Tempeh Taco Salad Recipe

All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad - crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.

Tempeh Taco Salad

Today's recipe? It's all the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad - crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together. It's a meal in itself, and most of the components can be prepared ahead of time, making this salad a good option for weeknight dinners and potlucks. You can see how it comes together in the taco salad how-to video below. Enjoy!

Tempeh Taco Salad

Taco Salad Variations

As I mention in the video, I like to tweak this salad throughout the seasons. Cherry tomatoes (raw or roasted) or grilled zucchini are great in summer, roasted squash or mushrooms are great in the fall. Basically, if you start with the bean & tempeh base, plus the romaine and dressing, you can build and adjust from there - a big dollop of guacamole is always good.

Tempeh Taco Salad

More Salads!

There are so many great salads in the archives, so be sure to poke around. I love this Genius Kale Salad, this Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad, these Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps, and this Grilled Wedge Salad. Also, here's where you can find the list of all past salad recipes. Enjoy!

More Tempeh!

I really enjoy tempeh in this taco salad (and so many other ways!). If you're tempeh-curious and looking to try a couple recipes that are absolutely delicious, here are my picks. Don't skip this Spicy Tempeh Crumble Bowl inspired by Andrea Nguyen, I make it a few times a month, and it's incredible. I also love this Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh, and of course, another vote for the Lettuce Wraps.

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Vegan Tempeh Taco Salad

4.55 from 20 votes

To keep this salad vegan use coconut nectar or maple syrup as the sweetener, and feel free to sweeten to taste - ketchups vary in sweetness, so that's a variable. If you are gluten-free, seek a GF brand of tempeh. And, if you think you're tempeh adverse, you might want to try the same recipe, swapping in 2 cups of chopped chickpeas in place of the crumbled tempeh.

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin coconut or olive oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/3 cup organic sunflower oil
  • 14- ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 15 black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 medium heads of romaine lettuce, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 - 2 cups tortilla chips
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • to serve, optional; cherry tomatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, lime, pickled red onions
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat combine the oil and tempeh, and cook, until browned. Transfer to a large serving bowl, add the taco seasoning, and stir well. Allow to cool for a bit while you make the dressing.
Prepare the Dressing
  1. Combine the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, sweetener, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder, and oil in a jar. Close with a lid, and shake vigorously until creamy and emulsified. Alternately, you can use a blender or hand blender.
Assemble the Taco Salad
  1. Just before serving, add the beans, and black olives to the tempeh mixture, drizzle generously with some of the dressing, and toss well. Add the green onions, lettuce, cilantro, chips, avocado, and more dressing, if you like, and gently toss again. Serve as-is, or topped with a squeeze of lime, some tomatoes, more avocado, and green onions, and herbs.
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
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4.55 from 20 votes (18 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


I made this tonight. My girls loved it. I doubled it so I can take it to work tomorrow and share with my coworker. Thanks, Heidi!5 stars


    Thanks Jessica! i had the leftovers for lunch yesterday as well 🙂 -h

    Heidi Swanson

This was one of the first recipes I made when my wife and I became vegan about 5 years ago and we love it so much that I still come back here at least a few times every year. Actually, tempeh became our go-to for taco meat because of this recipe. The dressing is so interesting and yummy and I love the crunch that the chips add.

Just a quick tip: I make this for my wife to bring for lunch at work and I pack the crumbled chips in a ziplock for her to add on herself because they get soggy sitting in the salad with the dressing.5 stars


This recipe is fantastic! My whole family loved it. We had it with roasted butternut squash, corn and red bell pepper.

Maryam Frederick

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. The dressing was so different yet delicious for salad. Thanks for sharing…

Mary Karen

I added some roasted butternut squash and the roasted cherry tomatoes and it came out soo good. My husband didn’t realize it was meatless until we were done with our meal. Even my picky meat and potatoes type dad gave it a thumbs up. Thanks!

Erica M

Loved this recipe!! The dressing was so different yet delicious. I had agave which I used as the sweetener for the dressing and topped off the salad with blistered cherry tomatoes and some queso fresco cheese. My husband is already asking when we can have it again! Thanks for another fun and interesting recipe!


This was very good!! Any suggestions for being able to take to lunch? How long will it store? Thanks for such a great recipe!


This was yet another winner. I used Trader Joe’s taco seasoning mix, and only 1 tablespoon of sweetener in the dressing. I don’t think 2 tablespoons would necessarily have been too much for us, but one did the trick. Will definitely make again.

Celine Steen

This looks wonderful! It’s hard to beat a really good taco salad, and the variations make them a good option almost always. I look forward to giving yours a try! Plus we’re always looking for good tempeh recipes 🙂


This one’s a winner! I love the combo of tempeh and cherry tomatoes. And I’m just loving your videos so much – they’re creative and one-of-a-kind.

HS: Thank you Katie!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

Yes! More tempeh recipes please!! I love it but feel like i always just make the same few recipes. This looks fantastic and i just need to pick up some avocado and chips! I buy the taco seasoning from trader joe’s, no funky ingredients and it’s very potent- a little goes a long ways.

HS: Thanks for the tip :)!


How about adding indian paneer in place of tempeh?

HS: Absolutely!


I love the video, I like to see how easy cooking is and your videos rock!

HS: Thanks for the nice note Marta!

Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

i love the way you display the finished plate – first turning one way, then the next – and it’s been bugging me for awhile what it reminds me of & i finally figured it out. it’s the same gesture used by women in b & w movies (like the fashion show sequence in “the women”) to show their clothes to the camera. shoulders up; turn here, then there; and walk off set.

HS: Thank you – and I totally know the move you’re referring to :)…xx!


Bravo! This is a good one. I made it this evening, including all the toppings (even the roasted tomatoes which were great) and everyone loved it. I do think the dressing is a little on the sweet side, so I might tone it down next time with less or no added sweetener. It could be that I poured in too much, too.I really liked the tempeh mixture and might play around with serving it in tortillas. Thanks Heidi!!

HS: Thanks Andie! And yes! I use the leftover dressing on eggs, asparagus, all sorts of things. Totally agree re: sweet ketchup, I’ll adjust/note to sweeten to taste. xx!


That looks so good!


So yummy. Love the dressing. I am never sure what kind of dressing to put on taco salads (I am a fan), so this is great. Somehow I didn’t have any honey or maple syrup so I just omitted it. I found it plenty sweet from the ketchup, actually. Oh and because I’m not vegan I couldn’t resist the urge to add some grated sharp cheddar. Yummy.

HS: Thanks Anita! And I can imagine the cheddar being nice, or tiny fluffy clouds of goat cheese? xx!


Most taco seasonings have a lot of preservatives in them. Do you make your own taco seasoning?

HS: Hi Neeta – yes, I’ll either throw together my own seasoning, or my local market carries the Spicely line of spices (organic / non-GMO / no preservatives), and they have a fajita seasoning, as well as a “Mexican” seasoning.


I love your recipes. They are inspiring. I am based in Belize and many ingredients aren’t available here so i try to substitute. What would be a good one for the tempeh.. we can get tofu here so would that work. Suggestions much appreciated.

HS: Hi Jo – yes! Tofu would be a very good substitute. Enjoy!


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