Entrees · Wraps, Pitas + Tacos

Oil Free Tempeh Taco Meat recipe Vegan Nutritarian No Oil Recipes Whole Food Plant Based SOS Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live plan Dr Greger How not to DieSmothered with fresh peppers and sauced with a savory, spicy tomato gravy, this No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat works beautifully as a plant-based protein for your favorite Mexican-inspired fare.

I’ve always been a tofu-over-tempeh kinda girl.

Tofu’s soft, pillowy texture and its ability to absorb tons of flavor have inspired me to make recipes I adore like this, this, this and this!

But when I attended Dr. Fuhrman’s Culinary Getaway last May, I got to experience just how delicious tempeh could be.  So, I headed home inspired and with a mission to create a tasty recipe using my new soy-based best friend!

Oil Free Vegan Tempeh Tacos recipe Dr Fuhrman Eat to Live Plan Dr Greger How Not to Die WFPBSOS What the healthSoy Gets a Bad Rap

The US media has done a pretty excellent job of scaring us away from soy products.  From claims it feminizes young boys (think “soy boys”), to assertions that it causes breast cancer, it’s no wonder that I get lots of comments and emails from concerned readers who are apprehensive to incorporate soy into their nutritarian lifestyle.

Fake news much?  (Eye roll included.)  I don’t know about you but I want to see some scientific facts from a source I trust.

Enter this article by Dr. Fuhrman, that I highly-recommend you read if you’re anti-soy or undecided: Don’t Fall for the Myths About Soy.

Personally, I abide by Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendation at the end of that article:  “[B]oth unfermented (tofu, edamame, unsweetened soy milk) and fermented (tempeh) soy foods can have a place in a Nutritarian diet.”

Alrighty then, since we’ve safely escorted the elephant out of the room we can get back to the good stuff–the food…

Tempeh Taco Meat Food Prep Bowls Vegan Food Prep Recipe Mexican Macaroni and Cheese Bowls Eat to Live Dr Fuhrman Whole food plant based What the HealthBowl Full of Beans, Anyone?

So, what’s tempeh anyway?  It’s fermented soy beans.  Less processed than tofu or soy milk and a smidgen more processed than edamame beans.  You can read more about it here.

And that’s what I love about those easy Mexcian mac n’ cheese preps you see above–they are essentially beans in three different variations: green lentil bean pasta coated in my favorite Nutritarian Cheese Sauce, regular black beans and our glorious No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat!

Beans are a nutritarian delight because of their incredible properties.  The most impressive being “the second meal effect” where eating beans at one meal helps to control blood sugar levels for hours, or even the next day, after consumption.  For more about beans, watch this Dr. Greger video.

Pair up one of these mac bowls with a large, crispy, fresh salad topped with a no-oil dressing (may I suggest this Cilantro Cashew Cream Sauce) and you’ve got yourself a delicious, high-nutrient, nutritarian meal!

Oil Free Enchilada Sauce Recipe No Oil Vegan enchilada Sauce Blender recipe Whole Food Plant BasedThe Secret’s in the Sauce

Since we can’t grab a pre-made taco seasoning from the store shelf (can you say salt bomb?), I’m going to show you a simple-to-make-in-your-blender sauce using some pantry staples and a few unexpected ingredients like walnuts and ground flaxseed.

Shhh, it’s our little secret…

Oil Free Vegan Tempeh Taco Meat recipe What the Health Whole Food Plant based SOS recipeFreshening Up Fermentation

Have you noticed fermentation is all the rage right now?  You can’t walk more than 5 steps into a health food store without spotting Kombucha, kimchi or kraut.

When you’re dealing with a fermented product like tepmeh, it’s critical to infuse it with fresh ingredients so the flavor doesn’t get weighed down.

You can choose the peppers you want to add, and if you really want to amp-up the freshness, onions and minced garlic would taste incredible in this taco meat too!

No Oil Tempeh taco meat recipe Whole food plant based SOS How not to dieHow to Incorporate the Walnuts

Last thing before you get to making this Tempeh Taco Meat, you decide how you want to use the walnuts.

You can saute the chopped walnuts with your peppers or you can add them into your sauce.  It really boils down to texture.  Tempeh is firm and textured with a savory, nutty taste.  If you like the idea of having a bit of contrasting textures with little bits of crunchy walnuts, then leave them chopped in the “meat” otherwise blend them up with the sauce.

Just note that blending the walnuts into the taco sauce this will effect the color of the sauce a bit.

5 from 1 vote

No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat

Smothered with fresh peppers and sauced with a savory, spicy tomato gravy, this No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat works beautifully as a plant-based protein for your favorite Mexican-inspired fare.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Calories 336.6 kcal
Author Kristen Hong


  • 1 1/4 cup fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper (from a jar, drained well)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. coconut aminos, divided (or sub with 1 tbsp. liquid aminos)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (or other acid like white vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh peppers of your choice (jalapeño and Chiles de Árbol)
  • 16 ounces tempeh (2 8 oz. packages)


Decide how you want to use the walnuts:

  1. You have the option to incorporate them into the taco sauce or keep them chopped and saute them with the peppers.  I like to keep them chopped in with the tempeh for a little bit of crunch in the taco meat texture. 

Prepare the taco sauce:

  1. Place fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted red pepper, raw walnuts (if you want to add them in here), flax seed, 1 tbsp. coconut aminos, lemon juice, and spices into your blender jar and blend on high high for at least 30 seconds or until the sauce is smooth.
  2. Reserve.  Makes 1 3/4 cups sauce.  Keeps for up to 7 days in the fridge in glass container.

Prepare the tempeh:

  1. Dry-sauté the peppers over medium-low heat in a large skillet or dutch oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until just starting to soften--it's okay if the bottom of the pan gets a little brown.  

  2. Increase temperature to medium and de-glaze pan with 1/2 tbsp. coconut aminos and 1/4 cup veggie broth (add walnuts in now, if you're adding them in this stage) and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes. 

  3. Crumble the packages of tempeh and add to the sautéed peppers.  Add in remaining 1/4 cup veggie broth and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring well. 

  4. Add the reserved taco sauce to your taste.  I used about 1 1/4 cup and added more sauce on to my prep bowls and tacos. 

Recipe Notes

Serving suggestions:

  • Make tacos with corn tortillas, shredded red cabbage, and green onions.
  • Make a Mexican-inspired mac n' cheese by choosing a nutritarian-friendly pasta and this Nutritarian Cheese Sauce recipe and topping with Tempeh Taco Meat!
Nutrition Facts
No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 336.6 Calories from Fat 170
% Daily Value*
Fat 18.9g29%
Saturated Fat 3.5g22%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.82g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1g
Sodium 424.62mg18%
Potassium 730.13mg21%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 8.6g36%
Sugar 8.15g9%
Protein 26.47g53%
Vitamin A 111.27IU2%
Vitamin C 19.98mg24%
Calcium 161.5mg16%
Iron 4.93mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

So after trying this recipe, are you team tofu or team tempeh?

I honestly think there’s room for both of them at the table!

If you give this No-Oil Tempeh Taco Meat recipe a try I’d love to know what you think–please leave a rating and comment below!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • Dana says:

    I’ve just embarked on my nutritarian journey and this was an incredibly tasty start! Thanks for the recipe, and for this collection of information to make being healthy less daunting! 🙂

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Dana,

      So happy that you’re going to give this recipe a try! And congratulations on your nutritarian journey!

      xo, Kristen