt is good, lean protein, and a great way to start your day. But for some reason, it just doesn’t work for me.
You see how this revelation was perfect timing with the so-called monthly theme? Yogurt is great for promoting gut health, and now that I’m eating less of it, I’m in need of some healthy-gut ideas. (That sounds so gross.) Anyway, tempeh is great for the gut, it has a meaty texture, takes on whatever flavors you throw at it, and is packed with plant-based protein. It gets an overall A+ in my book.
To cut down on any bitterness, I steam the tempeh first (thanks to Minimalist Baker’s recommendation) before cutting into pieces and throwing into the smoky, chipotle marinade. And the more time it marinates, the better. Then I spread the tempeh onto a baking sheet and bake until it’s brown and starting to caramelize—so easy!
- For the marinated tempeh:
- 8 ounces tempeh
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the cabbage & apple slaw:
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced lime zest
- ¼ teaspoon grated fresh garlic
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
- 1 cup julienned Granny Smith apple
- ¾ cup halved, and thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced jalapeño
- ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- Tortillas (corn if gluten-free)
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Lime wedges
- For the tempeh, fill a skillet with 1-inch of water and add tempeh. Bring water to a simmer over medium heat and cook tempeh 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through . Remove tempeh, pat dry, then transfer to a cutting board. Slice tempeh in half lengthwise (into two thin halves) then cut each rectangle into 16 bite-sized pieces.
- Whisk oil, chipotle , adobo, lime juice, honey, garlic, and salt together; add tempeh pieces and toss to coat. Cover tempeh and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24, stirring occasionally.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tempeh on sheet in an even layer, and bake until tempeh is caramelized and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes, flipping tempeh halfway through. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
- For the slaw, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, oil, honey, zest, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Add cabbage, apple, onion, jalapeño, parsley, and cilantro; toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
- To assemble the tacos, lightly toast tortillas over an open flame on stovetop or under the broiler, just until they are warm and start to char on both sides. Scoop slaw into tortilla, arrange 4–5 tempeh pieces over slaw, garnish with avocado slices, greek yogurt, additional herbs, and a lime wedge on the side.
Love the sound of these Spicy Chipotle Tempeh Tacos and the Green Apple Slaw but want to try them with meat? Check out these Chipotle Taco Variations:
Chipotle Chicken Tacos:
Use ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast in place of the tempeh. Just skip the steaming, cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes, and marinate as directed. Either bake as directed or cook on stovetop in a skillet with some oil.
Chipotle Beef Tacos:
Use ½ lb. ground beef in place of the tempeh. Skip the steaming and marinating. Cook beef in a skillet with some olive oil, one cup diced white onion, one minced chipotle pepper, two tablespoons adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic, and some kosher salt.