10 Best Tempeh Recipes

Spicy Adventures

Tempeh (or tempe) is a traditional Indonesian food product made from fermented soybeans. Read more about it here. Unlike tofu which is softer and more delicate, tempeh has a nutty flavour with a dense texture. It takes on the flavour of sauces and condiments really easily, making it the perfect ingredient for all kinds of dishes. As it’s so versatile, tempeh is commonly used as a replacement for meat in vegan and vegetarian cooking. 

Here are some of our favourite recipes which use this protein-rich food.

1. Tempeh and green bean curry

Tempe is delicious in curries as it soaks up the sauces really well. We love this recipe for tempeh and green bean curry by Isabella Akshay as the tempe pairs really well with the rich, not-too-spicy sauce. The recipe is vegan-friendly, and no coconut milk is needed. The creamy consistency comes from non-dairy yoghurt, as well as cashew cream made by blending cashews with chillies, ginger and salt. Speaking of spices, you’ll need a large selection of spices, including turmeric, chillies, ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Find these on our website here.

2. Teriyaki tempeh

This recipe for teriyaki tempeh by V Nutrition and Wellness is a great way to put a Japanese spin on your tempeh. The recipe also shows you how to make homemade teriyaki sauce, so you can avoid any of the processed stuff. Tempeh is marinated in tamari sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and vegetable stock before being mixed with teriyaki sauce and pan seared until crispy. Serve with rice for an easy dinner – the recipe recommends topping your tempeh with scallions and sesame seeds.

3. Kering tempe

This recipe for kering tempe by Tariyanti at Amanprana is a favourite in Indonesian households. The tempe is chopped into thin matchstick-like shapes and deep fried before being cooked together with spices like galangal, bay leaves, red chilli, shallots and garlic. The resulting dish is sweet and spicy with a crispy yet sticky texture due to the palm sugar. It’s great as a side dish or sprinkled onto plain rice.

4. Tempeh and black bean burger

We couldn’t miss adding a burger to our list of best tempeh recipes. We love a good veggie burger, and this recipe for tempeh and black bean burger by May I Have That Recipe is one of our favourites. Crumbled tempeh is mixed with paprika, black pepper, grill seasoning, black beans, scallions, cheese and egg before being baked or grilled. You can even spice things up with our Caribbean Jerk Spice Rub for a taste of the tropics. Try this recipe reshaped as meatballs, or slice them up in a wrap.

5. Tempeh tacos with avocado kiwi salsa

The great thing about tacos is that you can put pretty much anything in them – even tempeh. We found this recipe for tempeh tacos with avocado kiwi salsa by Live Eat Learn to be a unique, meat-free way to enjoy tacos, as tempeh makes for an excellent substitute for ground meat. It’s sauteed with lots of taco spices like cumin, paprika and chilli powder. The avocado kiwi salsa is a creamy and zingy topping, with a little kick from the jalapenos. This recipe is completely modifiable, so you can add cheese or additional toppings like fresh coriander or hot sauce.

6. Marinated tempeh salad

Looking for a light lunch or a side dish? Make your salads more interesting by adding some marinated tempeh for a savoury twist. This recipe for a marinated tempeh salad by Full of Plants is an easy salad that’s ready to serve in 25 minutes. Red bell pepper, carrots and tempeh are stir fried with onion, garlic, shallot, ginger, ground coriander, soy sauce and maple syrup. Once off the heat, stir in some green onions, kale and a dash of lime juice. Although you can serve immediately, the salad will taste better if left overnight as the flavours will merge.

7. Marinated tempeh wraps

Here’s another easy recipe which is perfect for a light lunch – marinated tempeh wraps by Simple Vegan Blog. Tempeh is marinated in a mixture of tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, tahini, garlic powder and onion powder before being baked in the oven. Although the recipe recommends using carrots, red bell pepper, red onions and lettuce, you can use any of your favourite veg for the wrap, as well as any additional sauces and toppings like lemon juice, yoghurt or hummus.

8. Thai tempeh stuffed sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be stuffed with a whole bunch of ingredients – black beans, hummus, quinoa, chicken, chorizo, chickpeas, feta… you name it. For a spicy filling, try this recipe for spicy tempeh stuffed peppers by Dietitian Debbie. The tempeh is stir fried first before being stuffed into the pepper alongside cauliflower ‘rice’, mushrooms, cheese, tomato sauce, salsa, onions, garlic and herbs and spices like oregano and cumin. Serve with some sour cream and fresh coriander.

9. Vegan bolognese with tempeh

Searching for a quick and healthy midweek dinner? This recipe for vegan bolognese with tempeh by Hey Nutrition Lady is just what you need. This bolognese sauce is made with crumbled tempeh, nutritional yeast and herbs and spices like oregano, thyme and chilli powder. The sauce is a great base for any kind of pasta, and you can add spices and vegetables to your taste, such as grated courgettes, carrots and spinach.

10. Sesame noodles with lemongrass tempeh crumbles

A quick stir fry is an easy way to use up leftovers. This recipe for sesame noodles with lemongrass tempeh crumbles by Vegan Richa makes the most of leftover noodles and tempeh. The tempeh is marinated in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lemongrass and sesame oil for a fresh and zingy punch. You can also add vegetables like red peppers, broccoli or green beans. For a creamy dish, add peanuts or almond butter to the noodles. Top with green onion, toasted peanuts and sriracha and there you have it – a quick and easy dinner.

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