Fancy a quick and healthy vegan dinner? These amazing tempeh recipes will not disappoint! Indian, air-fried, marinated, baked and more delicious ways to eat tempeh await you in the roundup below.
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What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a patty made from fermented soybeans and sometimes rice or other grains. Like tofu, it can be cubed or sliced, marinated, and cooked using your preferred method. Some popular tempeh recipes include tempeh bacon, tempeh sausage, and tempeh stir fry.
Just because you’ve gone vegan doesn’t mean that spare ribs on the grill stopped smelling good, and with this recipe, you can do more than just smell ribs. You can eat them. These BBQ tempeh ribs evoke the taste and texture of the tenderest ribs drizzled in the sweet-savory sauce that sticks to the ribs.
Meaty sandwiches once again take their place on your vegan menu when you learn how to make these garlic and herb-marinated tempeh steaks. They’re not actually meat, of course, but the savory taste of the garlic, along with the meaty texture of the tempeh, make for one amazing fool-the-palate meat substitute.
Cubed fried tofu counts as a staple among stir-fry fans, but after a while, it can become a major yawn to eat because it’s just so, well, common. This air fryer tempeh kicks the recipe up a notch, adding a savory vibe to your stir fry that’s anything but boring.
A bit reminiscent of General Tso’s chicken, this easy tempeh marinade hits the spot after a long day of chasing after someone else’s life goals. When you put this in the wok, your dinner goals take on a tasty flair as the general gets to work on your hunger. It’s so yummy and fulfilling you might even be tempted to try to tackle work again tomorrow.
Eating this vegan butter ‘chicken’ recipe is like getting a culinary passport to India. Tempeh becomes a substitute for chicken, while fresh cauliflower and masala sauce bathe the dish to create a taste that can only be called “enlightening.”
Seasoned tempeh brings an East-meets-West flavor vibe to these mock chicken wings thanks to Korean cuisine favorite, gochujang. This spicy treat not only flavors the wings but the mayo, too, giving your favorite chicken wings recipe a run for its money.
Chicken tikka masala, with its succulent bites of boneless chicken, savory tomatoes, and spicy curry, would be the perfect dish for a vegan – except for the meat part. Fortunately, tempeh comes to the rescue, replacing the chicken in this dish and bringing the hungry vegan back to the world of Indian cuisine.
8. Tempeh Bacon
For some people, bacon is such an addiction that they write love songs about it, love songs that would never pluck the heartstrings of average vegans like you… Until someone magicked a plate of tempeh to taste just like the bacon of yore, and now vegan and non-vegan minstrels can sing the praises of their favorite breakfast treat.
Tempeh brings Buffalo chicken wings back to your football season, making your veganized football parties a thing to behold. This recipe starts with tempeh in the air fryer until it takes on the taste and texture of chicken. A side of celery sticks and a bit of vegan ranch dip make this dish a touchdown.
This “egg roll” bowl has everything an egg roll bowl should have, minus some eggs. Tempeh gives the bowl texture and flavor, while an assortment of seasoned vegetables, including slaw, gives the dish the egg roll filling.
These vegan lettuce wraps taste like summer in a blanket with their crisp, green lettuce leaves stuffed with tempeh, carrots, and mushrooms and topped with sliced green onions to add a bit of a kick to a summer meal.
On a cold fall night, nothing brings a cozy warmth to the evening quite like this tempeh mushroom Bourguignon. Perky cremini mushrooms and tempeh soak up the wine-infused juices of this savory dish. Serve on a bed of rice and with a glass of Chianti.
13. Tempeh Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs left the table once you went vegan. Fortunately, this perennial favorite dish snuck back on the table because someone wisely concocted savory vegan meatballs from tempeh, the vegan wonder ingredient that has the power to bring meatballs back to the table.
Biting into these crispy tempeh tenders is like taking a bite out of your childhood, with its days filled with chicken nuggets, fast food playground slides, and orange juice to wash it all down. While you might have left the chicken nuggets and playgrounds behind, this tempeh-as-chicken substitute reminds you there’s still fun to be had at lunchtime.
If ever there was a vegan curry stew, this would be it. Plump tempeh squares bathe in a creamy mushroom sauce that’s sweet, thanks to the coconut milk, and savory, thanks to a blend of seasonings, like garlic, onion, and soy sauce.
16. Kung Pao Tempeh
In your pre-vegan life, if you loved noshing on kung pao chicken, then just imagine coming back to your favorite Asian cuisine flavors, thanks to some chopped crispy vegetables, a sprinkling of peanuts, and hearty tempeh immersed in a spicy brown sauce. You won’t miss the chicken one bit after you take your first taste of this dish.
17. Tempeh Stir Fry
As a newly-minted vegan, keeping the ingredients for stir fry on hand can mean the difference between remaining plant-based and slipping back into the meat-based dark side. With an assortment of vegetables and spongy tempeh, you’ll remain on the light side of the culinary force when you stir up this recipe.
