Tempeh Taco Lettuce Wraps

Doing the same thing all the time can get a little boring, even if it’s something you like.

Take tempeh, for instance. Tempeh-as-bacon is my usual favorite way to enjoy it, but I was looking for a new way to prepare it. 

The result?

Tempeh tacos! Not just any tacos–lettuce wrap tacos!

Does that make them a burrito? Do discuss.


It was a good day. I enjoyed a nap (thank you, Liv!), new-to-me ice cream,

Trader Joe's chocolate coconut milk ice cream

(you girls weren’t lying when you said it’s amazing. Rich, dark, handsome…)

a Bella in the sun

Bella in the sun

and a late lunch with some friends at Pita Jungle.

Since I stuffed myself to the brim (just to let you all know, the salmon salad is amazing and the garlic potatoes set my soul free), I just wanted something light for dinner.

Tempeh lettuce-wrap tacos were born!

Tempeh lettuce wrap tacos

South Park and Tacos

Ok, digression here: Anyone know the “taco-flavored keeses” from South Park?

I’m going to go ahead and nerd myself out – I like South Park. It all started in college when one of my good friends would come over after dance for South Park, sushi and frozen yogurt. Good times.

Now, our DVR is filled with educational shows including the likes of Bethanny, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Guiliana and Bill, Ellen, and still some episodes of South Park. We don’t mind a little SP after a long day. It’s crass, mindless and hilarious…all things that are good after you’ve had a long day that requires a lot of thinking (like the Pilot holding his life in his hands as he flies, and myself, taking care of the needs of another human all day).

Whenever we have tacos, I sometimes sing “taco-flavored keeses.”

(It bothers me that “burrito” is missing an “r” but you get the gist)

Back to the point: tacos!

Tempeh Taco Meat

I made a new kind of taco. Taco burrito. Lettuce wrap? My philosophy: eat now, debate title later.

Tempeh taco ingredients

There’s been a lot of chicken on ye ol’ blog lately, so I wanted to make a recipe that my vegetarian and vegan friends would enjoy, too.

I love the taste of tempeh so much, but watch my consumption because I don’t like to eat a lot of soy products. Fermented soy like tempeh and whole food choices like tofu are said to be healthier than processed versions of soy (like soy protein isolate).

Taste wise, I think tempeh > tofu. As I mentioned earlier, my absolute favorite way to enjoy tempeh is in bacon form, but this taco meat is a close second. With mushrooms, onions, spices, topped with guac, salsa and wrapped up in lettuce (I rolled with chard since the lettuce at the store looked a little rough), it’s an amazing lunch, light dinner or fun party appetizer.

Hope you love it!

The tempeh taco “meat”:

Tempeh taco meat


Tempeh Taco “Meat” in Lettuce Wraps


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 pack of pre-sliced mushrooms
  • 1 pack of tempeh
  • 1 1/2 T tamari
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t thyme
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • pinch cayenne
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • Lettuce or chard


  1. Sautee the mushrooms and onion in the oil until soft and translucent – about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the tempeh + spices, crumble using the back of a wooden spoon, and heat for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze lime juice on top.
  4. Scoop into lettuce or chard leaves, wrap and enjoy!


You could also enjoy tempeh taco “meat” on a salad beast, wrapped up in a tortilla, mix into eggs or served in taco shells. It’s also good cold out of the container in the fridge. Just sayin’.

When you just want something light for dinner, what do you usually choose?

Any unique shows that you love?

Hope you have a great night and I’ll see ya in the morning!



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  1. Katie on May 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    i’m loving all the recipes lately, gina!

    • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      thank you! it’s the first time in a long time that i’ve felt creative with food 🙂

  2. RachelG on May 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Tonight I wanted something light for dinner so I did roasted potatos and veggies (carrots, asparagus, sugar snap peas). Moxed them all in olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and a veggie sprinkle thing made of dill, parsley, and the like. SO YUM! As the fiance went immediately to dessert I told him that next time I’ll throw a steak or big piece of chicken in the middle of his plate. Sometimes I forget that male stomachs need more taco flavored kisses. 😉 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      the pilot totally had steak tacos tonight 🙂

      • RachelG on May 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        Haha, love it! I’m going to have to re-read some of your posts about making pilot dinners and gina dinners and take copious notes. 🙂

        • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

          haha it’s more rare these days. i’m too lazy/busy to make two meals most of the time now. since i started eating chicken again it’s been easier

  3. Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on May 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Taco flavored kisses for my Ben! Haha I do the SAME THING. Also, Right now our puppy has a frog stuffed animal and we named him Clyde Frog.

