Serious About Food

There are certain things that only serious foodies understand. While everyone eats, and most people can appreciate the food on their plates to some degree, there’s a certain hunger that goes far beyond what’s on the plate. It’s a craving for connection that drives these people forward, for understanding history, culture, and the cooks driving it all forward using food as a vehicle. Personally, it’s the stories that keep me coming back for more.

Serious Foodie was found on exactly that premise. By exploring the world through recipes, you get more than a great meal at the end of the day. Their carefully crafted spice rubs, sauces, and spicy condiments serve as accessible entry points to culinary adventures that span the globe. Visiting both new and familiar lands forges stronger ties and awareness of the foodways that have existed long before any of us first picked up a spatula.

Straight out of the box, the Indonesian Sambal captured my imagination, promising a complex and nuanced blend of crushed red chilies, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Much more than another hot sauce to stack up on the shelf, it brings a balanced heat with genuine flavor to the table, not just sheer firepower. It also made me realize that Indonesian food in general gets so little attention, despite the substantial influence it’s had specifically on vegetarians worldwide. Where would we be without the invention of tempeh, for starters?

Using the classic fermented bean cake and this smoldering yet sweet sauce as inspiration, I folded the two together into a fusion dish that everyone would recognize and enjoy: Tacos. Anything can be made into a taco without much effort. In this case, soft corn tortillas wrap gently around crispy cubes of tempeh that have been bathed in this sticky, savory glaze. Fresh cabbage adds a crisp crunch, paired with juicy mango salsa that sparkles with fresh flavor. Crunchy toasted peanuts seal the deal with just a hint of nutty flavor at the end of each bite.

This is the kind of dish that could convert a tempeh hater and make existing tempeh fans swoon. It’s a quick, easy, and foolproof meal with Serious Foodie. This is also my entry to the Serious Foodie Recipe Challenge; wish me luck! You can find more spicy ideas by visiting them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Go beyond the beaten path to discover a world of new flavors. When you come back, don’t forget to bring that inspiration back to your own kitchen.

Yield: Makes 8 Tacos; 4 Servings

Sambal Tempeh Tacos

Sambal Tempeh Tacos

These sweet and spicy sambal tacos will make you look at tempeh in a whole new light. Crispy cubes are bathed in a sticky, savory glaze, while with juicy mango salsa sparkles with fresh flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


Sambal Tempeh:

  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 (8-Ounce) Package Tempeh, Cut into 1/2-Inch Cubes
  • 1/4 Cup Serious Foodie Indonesian Sambal
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Sugar or Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed

Mango Salsa:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Mango, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Seedless Cucumber, Diced
  • 2 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

To Assemble:

  • 8 (6-Inch) Corn Tortillas
  • 3 Cups Shredded Red Cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Peanuts, Roughly Chopped


  1. Begin by heating the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the tempeh and saute, flipping periodically, until browned on all sides; about 8 - 10 minutes. Add in the sambal, soy sauce, tomato paste, and sugar, stirring to incorporate and thoroughly coat the cubes. Cook for 4 - 6 minutes longer, until lightly caramelized.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare the salsa, simple toss together the mango, bell pepper, cucumber, scallion, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  3. To assemble, gently warm the tortillas to make them more pliable. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of shredded cabbage over each tortilla and top each with 1/8th of the tempeh (about 2 ounces,) 1/4 cup mango salsa, and 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts. Enjoy right away, while the protein is still hot and the vegetables are cool and crisp.


The salsa can be prepared up to a day in advance if stored in a airtight container in the fridge.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1977mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 7gSugar: 20gProtein: 11g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

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