Chili-Rubbed Tempeh Air-Fryer Tacos

The air-fryer turns tempeh into a crispy and tasty filling for these air-fryer tacos. Your whole family will love them!

air-fryer tempeh tacos

This post is sponsored by The Soyfoods Council in celebration of Soyfoods Awareness Month.

I never imagined when my husband bought an air-fryer that I would want to do anything with it other than hide it in the closet.

I also never imagined that cubing tempeh and rubbing it down with chili powder and cumin would make it so irresistible I couldn’t stop eating it.

But both of those things have happened. Allow me to explain.

I’m not sure what 3 am info-mmercial my husband was watching when he decided life in this house was not worth living unless we had an air-fryer. But it happened and my — already somewhat crowded countertops — are proof.

We now have this model air-fryer sitting adjacent to our stove. It sat there, quietly for a number of months, only called upon when my husband would get the random desire to make some french fries. That was until one morning I decided to cook my son’s fave vegetarian sausage in it. I find vegetarian sausage tastes better cooked in the oven, and I knew the air-fryer would heat up quicker than my oven. When I tasted it, I was like, WOW — what just happened here?

It seemed like the time to heat the thing up was, I dunno…. maybe a fifth of the time of the oven and the same for the cooking. It was super fast, more like a microwave, but yet the sausage was crispy outside and moist inside — a quality a microwave never delivers.

What happened next can only be described as a frenzy. I began roasting broccoli in it, cooking bacon in it, and I even made mug cakes in it. 

It never disappointed.

And that’s especially true for these new Tempeh Air-Fryer Tacos.

air-fryer tempeh tacos

I got the idea to try cooking tempeh in the airy-fryer when my friend Danielle and I were discussing the absolute best ways to cook tempeh. Most people opt for oven or skillet… but you know… I have this magical air-fryer that needs to wow me with its wonderfulness every day, so that’s what I did. I filled its handy-dandy little basket with a package of tempeh that I’d cubed and tossed with olive oil, cumin and chili powder… and was like:

“Oh. My. Gosh. How can something SO healthy taste SO good?”

air-fryer tempeh tacos

You’ve heard me say on the podcast before that I’m a soy fan. I love it because it’s both rich in plant-based protein AND it’s so readily available in yummy ways to eat it. From soy protein powders (that Dr. Chris Mohr and I discussed in The Protein {Powder} Episode), to the soy sausage my son and I love, to the cubed tofu I used in this recipe, to good ole edamame (which is seriously the ONLY green veggie I’m able to get that sausage-lovin‘ son to eat these days.)

But tempeh? Honestly, I’ve been a stranger to it for way too long.

I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just unmillennial (read: old) enough to have sort of missed the rise of tempeh in my early food-exploration days. When I had small kids, I kinda quit trying new things and exploring new foods. I was too busy sweeping up goldfish and picking up legos.

But these days, there’s a little more room to try new things… like tempeh tacos and air-fryers, I guess. And there are plenty of reasons, beyond just the yumminess, to add more soyfoods to my diet:

Soy and Breast Cancer

Breast cancer rates in soyfood-consuming countries are generally much lower than in Western countries.

Soy and Cognitive Function

In 2015, a comprehensive analysis of the relevant studies concluded that soy isoflavones exert a positive effect on a broad range of cognitive abilities in women.

Soy and Wrinkles!

One study found that within just 14 weeks, soy reduced wrinkles in postmenopausal women by 10%. The more wrinkles at study start, the more pronounced were the benefits. More recently, Japanese researchers found daily soymilk consumption by premenopausal women resulted in an
improvement in both subjective and objective measurements of skin health.

You didn’t see that last one comin’, did ya? I’m helpful like that. Just when you think I’m all recipes & nutrition, I’ll throw a wrinkle fact at you.

You’re welcome.

If you try this recipe, you’re gonna wanna thank me for it, too. I’m sure of it. Addictively delectable is how I describe each little cube. And if for some reason you have a few picky eaters — you know, the ones who sprinkle legos and goldfish willingly around the house — who aren’t ready for tempeh all by itself, feel free to add in some cubed chicken to these tacos as well!

Print

Chili-Rubbed Tempeh Air-Fryer Tacos

air-fryer tempeh tacos

The air-fryer turns tempeh into a crispy and tasty filling for these air-fryer tacos. Your whole family will love them!

  • Author: Regan Jones, RD

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Tortillas
  • Sliced red cabbage
  • Pico de gallo
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Guacamole

Instructions

  1. Preheat air-fryer** to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Toss tempeh with olive oil, chili powder, cumin and salt. 
  3. Place tempeh in basket of air-fryer and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until just slightly crisp on the outside.
  4. To assemble tacos, layer red cabbage on the bottom of each tortilla. Top with tempeh, pico de gallo, red pepper, green onion, jalapeno and guacamole.

Notes

**Tempeh can also be prepared in oven. Place coated cubes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Turn cubes over; bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until slightly crisp on the outside. Cubes may not crisp as much in a traditional oven as the air-fryer. 

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