    This recipe looks amazing!! I have never cooked tempeh before and I’d love to give it a go. I’m thinking either this recipe or your bacon tempeh will be the first I tackle 🙂

    • Elizabeth @ reads recipes runs on May 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Oh wait question! It says sauté the mushrooms and the mushrooms. Now we all know how awesome mushrooms are… Is it onion and mushrooms? 🙂

  4. TeriLyn [a foodie stays fit] on May 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    this sounds delicious! I’ve always liked tempeh but I’ve been eating it a LOT lately! It’s so nice in the summer because it’s quick to make, isn’t heavy and is so versatile. I love it in crispy taco shells especially but i’ll have to try it in the lettuce wraps. I bet the crunch of the lettuce would satisfy the same crunch factor that I love from the taco shells! 🙂

  5. Sara on May 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    This sounds and looks fab! Thanks for showing your vegan readers some love. XO

    • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      of course! love to all my veggie friends out there <3

  6. Vanessa on May 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Yum — those look great. BTW, just made your raw chocolate tart for the first time, and they’re setting in the freezer. I sampled the filling and OMG…dessert can’t come fast enough tonight!

    • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      YESSSS! that’s one of my all-time faves! i hope you love it 🙂

      • Vanessa on May 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

        Forgot to ask? Did you ever analyze the nutrition stats on it?

        • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

          no, but i can if you would like me to!

          • Vanessa on May 30, 2012 at 3:34 am

            That would be great, but no biggie if you don’t have time. =)

  7. Missy on May 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    My guilty pleasure when it comes to TV shows is sadly… Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Don’t ask me why — it’s just so addicting! Just came across your blog today and loving it! Might give the “Summer Shape Up” a try 🙂 Thanks for all the information you share!

    • Fitnessista on May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      i’m right there with ya- i love the kardashians!
      welcome to the blog and thank you so much for saying hi 🙂
      that’s so awesome you might join in the shape up fun- i’m really excited for it this year

    • Brittany on May 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      My guilty pleasure is dance moms. Don’t know why but it’s entertaining!

  8. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on May 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Wow this coconut chocolate dessert makes me miss Trader Joe’s even more. If only that were shippable…
    Can’t wait to try this burrito/wrap! They looks so yummy.

  9. Jenn (eating bender) on May 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Bobby and I watch South Park together, too. 🙂 We will have to have a Butters viewing party someday when we finally are in AZ (which, by the way, will hopefully be within a year if all goes according to plan)!

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

      hahah butters is my favorite!
      YES!!!! i’m so glad you’ll be here soon- i’m sure mama, papa and baby (even though he’s not a baby anymore!) bender will agree 🙂

  10. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on May 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Omg South Park is hilarious. I only catch an episode once in a blue moon but I used to annoy the heck out of my one friend in hs by constantly quoting the, “whateva, I do what I want.” ahh i love it

  11. Georgia on May 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Coconut milk choc. ice cream is my favorite!!

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

      it was soooooooo good

  12. Tonya on May 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Funny that you guys watch Always Sunny! My husband and I probably wouldn’t be married today if it weren’t for that show! I swear that broke the ice more than anything during our first few dates! So silly.. hilarious show though!

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

      i had never heard of it until recently! so funny 🙂

  13. Krystina (Krystina Yogini) on May 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I loooove tempeh. One of my go-to light/easy meals is brown rice + roasted cubed sweet potato + roasted broccoli + fried egg topped with nutritional yeast sauce. It grosses my boyfriend out (mostly the nutritional yeast) but it works in a pinch when I just want something healthy and quick.

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

      that sounds so good!
      i never like saying “nutritional yeast” to people who don’t know what it is. the name sounds so foul

  14. Sarah on May 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Crazy! We had Mexican lettuce wraps tonight too! Sadly, I did not get a nap. Or ice cream. Shoot.

