Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce

I am not a vegan, nor am I a “meat-eater.” I am not Paleo, Macrobiotic or Carb-Free. While I try to eat gluten and dairy-free most of the time based on experience with my own body, sometimes I “give in” and want a piece of good-quality sourdough bread or cheese from the local farmer’s market. (Um, the cheese thing happens more than sometimes.) I avoid red meat for the most part, but I won’t say no to a good-quality, organic grass-fed burger every now and then…when I’m in the mood that is. My body knows what it can handle, and I listen to it 99% of the time.

The thing is, I don’t like to define myself, or my diet. I like to think of food as food, and load up on as much food that makes me feel good inside, reducing those things that make me feel not-so-good. It’s as simple as that. As you learn to listen to your body and treat it with lots of love, you’ll come to realize your own recipe for happiness and contentment in your body.

One of the many things that make my body feel really darn good is loading up on plant-based meals prepared with real, whole foods. That is, foods that are as LEAST processed as possible, and closest to their natural state. Therefore, while I am not a strict “vegan” or “vegetarian,” many of my meals happen to be naturally vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Same goes for gluten and dairy; I find often times while cooking I could do without these ingredients and therefore I do.

These Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce that I whipped up the other night is a great example of a not-on-purpose vegan dish prepared with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce

Vegan, Free from gluten & dairy

For the tacos:

*makes 6 tacos

  • 1 package organic tempeh (8 oz), diced into small squares (I used Lightlife Foods’ Organic Flax Tempeh)
  • 6 whole corn tortillas (I used Food for Life’s Sprouted Corn Tortillas)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 TB coconut oil, organic, cold-pressed & unrefined
  • 2 TB tamari, organic
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (add additional according to taste)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • handful of leafy greens (for taco toppings)

1. Heat large skillet on medium heat with coconut oil. Add in shallot and cook for about 3 minutes.

2. Mix in tempeh, using spatula to create a crumbled effect (like ground meat). Add tamari, curry, salt and pepper and stir. Cook until tempeh is lightly browned and crispy. Reduce to low heat, and let sit covered. In the meantime, heat corn tortillas in the oven for a few minutes until soft and warm.

3. Top each tortilla with taco mixture, sauce (see below), & leafy greens and serve.

[We enjoyed ours with a side of homemade fish-chowder!]

For Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce

  • 6 cloves garlic, pealed and chopped
  • About 1/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 c. tamari, organic
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed & unrefined
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB nutritional yeast
  • sea salt to taste

Note: This makes enough so you have leftover to use for other dishes, sandwich toppings or as a dip with your favorite veggies.

~Add the garlic, ginger, tamari, lemon juice and half of the olive oil. Blend on high speed in a food-processor or Vitamix (I used a Vitamix). Then slow add in the olive oil, pulsing until it creates a creamy texture. Mix in nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste, and stir with a spoon.

This sauce is seriously AMAZING. I was literally licking the sides of the Vitamix…I kid you not! It was originally inspired by Life Alive’s Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce (which is served on my favorite Green Goddess dish) since I just had to try making something similar at-home. Enjoy!

Do you define your diet, or eat a particular way? Have you ever tried cooking with tempeh? What’s your favorite vegan or vegetarian dish?

6 Responses to “Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce”

  1. Jess Says:

    I love how you describe your relationship with food and avoid the ‘labeling’ thing at all costs. I’m with you on that — truly, it’s about finding foods that you LOVE, that also agree with your body and make you FEEL your best. For me, I feel my absolute best when I’m eating real, whole, natural foods — that fuel me, energize me and that taste really good too. That includes lots of veggies, fruits, yogurt and protein like grilled chicken or filet mignon (our special ‘treat’ date night in meal!). To me, I’m all about quality, quality, quality. PS your dinner looks so yummy!

  2. Rachel @Healthy Chicks Says:

    @Jess Your comment just made me smile 🙂 Yes, yes, and yes! We are SO on the same page. You have to listen to your body and do what’s going to make you feel good and taste good to you. Otherwise, what’s the point ya know?

  3. Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme Says:

    YES! Thank you so much for posting this little gem! I’ve been craving ever since you tweeted about it. Question for you – what type of curry? Paste or powder? Also – what’s the 411 on nutritional yeast and what are your thoughts on soy?

  4. Rachel @Healthy Chicks Says:

    @Sarah Yay, so glad you’re excited to try the recipe 🙂 Great questions too! First of all, I used curry powder…just fixed it above to be clear!

    As for nutritional yeast, I am a FAN. I first heard about it at my favorite little healthy restaurant Life Alive as it’s in one of their sauces. Ever since I looked into it, I’ve been hooked. I use it every so often on my pastas, stir-fries, wraps and vegetarian dishes because a.) it gives the dish a nice “cheesy” flavor without adding dairy (I’m trying to cut back on) and b.) It’s nutritious and contains B-Complex vitamins – perfect for both vegans and vegetarians alike! I buy the Bragg’s brand and you can read more about it here:

    As for soy, super controversial topic in the health world. Personally, I am not a huge fan of soy-containing products like tofu dogs, fake meats, nutrition bars loaded with soy protein, soybean oil, even some soy milks etc. as typically this kind is highly processed. Also, soy is one of the #1 GMO-containing crops so look for ORGANIC.

    On that note, I do enjoy soy from time to time in its whole form – edamame beans are great, miso soup & one of my favorites tempeh which is in the recipe above. Tempeh (organic, non-processed variety) is awesome because it’s fermentation gives it health-boosting qualities on its own, plus it’s a good source of natural protein.

    Not everyone does well digesting soy so it’s best to listen to your body and do what works for you. 🙂

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 5:13 pm and is filed under Health & Wellness, Healthy Eats, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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