Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Asian Tempeh Tacos with Black Sesame Slaw

I thought I’d try starting off the week with something on the savory side since typically I seem to lean towards the sweets on Mondays. I’m trying to start off the year being good. (Don’t worry though, I’ve got plenty of sugar on the horizon 😉 )

Is it just me or does it feel like we’ve been in this new year for way longer than we really have? It’s barely been a week but somehow it seems more like a month to me. So what’s been going on in your world? To give a little bit of real life updates on my life, it’s been fairly the same as always. Our house is still maintaining its usual level of chaos, which in all honesty is surprisingly low considering how many people are around, but it’s still crazy sometimes.

So I should probably get to telling you about these tacos. They’re not Mexican ones, but I’ve got high hopes that you’ll still love them.

They are the first tempeh tacos I’ve ever shared on the blog, what’s that about? I also love that these are fast, simple, and delish.

The slaw is the key to all the flavors so you have to make it, and I recommend doing it at least a day before eating these if you can because it’s better after it’s had time to do its thing. You can also add whatever sauces you like for serving. My mom did something that sounded sort of odd with her tacos, she added Mexican salsa, but surprisingly she said it was really good that way.

So that’s one option but personally I’d go for something Asian like some extra soy and maybe some spring roll sauce or duck sauce. Which, by the way, “duck sauce” is a name I always thought my parents had made up for the stuff, that is until I did an internet search and realized it’s a thing. Oh, and does everybody know that it’s also the name of a music two artist icons??? I had no clue and when I recognized some of their music I felt like I’ve been living under a rock my whole life.

Alright, so now that I’ve talked your ears off today I think it’s time we allvgo and make some tacos. Who’s game?

Asian Tempeh Tacos with Black Sesame Slaw

Traditional Mexican tacos are always delicious, but if you're ever in the mood for some fusion these Asian inspired tacos are a fun way to change things up!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating Time 3 hours
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings


Black Sesame Slaw:

  • 1 1/4 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Tempeh Marinade:

  • 1 8 ounce package tempeh, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (for gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 8 flour tortillas or corn (for gluten free)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans rinsed
  • 1 medium avocado pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup lettuce leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • Additional lemons and black sesame seeds for garnish


Black Sesame Slaw:

  1. (Tip: Slaw is one of the rare things that gets better with age so making it at least one day in advance is always a good idea, however it is also good fresh.)
  2. Combine the cabbage, onions, and garlic in a large bowl and toss together until mixed. In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all the other ingredients for the slaw. Screw the lid on tightly and shake very well to combine (alternatively you can whisk in a bowl but I find the jar method is faster.). Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat well. Store the slaw in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to serve.


  1. Thinly slice the tempeh, then combine all ingredients for marinade in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the sliced tempeh to the bowl and gently toss to coat the tempeh with marinade. Cover and place the bowl in the fridge. Allow the tempeh to marinate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight if possible. If possible, toss once more halfway through marinating.
  3. When you are ready to bake the tempeh, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the marinated tempeh from the fridge. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the slices of marinated tempeh on the lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Using a basting brush , brush some of the leftover marinade in the bowl once more on each slice of tempeh.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until browned and crispy then flip each slice of tempeh, brush leftover marinade on top of each slice once more, and place back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.. Note that oven temperatures may vary so be sure to check while baking and flip the tempeh over after it's browned and crispy to avoid burning the tempeh.


  1. While the tempeh is baking, use another piece of foil to wrap the tortillas and make a sort of packet to keep them from drying out. Place them in the oven near the end of the of the bake time for the fish, after about 15 minutes, and leave them in for 4 to 5 minutes until warm.
  2. Remove fish and tortillas from the oven and then it's time to assemble the tacos! Add some tempeh to fill each tortilla. Top the tacos with black beans, avocado slices, lettuce, and radishes, then finish with a generous amount of the slaw and garnish with extra black sesame and lemon.


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