Vine Ripe Nutrition Logo

A Fresh Approach to Eating

Make Some Tempeh Taco Meat (or Hempeh)

Today, we are going to talk about how you can make your tempeh taco meat to make a delicious meal!

I wrote this post as an educational piece to share with you two great meat alternative products called tempeh and hempeh. I was not compensated for my time.

When I decided to do a Taco Tuesday Challenge, I knew the person who I wanted to collaborate with to create the perfect taco, Sarah Yancey with Smiling Hara! She and her partner, Chad Oliphant are the makers of fermented, high protein meat alternatives like tempeh and hempeh. If you have seen their products but did not know what to make with them, this is the day that you are looking for!? And if you want to make a tasty, delicious taco, this post is for you!

Let’s talk about how tempeh, Smiling Hara’s original product is made. Tempeh has been traditionally was made in Indonesia from soy beans for thousands of years. It is a fermented food that starts with soy beans and a mushroom spore. It can also be made from a few other beans also. I met Sarah at a local farmers’ market sharing samples of tempeh about 5 years ago.

In 2015, she and her partner Chad Oliphant rolled out a meat alternative with hempeh seeds and peanuts made in a similar way that tempeh is produced. Smiling Hara’s hempeh comes already seasoned so it is already to cook and serve! They currently have a raspberry habanero and smoked sea salt and pepper hempeh. And their soy tempeh comes in miso ginger strips.

Smiling Hara’s plant is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina not far from where I live in Asheville, NC.

There are many health benefits in eating hempeh, Four ounces of it contains 22 grams of protein and 7 grams fiber. It is a good source of calcium and iron. Hempeh is a high source of monounsaturated fat and a blend of the polyunsaturated omega 3 and 6 fats. Tempeh is also very healthy . The fermented beans make them easier to digest.  I love the nutty flavor of both tempeh and hempeh and that is why I want to share it with you!

Sarah and I made our tacos out of Smiling Hara’s new Raspberry Habanero hempeh. I think that you will love the result and will want to find this delicious product at a market near you. It is already marinated and ready to cook, this makes putting together a Tuesday Taco even easier. After determining which Smiling Hara product to share with you, our next challenge was how to “top our taco” and we came up with the winning combination of some quick pickled vegetables, avocado and Greek yogurt/or sour cream.

We are excited to share our recipe with you and if you can’t find Smiling Hara where you live, here is a link where you can order it directly from them if you cannot find it where you live,you can order their product online at

Fresh Tortillas made in the factory
Fresh torillias made by Torilleria Molina!

To make our tacos taste even more tasty, we used fresh corn tortillas from Tortilleria Molina. This local tortilla maker, makes them fresh almost daily so you can take home a little package of tacos that are so fresh that you will be amazed how much difference it makes for your taco!

Recipe for Tempeh Taco Meat (or Hempeh)

Raspberry Hempeh Tacos with avocado and slaw
The secret ingredient to the Taco Tuesday Recipes is the Smiling Hara Tempeh.

Raspbery Habanero Hempeh

The flavor of the raspberry habanero hempeh comes from two local farms right in our own community Imladris Farms grows raspberries and makes the jam and Smoking Js Fiery Foods grows the habaneros that help makes it taste so good in addition to its natural goodness. The vibrant flavors of some of our favorite pickled vegetables along with the creamy, cool flavors of some avocado and Greek yogurt make it a yummy, healthy combination!

Makes 6 tacos for a total of 3 servings

1 package of Smiling Hara Raspberry Habanero Hempeh

6 corn tortillas

1/2 avocado, sliced into thin pieces

1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes if desired

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

1-2 tablespoons peanut oil

Salsa if desired

Quick Pickled Vegetables (see recipe below)

Quick Pickled Vegetables

1/3 cup thinly sliced carrots that have been cut into two inch pieces

1/3  cup thinly sliced kale into thinly sliced pieces

1/2 cup red cabbage

1/2 cup green cabbage

1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix vegetables, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Marinate ahead of time for several hours before serving up to one or two days ahead.

To make tacos:

Make Quick Pickled Vegetables according to directions. Slice avocado in 12 thin slices. Chop cilantro and potatoes. Preheat a medium skillet on medium heat and add the oil to the pan. Open the package of hempeh.

Sarah suggests filleting the hempeh down the middle horizontally. Place the hempeh in the skillet, cut side down and allow it to cook several minutes until it is brown and then flip it over and cook on marinated side.

Carefully take the hempeh out and cut each piece into 6 pieces. Heat the taco shells if desired in oven and foil at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or microwave them for a few seconds.

To assemble the tacos: add two pieces of hempeh in a tortilla, add pickled vegetables, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, sliced avocados and yogurt/sour cream. After they are all assembled on the tray, it is now time to celebrate Taco Tuesday!

Sarah from Smiling Hara shares how quickly that she can make tacos with Smiling Habanero Hempeh!

Taco Tuesday Video

Make Tacos with Tempeh (Hempeh) Meat

I hope that you enjoy these tacos and that you give them a try! As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I love to share healthy recipes to help my readers find delicious new things to eat. Smiling Hara’s tempeh and hempeh are a great way to get a protein rich Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday or any other day of the week.

If you are looking for more plant-based meal ideas, you can find them here!

This is one of the many delicious ways that you can try it and check out more recipes on my blog. If you are new to the blog, I am glad that you stopped by and if you are new to the blog, welcome and to not miss a beat, sign up for the latest. You can find out a little more about me on my bio page here!

Skip to content