Tempeh is similar to tofu and great for adding protein and texture in dishes. Here's we discover how to use it in a delicious section of vegan tempeh recipes.
Tempeh has been soaring in popularity in Western cooking in recent years thanks to its firm yet chewy texture which makes it a delicious vegan meat substitute protein in dishes.
If you’ve not tried vegan tempeh recipes before or if you’re looking for high-protein vegan recipes, here’s a delicious section of vegan dinner recipes to try today.
What is tempeh?
You may have heard about is but just what is tempeh exactly? Tempeh is a high-protein and fibre-rich ingredient that is similar to tofu and great for adding protein and texture in dishes thanks to its meaty texture.
Originating from Indonesia, tempeh is made by fermenting whole beans – traditionally soya – with a live culture so it has a higher protein content and also a meatier texture. It’s packed with whole food plant-based goodness, heaps of fibre and healthy gut bacteria.
Although tempeh is often used in place of meat thanks to its high-protein content, it’s also a healthier alternative as it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron.
It has a much firmer texture than tofu which makes it a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy the softer texture of tofu but want something with a bit more bite to add to their meals.
Tempeh can be crumbled into salads and pasta dishes to add more texture or added to curries and stews in chunks instead of mock meats. You can even marinate it and fry it to create a deliciously crispy bacon alternative.
How to make tempeh
Although tempeh has been used in Indonesian cuisine for centuries, this versatile ingredient is only just starting to become popular in the West with the rise in popularity of veganism.
This means that tempeh is often much harder to find than tofu as it is typically only sold online and in health food stores. In fact, it was only sold in UK supermarkets for the first time ever in 2019.
Are you struggling to get hold of tempeh but want to try cooking with it? Why not have a go at making your own from scratch!
With a delicious nutty flavour, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought tempeh after you have made your own. Made through a process of controlled fermentation, all you’ll need to get started is some beans (soybeans are most often used), a spoonful of tempeh starter, and a warm place to allow your tempeh to ferment.
To make this fermented bean cake, treat your beans with a starter culture that contains Rhizopusmold spores, and then leave it to ferment at a warm temperature. As the mycelium mould grows, it binds the beans into a dense, white cake.
Tempeh is made through a process of controlled fermentation, so you'll need to beans (soybeans are most often used), a spoonful of tempeh starter, and a warm place to allow your tempeh to ferment. Image credit: Premyuda Yospim via Getty Images
How to cook tempeh
As with tofu, one of the best ways to enjoy tempeh is to bake it first so that it takes on a firmer texture with deliciously crisp edges. Before you bake or grill tempeh, make sure you steam it as this is an important step that will help it to soak up more or the marinade and make it more flavourful.
To ensure your tempeh is infused with flavour, the next step is to marinade it for 30 minutes. Looking for delicious marinade recipes for your tofu and tempeh dishes? Try these 26 truly tasty tofu marinade recipes.
Once your tempeh has soaked up all the delicious flavours, the next step is to bake it in the oven or air fryer for around 20 minutes before adding it to your favourite vegan tempeh recipes.
1. Vegan Tempeh Shish Kebab
Shish kebab is a popular dish from the Middle East that has been cleverly reimagined using tempeh in place of meat. The perfect alternative to a Friday night takeaway or served at a summer BBQ, this is a real crowd-pleaser!
2. Smoky Tempeh Burger Recipe with Black Beans and Mushrooms
If you’re tired of processed vegan burger patties then you need to try this smoke vegan tempeh burger recipe. They’re packed full of flavour with an umami taste thanks to the miso paste, onions, fresh herbs, and spices.
3. Vegan Bao Buns with Tempeh, Peanuts and Zingy Red Cabbage Slaw
We can’t get enough of these soft, pillowy vegan bao buns! They’re filled with peanut tempeh and a fresh citrus slaw so are zesty, crunchy, soft and nutty all at the same time.
4. Tantalising Vegan Tempeh Vindaloo
This spicy vegan vindaloo recipe is so cosy and warming with a good kick of heat from the spices. We’ve swapped out the meat for tempeh to give it a meaty texture without animal ingredients.
