Southwestern tempeh taco salads with pinto beans, roasted corn, and avocado tossed in a creamy chipotle-tahini dressing. Both vegan and gluten-free, this one-bowl wonder comes together in 30 minutes and is perfect for weeknight dinner or make-ahead lunches. Crunchy, creamy, smoky—these taco salads hit all the notes. There’s bold spices, bright citrus, fresh vegetables, a creamy sauce. Oh, and avocado. Lots of avocado. Tex-mex has got to be the most crave-inducing cuisine out there.
The spicy braised tempeh gets its heat from chipotle chiles, which is balanced by the cooling freshness of lettuce and cilantro. Dial up the heat even further by adding some diced jalapeños to the mix. Tempeh is a great option for vegetarians and omnivores alike, as its meaty texture and adaptable flavor can revamp just about any meat-based recipe. Compared to tofu, tempeh is minimally processed which helps it retain many of the nutritional properties related to soybeans, such as quality protein, fiber, and calcium.
This is a great gateway recipe if you’re new to trying tempeh because it emulates spicy ground taco meat. Braising helps remove tempeh’s bitter edge while infusing it with the smoky flavors of the marinade. A vibrant chipotle-tahini dressing anchors the toppers and adds richness. Make a double batch at the beginning of the week to use on salads, grain bowls, or as a dip for raw veggies.
Summertime, or anytime, this will be your new go-to.
Southwestern Tempeh Taco Salad with Chipotle-Tahini
- 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. adobe sauce from canned chipotle chiles divided
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice divided
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable or avocado oil
- 1 8-oz. package tempeh, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp. tahini sesame seed paste
- 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 15-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen fire-roasted corn thawed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 large romaine hearts roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 ripe avocado sliced
- Combine 1 Tbsp. adobe sauce, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add tempeh; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add adobe mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring often to fully coat tempeh. Remove from heat.
- Prepare dressing by combining remaining 2 tsp. adobe sauce, 2 tsp. lime juice, tahini, sugar, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Combine pinto beans, corn, cilantro, remaining 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl; toss to combine.
- Prepare salads by dividing romaine, cabbage, and tomatoes evenly among 4 bowls. Top evenly with pinto bean mixture, braised tempeh crumbles, and avocado slices. Drizzle with chipotle-tahini dressing.