Tortilla Chip-Crusted Tempeh Tacos with Avocado Cream

Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful, high protein vegan tacos!

Ryan is a good sport. I don’t say that enough here, so I’m saying it now – I’m a lucky lady.

Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful,  high protein vegan tacos!

I mess up our kitchen on the daily, and he doesn’t complain. Sure, he pokes fun at me for not even THINKING about cleaning as I go (“Don’t you wish you had a little counter space? Shouldn’t you move your computer away from the flour?”) but anyone would make fun of that.

He pretends to be as excited as I am about my before and after photo editing. “Oh, man! That’s amazing! Shit!”

Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful, high protein vegan tacos!

Or when I tell him we’re eating tortilla-crusted tempeh tacos with avocado cashew cream, he’s all, “What now?” but just goes with it. He might turn a somewhat judgmental eye at the plant-based protein block while I slice it, but he is willing to try anything.

It almost makes me feel like I should eat one of his venison steaks.


Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful,  high protein vegan tacos!

When I make cookies that are flat as pancakes, or a woefully underseasoned pasta dish, he goes, “I think they’re pretty good!” or “It just needs a little hot sauce!”

Sidebar: Do all men think hot sauce is an instant life fixer? Is that a thing?

Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful,  high protein vegan tacos!

I can always tell when he’s underwhelmed, but I do appreciate his attitude. It makes it all the more satisfying when it’s obvious that he actually likes something. Especially when it is totally vegan and he doesn’t even know it.

Okay, maybe he shredded a little sharp cheddar on top of these, but that was just out of habit, really.

Tortilla-Crusted Tempeh Tacos - crispy, flavorful, high protein vegan tacos!

I have been thinking about making these tacos for weeks. Something about the texture of the tempeh with the corn chips just sounded so RIGHT to me. Although, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit weird about tortilla chips lately. I wake up in the middle of the night craving them. Sometimes I eat them for breakfast. It’s a little off, but it works for me.

These tacos are awesome the day you make them, and can be reheated as leftovers, but the tempeh will lose some crispiness after sitting in the fridge. Despite the lack of crunch, it does still have great flavor, so I reheated the tempeh and happily ate away for 3 days of leftover taco yums.

Tortilla Chip-Crusted Tempeh Tacos with Avocado Cream

Crunchy tortilla chip-crusted tempeh, super smooth avocado cashew cream, and a zesty red cabbage slaw come together in these high protein, vegan and gluten free tacos.

Yield: 8 tacos (4 servings)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


Tortilla Chip-Crusted Tempeh

  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3 cups non-GMO corn tortilla chips, finely crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

Avocado Cashew Cream

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 ripe avocado

Taco Assembly

  • 4 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 8 small, non-GMO corn tortillas


For the Tempeh:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place an oven rack in the upper third of your oven.
  2. Slice the tempeh into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil, add the tempeh, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the tempeh simmers, combine the crushed tortilla chips, almond meal, salt, and spices in a shallow bowl. Pour the almond milk into another shallow bowl.
  5. Remove the tempeh with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Dip each piece first into the milk, an then into the crumb/flour mixture. Use your hands to press the crumbs into each piece of tempeh. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Some of the crumbs will fall off of the tempeh - that's okay.
  6. Place the coated tempeh close together on the baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven to toss lightly, drizzle with remaining oil, and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until golden.

For the Avocado Cream:

  1. Place the cashews with the water, apple cider vinegar, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth, and then add the avocado and blend until it comes together. A food processor will not work as well for this, b/c it will be very difficult to get the cashews to be completely smooth.


  1. Combine all remaining taco ingredients (except tortillas) in a bowl and toss with a spoon or your hands. Taste and adjust salt/garlic powder to taste.
  2. Separate the tortillas into 4 stacks of 2 tortillas, wrap each stack in a damp paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Fill tortillas with the red cabbage slaw, crispy tempeh, and a dollop/drizzle of avocado cream.

I realize there's some corn-on-corn going on here. Since corn is a high GMO crop, I always buy organic (or at least non GMO) corn products. I also find that these products taste better, so it makes it easy! I like Garden of Eatin' tortilla chips, and Maria and Ricardo's tortillas.


22 Responses to “Tortilla Chip-Crusted Tempeh Tacos with Avocado Cream”

  1. Raquel @ My California Roots — June 17, 2014 @ 8:05 am (#)

    Kate, these look really great! I love how you used tortilla chips for “breading” the tempeh. Which, speaking of, do you have a tempeh brand you like? I haven’t been able to find one I’m 100% okay with.

    • Katie — June 17, 2014 @ 8:56 am (#)

      Thanks, Raquel! I like Lightlife Tempeh, b/c it’s organic and has minimal ingredients, so you can flavor it however you want – like with tortilla chips, for instance :)

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 17, 2014 @ 7:24 pm (#)

    That tortilla “crust” is total genius! Love these!

  3. She Likes Food — June 17, 2014 @ 8:01 pm (#)

    I’m up for anything that is crusted with tortilla chips! Serisouly, I don’t care what it is, I will eat it as long as it is crusted with tortilla chips :) I could also eat tacos for every meal, so this recipe is definitely calling my name!

  4. Elizabeth Shipley — June 18, 2014 @ 10:46 am (#)

    We are the tempeh pioneers and share our easy method for making tempeh at home on our website: We recently filed a patent for a tempeh incubator that could be used in restaurants and small shops making artisan tempeh for the local community. Check out the website for the latest updates. And if you have any questions for making your tempeh at home, please feel free to write with any questions, etc.
    betsy shipley

  5. genevieve y — June 19, 2014 @ 5:45 am (#)

    Haha, my boyfriend does the same thing (comment about cleaning as I cook) when I’m in the kitchen! So I’ve started cleaning as I go and it has actually made cleaning afterwards a lot easier. These tacos look amazing, I love tempeh but I’ve never had them in tacos! Exciting times!

    • Katie — June 21, 2014 @ 3:39 pm (#)

      I always set out to clean as I go, and then I just…don’t. Sometimes Ryan follows me around and puts things away when I’m done with them. It’s going on my long list of “Things I need to work on” :)

  6. breakfastdramaqueen — June 20, 2014 @ 10:32 pm (#)

    These look delicious! Using tortilla chips as the crust is pure genius

    • Katie — June 21, 2014 @ 3:37 pm (#)

      Thank you!

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  9. Steph @ Steph in Thyme — May 1, 2015 @ 4:09 pm (#)

    These tacos seriously contain so many of my favorite things in life. You did an amazing job with the tortilla chip crusted tempeh – what an idea! I wish I could get these on demand, I’m too hungry to wait!

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