18. Tempeh Gyros
Gyros, that gift from the Mediterranean, just got veganized with this tempeh gyros recipe. Instead of getting your protein from lamb or chicken, fried tempeh nestles snuggly next to fresh sliced veggies and all the savory sauces that make gyros taste great!
19. Tempeh Chili
If you’re looking for a go-to vegan recipe, it’s hard to imagine a dish that’s better suited for the task than chili, and this vegan chili, with its savory sauce, flavorful beans, bits of seasonal corn, and a smattering of tempeh for some extra protein is a dish you’ll go to again and again.
20. Tandoori Tempeh
When you put these tandoori tempeh skewers on the grill, you’ll go from the sounds of savory sizzle to savoring every sauce-dipped bite in just a few minutes flat. This dish is so fun, so tasty that you’ll be tempted to fire up your grill every night just to keep the taste-fest coming.
With the texture of tender beef and broccoli and the flavor profile of savory sesame and peanut butter, this marinated sesame peanut tempeh adds a sweet and spicy richness to steamed rice and broccoli (or any kind of garden-fresh veggie delight). It tastes so good you’ll be tempted to linger over dinner long past midnight.
If you thought vegan breakfasts were limited to oatmeal and smoothie bowls, these delish tempeh maple breakfast sausage patties will change your mind. They have the taste and consistency of the breakfast sausage you grew up with but without the guilt. Fry them up as patties, or put them in your vegan omelette as sausage crumbles.
23. Harissa Tempeh
This harissa tempeh adds spice to your life in ways you can only dream of. Imagine how harissa-spiced cubes of tempeh could dress up your salad or make a bowl of plain yellow rice sing a saucy song. It’s so spicy good, you’ll be calling the firetruck before dinner’s over.
24. Tempeh Hash
If you grew up with hash and potatoes for breakfast, you know how stick-to-the-ribs good this dish is. This tempeh-based recipe recreates this morning favorite for a new generation, taking out the fatty meat and leaving behind flavorful chunks of potatoes and red pepper that’ll leave you full all day.
This veganized version of the Reuben sandwich is a delectable recipe, filled with mock corned beef – aka tempeh-as-corned-beef – and the spirit of the Blarney stone. If it were not, how else could you explain how magically this recipe replicates the original without all that meat and cheese? It’s a magic we’ll never reveal.
26. Tempeh Bolognese
Spaghetti bolognese gets a facelift with a bit of tempeh and just the right spices in this slurping good Italian dish. As you twirl the last spaghetti strand on your fork, you’ll wonder if it’s against the rules of etiquette to lick the remainder of this delish bolognese off your plate. Go ahead. We won’t judge you.
This creamy tomato-covered pasta with little triangles of panko-coated tempeh will become your next favorite winter night comfort dish after just a few bites. The Cajun-spiced sauce will warm your tummy and give you something to dip those delectable panko tempeh triangles in as you finish the last drops of dinner.
28. Tempeh Taco Meat
If you can’t get enough of tacos, then whip up a batch of this savory tempeh taco meat and keep it in the fridge. Its texture and flavor mimic the best ground beef taco recipes, allowing you to remain happily vegan without having to go taco-free in the process.
Who said that sandwiches for vegans were limited to PBJ? We certainly didn’t because we have the recipe for this tasty tempeh and avocado sandwich. The tempeh “meat” fills the sammy with savory flavor, while the avocado adds a touch of creamy goodness to each bite.
When you bite into one of these baked Buffalo tempeh wings, you’ll swear that you’ve been transported into a famous wings restaurant and have blown your vegan diet. While the taste is transformative, no diet-blowing is required to enjoy a plate of hot wings just like you remember ‘em when you chow down on this faux chicken wing recipe.
This flavor-infused, Asian-inspired orange tempeh recipe evokes the taste and flavor of your favorite orange chicken recipes at the local Chinese restaurant. Flavored with soy sauce, garlic, and fresh OJ, this dish makes a great starter or, if you’re really ambitious, an excellent meal in its own right.
What are your favorite vegan tempeh recipes?
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Yes, like most fermented foods, tempeh is very healthy. The fermentation process introduces gut-healthy bacteria to the tempeh. While it’s denser and higher in fat and calories than tofu, the serving size of tempeh is smaller, and it’s very filling and nutrient dense.
You can take the bitterness out of tempeh by boiling, steaming, or microwaving it prior to cooking. These methods remove some of the bitter compounds created during the fermentation process. Marinating the tofu with a flavorful marinade can also reduce some of the bitterness without having to precook the tempeh.
Yes, it’s safe to eat raw tempeh as long as it’s pasteurized, which is usually the case with store bought tempeh. However, raw tempeh tastes very bitter and unpleasant, so it’s not the most ideal way to eat tempeh.