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:00 am

      haha i just read your post! we were mind-reading each other 😉

  15. Lisa @ Fresh Spinach on May 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I was at Trader Joes this afternoon and stopped and stared at the tempeh wondering what to do with it. Inspiration didn’t hit me so I passed over it. Tacos for tomorrow!

  16. theresa @ apoonsulofsunshine on May 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I agree, tempeh is wayyy better than tofu! I know this is really weird but when I was younger I used to eat dry Top Ramen noodles crushed up, and somehow tempeh tastes very similar to me! Odd, but I still love the taste of tempeh!

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 12:00 am

      haha i used to eat ramen noodles too! they were so good 🙂

  17. Lisa on May 30, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Ooh this looks so great! I love tempeh a lot, but don’t experiment with it very often, usually just bake it into strips. I like this though 🙂

  18. Ali on May 30, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Yum! My Baby Sister is going love these! I like to eat fruit ice cream for dinner, as you may have gathered if you ever read my blog hee hee <3

  19. Meg on May 30, 2012 at 1:00 am

    my jaw dropped when I read tempeh! I was just having a conversation with some girls over Twitter tonight about favourite tempeh recipes! I have tempeh in my fridge waiting to be used! Thanks Gina 🙂 This looks great <3

  20. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 30, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Your taco “meat” looks awesome and I am all about lettuce wraps. And have been on a massive tempeh kick the past 6 mos after being more tofu the past few years, I am back in love with tempeh!

  21. Jill @ Classy with a Kick on May 30, 2012 at 1:54 am

    OMG…I am dying. We are huge South Park fans and that is one of our favorite episodes! We also sing the song AND occasionally call our Shiba “Mitch Conner” when we are being silly. He actually responds which is even weirder! 🙂 This makes me so happy!

  22. Sara on May 30, 2012 at 6:41 am

    South Park is my guilty pleasure too, although sometimes I can’t handle it – you know, when they get too gross or mean.

    Have you seen the ‘Shake Weight’ episode? Shake Weights took a while to get to NZ, and when I finally saw one I was totally flabbergasted that they are real. I thought it was just something South Park made up! I can’t take them seriously.. just can’t.

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

      hahah yes! every time i see the infomercial i die laughing

  23. Sara on May 30, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Aaaaand, TEMPEH is so bad. So, so bad. I can’t even SMELL it without wanting to gak. I don’t know, maybe I’m lacking the soy receptor. I’ve tried it every way. This is why I could never be a successful vegan… I don’t have the tempeh gene.

  24. Liz on May 30, 2012 at 7:14 am

    This looks delicious! I love tempeh but normally just marinate it and bake it in the oven, and have been looking for some ways to cook it. It will be fun to try it as a taco meat!

  25. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on May 30, 2012 at 7:54 am

    This looks awesome! I’ve used tempeh in so many different ways (as bacon, baked, in pasta sauce…), but I’ve never made taco “meat” with it before. I can’t wait to try this! 🙂

  26. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on May 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I’ve never had Tempeh before… hmmm, maybe this would be a good way to try it out for the first time!

  27. Abby @ Change of Pace on May 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Looks like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing.
    I just bought my first pack of Tempeh last week.

  28. Kristen on May 30, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’de like to try this and I think the hubs MIGHT try it. I have been trying for years to incorporate some vegetarian meals into our weekly meal plans. While he will eat them, he thinks he’s not getting full because there is no meat- totally a mind thing because there is lots of other protein in the meal. Anyway the new guy at the fireball is vegetarian and has cooked some meals for them. My hubby came home talking about it and said the meals are really good and surprisingly filling. It’s some of the same things I have cooked. WTF?! I think the difference is a “manly man” fixed it. Haha oh well, at least now he will be satisfied when I fix those meals.

  29. Emily on May 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Do you think that ice cream is a socially acceptable man replacement? His description is nearly perfect;)

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

      hahah yes! when the pilot is deployed, ice cream does the trick 😉

  30. Kristi @ lifesprinkles.com on May 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

    LOVE the TJ’s chocolate coconut milk ice cream. tempeh is one item I have yet to try but I’m curious about it, I may have to give these lettuce wraps a shot. thanks for the recipe!

  31. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on May 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I so wish I could try this Trader Joe’s coconut milk ice cream. It looks delicious!

