Individuals and families experiencing major life events probably don’t have a lot of energy to spend on grocery shopping and meal preparation. At the same time, supporting optimal nutrition with whole foods is likely even more important for those going through hardships.
Those looking for quick and comforting meals that are satisfying for the entire family know that you just can’t beat tacos…especially healthy vegan tacos that are on the table in less time than it takes to bring home carryout.
Tacos are a mainstay for simple and nourishing meals in my own home. I love to switch up the filling by using different types of plant-based protein, including black beans, pinto beans, tofu, and, my absolute favorite, tempeh.
The savory flavor and firm texture of tempeh, or fermented soybeans, cannot be beat in my mind. It’s makes the perfect alternative to ground beef in tacos for vegetarians and vegans, and anyone else looking to eat more meatless meals.
In addition to being a wonderfully nutritious source of plant-based protein, tempeh also provides a source of probiotics, the healthy bacteria that colonize our guts.
Numerous studies have shown that probiotics support optimal digestion and immune health, but researchers also believe that probiotics have the potential to significantly impact mood.
Optimal gut flora has been linked with an increased capacity to cope with stress, and probiotics also seem to positively impact depressive and anxious tendencies.
For these reasons, tempeh and other fermented foods (like miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, and yogurt) could be especially beneficial additions for parents and other family members.
If you’re preparing this recipe for loved ones, be sure to include accompanying ingredients like tortillas, fresh avocado, salsa, greens, and/or cilantro.
To serve, simply reheat the filling in the microwave or stovetop, spoon on top of warmed tortillas, and top with fresh ingredients as desired.
This filling can also easily be used for more than just tacos! Make vegan nachos by baking over tortilla chips or try serving over leafy greens for a nutritious Tex-Mex-inspired salad entrée.
This recipe can be prepared in its entirety ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator (for up to a few days) or freezer (for up to a couple of months) for convenience.
It’s the perfect satisfying meal for families who are short on extra time and energy.
Serves: 4-6 people
Vegan Tempeh Taco Filling
This is a fortifying recipe for families facing down unfathomable grief. Developed by Stephanie McKercher, RDN.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- ½ cup quartered grape tomatoes
- 2 blocks of tempeh, crumbled (or substitute with black beans)
- 1 serrano pepper (or chili pepper of choice)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or substitute with cheese)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Zest and juice of ½ lime
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Serve with tortillas and top with avocado, greens, fresh cilantro, salsa, etc. as desired.
- Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4-5 minutes. Add tempeh crumbles, tomato, pepper, spices, and lime and cook until warmed through, another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and top with green onions.
- Serve with warm whole grain or corn tortillas, sliced avocado, chopped spinach, fresh salsa, and/or cilantro.
Foster J and Neufeld KA. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends in Neurosciences. 2013 (36, 5).
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