5. Ginger Sesame Tempeh Stir Fry
This simple vegan tempeh stir fry recipe is packed full of punchy flavours such as ginger, sesame and soy sauce. It’s sticky, savoury and oh-so-delicious!
6. Vegetable & Tempeh Wellington with Shiitake Gravy
This wonderful wellington might take a bit of preparation to make, but it’s well worth it. It makes for a stunning centrepiece for a Sunday roast, or even on your Christmas dinner table.
7. Vegan Korean BBQ Tempeh with Asian Slaw
This Korean-inspired BBQ tempeh recipe is full of flavour with an amazing crunchy texture. The fresh flavours of the Asian slaw is a match made in heaven for the sweet and sticky Korean BBQ tempeh in this perfect fusion recipe. It’s great for a light lunch or as a tasty filling for wraps.
8. Vegan Indonesian Tempeh Curry
You only need to look at the vibrant colours of this vegan curry to know that it’s a taste sensation! It’s packed with stir-fried vegetables mixed with coconut and citrus flavours and topped off with fried tempeh for added vegan protein.
9. Grilled Tempeh Satay Wraps
If you’re anything like us, you can’t resist the sweet, salty, nutty flavours of satay. Instead of using chicken to make these skewers, we’ve used tempeh as it has a firm but meaty texture. Enjoy them as skewers or swap them up in Swiss chard leaves for a healthy vegan lunch.
10. Crispy Vegan Tempeh Tacos and Spicy Cream Cheese Slaw
These crispy tempeh vegan tacos have an irresistible mix of creamy, spicy, and fresh flavours. To make the tempeh super crispy, we’ve fried it in an air fryer and served it with a super creamy yet slightly spicy slaw to balance the heat from the spices.
11. Vegan Tempeh Paella
Vegan one pot recipes are great when you’re hosting a dinner party as they leave you with more time to spend with your guests. This vibrantly vegan paella is an easy yet impressive option as saffron gives it a beautiful yellow colour while samphire adds a salty element in place of fish.
12. Vegan Teriyaki Tempeh with Satay Dip
The sweet and sticky teriyaki tempeh pieces dipped in creamy satay dressing is a mouth-watering combination of flavours. This dish makes a great starter or light lunch served with a fresh salad.
13. Vegan Seared Tempeh with Celeriac Purée & Wild Mushrooms
For a meal that’s packed with protein, nutrients and a rich, umami flavour, try this impressive seared tempeh dish. Served on a bed of fluffy celeriac pureé, it’s deliciously smoky and earthy.
14. Tempeh Pad Thai
Need dinner in a hurry? This vegan Pad Thai recipe with tempeh is ready to eat in just 20 minutes. Because it’s packed full of veggies and protein, it’s ideal for a healthy weeknight meal when you’re short on time.
15. Vegan Tempeh Reuben Sandwich
A tower of saucy, spicy, smoky, sauerkraut-filled goodness – what’s not to love about this epic vegan Reuben sandwich?!
16. Vegan Gado Gado Salad
This vibrant bowl is brimming with a selection of raw and gently cooked veggies and satisfying chunks of gut-healthy tempeh smothered with lashings of an addictive peanut sauce.
17. 1-Pan Tempeh Bolognese
You only need one pan and 30 minutes to make this filling tempeh bolognese! A winner for those nights where you can be bothered to spend ages in the kitchen cooking and washing up.
18. Tempeh Khao Soi
Khao Soi is a spicy Thai coconut curry soup served with noodles and tempeh. It’s super creamy thanks to the coconut milk, full of Thai flavours and simple to make.
19. Tempeh Hash with Brussels Sprouts
This protein-packed dish is a great way to start the day and will show anyone who thinks they don’t like Brussels sprouts how delicious they can be when cooked properly.
20. Vegan BLT with Tempeh Bacon
This BLT is technically a TLT, but either way, it’s a delicious take on the traditional sandwich, without the cruelty!
Loved these vegan tempeh recipes? Try these delicious vegan jackfruit recipes.