  32. Beth on May 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

    This recipe looks great! Thanks for posting! Also, loving those bracelets you are wearing in the ice cream photo… where did you get them??

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

      thank you! they’re mala beads from tiny devotions

  33. Erica @ Love the Leap on May 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I’ve never had coconut milk ice cream before! Does it have a coconut taste to it? I just saw that they came out with almond milk ice cream! I’m excited to try that 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

      oh wow! another ice cream to try 🙂

  34. Nicole on May 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Oooh…that ice milk looks amazing! I’ll definitely give that a try!

    I’ve never had tempeh before, but I just may give it a try with these lettuce wraps!

  35. Kristen on May 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I love South Park still haah, mostly b/c it makes fun of pop culture in the best of ways. Workaholics is our new fave crass show though…I swear I nearly bust my gut laughing every episode. It is just so ridiculous, Also, It’s Always Sunny is amazing too! All I really watch is trash TV b/c I watch so little TV in general lol. No shame.

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

      we have a ton of workaholics on the dvr too, but i haven’t watched it yet! the pilot loves it though

  36. Tara on May 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Have you seen Bob’s Burgers? I love that show. It’s the ONLY animated show I look forward to. Comes on Sunday nights.

    • Carly on May 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

      haha I LOVE Bob’s Burgers! SO funny. The Mom is the best.

  37. Carly on May 30, 2012 at 11:12 am

    This looks like a delicious healthy option, totally going to try it! Thank you!

  38. Maria on May 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Have you tried the strawberry flavored TJ’s coconut milk ice cream? It’s delicious with their dark chocolate covered almonds crushed over it!

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      no, but now i have to try your combo!

  39. Melissa on May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    LOL. Hubby and I always sing ‘Taco Kisses’ too whenever we make tacos or ‘Burritos Burritos!’

    Do you know the real identity of Miss Jennifer?

  40. Nicolette on May 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    The taco-taco-burrito-burrito, taco-taco, taco-flavoured kissssses song might be one of my absolute favourite SP moments. I am so glad I am not the only fan!

  41. OneFitTwoFit on May 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Nice! Thanks for the great recipe. I’ll be trying this one soon!

  42. Bella on May 30, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Hi gina! 🙂

    Tempeh comes from my country, Indonesia. What my mom always does is she will make a salt + sugar + a bit of tamarind marinade, slice the tempeh thinly, dip them in this solution and deep fry/ pan fry if she knows i am trying to lose weight.

    Or, you can make a batter of rice flour, salt, pepper, sliced green onions, water and sugar, dip the sliced tempeh and then deep fry em! >:D

    and we eat em with sweet soya sauce + sliced chilli. my favorite is the first one 🙂 hope this helps <3

    • Fitnessista on May 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      ohhhh yum!!!!

  43. Lauren T on May 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    What does tempeh taste like? Also, what is tamari? I may just have to try this creative twist on a taco 🙂

  44. Hillary on May 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    These look delicious—and I’ve never had tempeh before!

    On nights when I’m too tired to cook, a smoothie hits the spot. After a fifteen hour day yesterday, that was my standby!

  45. Shaina Anderson on May 31, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Oh man this looks so good! I’m back in action in the kitchen and this is definitely going in next weeks meal plan!

  46. Herbivore Triathlete on January 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I’ll admit it, tempeh intimidates me. I don’t know what to do with it and it’s been sitting in my freezer. Tacos are a huge staple with my family and since going veg I’ve been missing out! No more! I am going to try this next time the kids want tacos. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      hope you love it!

  47. Claire on January 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Oh goodness, this recipe is fantastic! I’m home on Winter Break right now and have made this recipe twice for my mom and I! We both love this meal and are grateful to have another way to cook tempeh! Thank you!

  48. Shaina Anderson on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Just made these for the first time. I’m thinking tempeh taco meat is going to be on the “prep ahead” list most weeks. Delish!

  49. Tracey on February 2, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Are those leaves chard? If so, do I need to cook them before wrapping? Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on February 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

      nope, you can eat chard raw! just take the ribs out 🙂

      • Tracey on February 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

        Ok, thanks!!

  50. Kim on February 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Hey Gina! I’ve made this multiple times and love it! I’m a night shift nurse and it’s super easy to bring to work. Thanks for the recipe!

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