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Different Ways to Cook Tempeh

One of the most common questions I get, working at a vegetarian food company, is how do you cook tempeh. I find that many people – vegetarian or not – seem to get intimidated by the unique, but healthy food. Perhaps it’s because it’s packaged in a long block, it isn’t extremely common, or maybe it’s the word fermented in its description. But I’m here to tell you not to judge a book food by its cover. Tempeh is an extremely versatile food and is honestly very easy to cook!

Tempeh has a very distinct taste, but when paired with another flavor profile, it soaks everything in and takes on a new persona. I like to think of it in the same way when tackling how to prepare it. You really can create almost anything.

Slice and dice the tempeh however your heart desires, remember even sized pieces are essential for making sure they cook evenly too! If you really want to have fun, crumble it with your hands into little pieces. A concern I often hear from those trying to reduce the amount of meat in their diet is that they feel like something is missing from their meal leaving them unsatisfied. Crumbled tempeh can be added into many different dishes, such as chilies or sauces to give it that extra somethin-somethin. I promise you won’t be hungry after eating a hearty portion of tempeh!

Once you’ve decided what size pieces you’d like to work with, play with how you want to prepare it. If you think the natural flavor of tempeh is a little bitter for your liking, here is a tip: steam the tempeh before continuing with your preparation. If you’re comfortable cooking with sauces, you can marinate your tempeh before cooking so it takes on the flavor of the rest of your dish. My personal favorite is frying it a little bit of olive oil, drizzling Braggs Liquid Aminos over each of the pieces, and then adding it to my stir-fry of the day.


The key is to experiment. Depending on the dish, sometimes I like it crispy, and other times it works better if I only heat the tempeh long enough to get it warm. Once you become familiar with the product, it can become a useful ingredient that has the ability to transform your favorite recipes.

Want to experiment with the ingredient for yourself? Post a comment here telling me how you plan to try it and I’ll pick a few of you to send free coupons to. And then I want to hear how it turned out! Trust me; it really is worth a try! We even have some great recipes for you to start off with if you aren’t keen on experimenting in the kitchen. 😉

What are your experiences with tempeh? Are you a fan already, or maybe someone who has yet to try it?


Lightlife Team Member

About Blogitarian

Lightlife's resident blogger and veggie enthusiast, Rachael, gives you an insight into the vegetarian world as well as a peek at what’s new in Turners Falls.


23 thoughts on “Different Ways to Cook Tempeh

  1. thanks for posting this, I’ve never cooked tempeh before! Looking forward to trying it. 🙂

    Posted by Izzy | July 21, 2011, 5:33 pm
  2. One of my favorite things to do with tempeh is to slice it in into rectangular blocks, marinate it (soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, herbs), pan fry it on both sides and then serve it as a sammich on toasted bread with all the fixins. Can’t be beat!

    Posted by Nick | July 21, 2011, 5:49 pm
  3. I made kebobs with it years ago. Cubed it, marinated it, and grilled it up, and skewered it. Simple as pie! Tasty too!!

    Posted by Kolleen McGrew | July 21, 2011, 11:28 pm
  4. Yay!! I’ve been waiting to discover a resource like this. Love your blog 🙂 I’m barely starting on the vegan path and am very intimidated by all of these new foods that I didn’t even know existed, and I have no idea what to do with them. I will definitely be following your blog. Oh, I really like the pics too. THANKS! -tori

    Posted by austinimagery | July 22, 2011, 11:40 am
  5. I have the a minos and am going to put them on the tempeh now! We have been vegetarians for two years now but I still struggle w a regular meal!
    I am going to soak the tempeh, then sauté it with spinach and sun dried tomatoes – topping it off at serving w some feta. Any ideas? I really enjoyed your article!

    Posted by Kim | July 22, 2011, 11:47 am
  6. These sound like great ideas for using tempeh! Great post. ^^

    Posted by AikoVenus | July 24, 2011, 1:18 pm
  7. My favorite way to cook tempeh is to simply marinate it in a mixture of sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar, some sliced garlic, green onions and ginger. Slice the tempeh into 6 slices; marinate each side about 15 minutes, then grill.

    Posted by Janis | July 30, 2011, 4:43 pm
  8. I use it uncooked, cut into sticks and wrapped in rice paper (i.e. into a roll) with a sliver of cucumber, jicama, sprouts, scallions and a dob of my favourite sauce, usually satay.

    Posted by Boohoo | September 26, 2011, 2:05 am
  9. I have been eating Lightlife tempeh for nearly as long as I have been a vegetarian (1979) but have more recently become aware of GMO foods and the need to steer clear of them. I do not see that Lightlife tempeh is marked “non-GMO” anywhere on its label. Is it non-GMO?

    Posted by Jennifer Addeo Arbach | October 11, 2011, 6:52 am
  10. BTW-I eat tempeh nearly every morning sauteed in coconut oil, topped with cheese, homemade safflower oil mayo and sandwiched between two slices of organic wholegrain bread. A substantial, protein-packed breakfast that holds me for hours. I’m eating it now as I write this post!

    Posted by Jennifer Addeo Arbach | October 11, 2011, 6:55 am
  11. Bought tempeh for the first time today, so I’m studying ways to prepare it.

    Posted by Karen Burney | March 30, 2012, 3:28 pm


  1. Pingback: Vegetarian Cookbook Giveaway: Jazzy Vegetarian « Blog-itarian - March 29, 2012

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