Mini Pepper Nachos with Tempeh

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Plate with mini pepper nachos and sour cream

What is it about finger foods? They seem extra satisfying to eat, more interactive than consuming food with a fork, sometimes messy, and always fun. It’s a whole experience. And the ultimate finger food has got to be nachos. But with the fried chips and indulgent toppings, they can be a bit of a calorie disaster. A plate of the Factory Nachos with Spicy Chicken at The Cheesecake Factory roll in at 2,950 calories. Even if you share them with 1 or 2 other people, it’s craziness.

What if you could enjoy the satisfaction of repeatedly scooping crunchy nacho deliciousness from a platter piled high with toppings? But each bite was nutritious and packed with healthy protein? Sounds like the perfect job for Mini Pepper Nachos with Tempeh.

Pan full of mini pepper nachos with sour cream

If you’re not familiar with tempeh, this would an excellent way to try the powerhouse plant protein for the first time. It’s a fermented food, typically made with soybeans. I consider it a wonderful alternative to tofu, if you’re looking for something less squishy with more texture. It browns easily and is versatile enough to be a hearty base for chili, stir-fry, potato hash, or nachos.

Pan of mini pepper nachos surrounded by condiments


Mini Pepper Nachos with Tempeh

Plate with mini pepper nachos and sour cream

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Super easy. Super delicious. Packed with protein. And, can be easily made vegan.

  • Author: Kristine
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizers



12 mini sweet peppers, stem removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed (mine ranged from 3 to 4 inches long each)

2 teaspoons olive oil

8 ounces tempeh, crumbled

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, dairy or vegan (about 3 ounces)

1 large mango, peeled and diced, about 2/3 cup (my favorite are honey or Ataulfo mangos)

1 small ripe avocado, diced, about 1/2 cup

Salsa or pico de gallo, optional

Sour cream, dairy or vegan, optional

Cilantro, chopped, optional


  1. Prep peppers and arrange them on large cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add crumbled tempeh.
  3. Cook, stirring often and breaking up big chunks with a wooden spoon, until evenly golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Add soy sauce and chili powder to tempeh and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Preheat broiler to high.
  6. Spoon seasoned tempeh into peppers.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Put peppers under broiler and cook for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Top with mango, avocado, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro as desired.


If you have trouble getting the pepper halves to lie flat, you can take a thin horizontal slice off the bottom. Just be sure not to cut too deep so the pepper “cup” is intact and can hold the filling.

Nutrition facts include the mango and avocado toppings but not the salsa, sour cream, or cilantro.

The recipe makes 24 nachos. 8 of them is a filling serving, but even if you decided to eat half the recipe instead of a third, the portion would be very reasonable. 12 nachos would only be 545 calories and deliver 37 g protein.


  • Serving Size: 8 pepper nachos
  • Calories: 365
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 430 mg
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Cholesterol: 35 mg

Keywords: mini pepper nachos, vegetarian nachos, tempeh nachos

Did you make this recipe?

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You can get creative with the toppings and use your favorites, of course, if this particular combo doesn’t light your nacho fire. For some reason, I’ve always thought the savory flavor of salty “taco seasoned” proteins is a great combination with sweet, juicy mango.

Top down view of a pan of mini pepper nachos next to one serving on a plate

Some recipes for tempeh ask you to steam it first with a goal of reducing potential bitterness. I’m usually too lazy or hurried to take the time for this additional step. And, my tastebuds are quite satisfied with the “regular” flavor of tempeh, dumped straight from the package into the skillet.

Cookie sheet full of mini pepper nachos

If you’ve never bought tempeh before, it’s pretty much everywhere now. My Fred Meyer/Kroger has it in the refrigerated Natural Foods section and Trader Joe’s has it next to the tofu. These days you can even find it at Target and Walmart.

You could make this recipe vegan pretty easily by making swaps for the sharp chedddar and sour cream. There are some fantastic plant-based cheeses on the market. This review from The Spruce Eats picked Chao as the best cheddar and this Good Housekeeping review put Violife in the #1 spot. And on the off chance you go crazy and eat the entire pan of nachos, vegan or not, you’ll still only get a third of the calories as the ones at Cheesecake Factory.

So if your fingers need a task and your stomach needs a high protein dinner heavy on veggies and fruit, this recipe is begging to be popped in your broiler.


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