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Top 10 Favorite Uses for Tempeh

by Meghann on January 13, 2012

I have a confession to make.

I love the taste, texture, and idea of tofu, but I hate preparing it. When I lived on my own, I was ambitious. I would make tofu once a week and enjoyed doing it. Then, I moved in with Derek and started living with someone who was not a tofu fan. All of a sudden, all the prep of draining, pressing, baking, etc. just didn’t seem worth it. Now tofu is a rare treat.

However, tempeh? Tempeh has moved up in my books as my #1 tofu alternative. There’s no prepping, it’s easy to cook, and it’s actually not bad raw. It’s also something Derek will eat – a huge win in my book.

Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger. (source) You can crumble it, bake it, fry it, or eat it raw.

Here are a few of my favorite way to prepare tempeh:

#1 – Tempeh, Pumpkin Butter, and Goat Cheese Sandwich

(or any jam or cheese you have in the house πŸ˜‰ )

#2 – Tempeh Tacos

Easy, quick, and just as good as using any other faux meat.

#3 – Vegan Sausage Balls

This was my creation a year ago and I still stand by how well they came out. I must make them again!

#4 – Tempeh Pizza

Did you know you can switch out any meat or tofu topping on any Mellow Mushroom pizza for tempeh? True story. Try the ‘jerk tempeh’ next time you go. Trust me – it’s good.

#5 – Tempeh Fries

Just season and bake at 420 for 10 minutes on each side and did in ketchup just as you would chicken fingers.

#6 – Shepherd’s Pie

The trick is using crumbled tempeh in place of the meat.

#7 – Stir Fry

#8 – As bacon

Ok, it doesn’t taste quite the same as bacon, but it’s still petty tasty

#9 – Tempeh Chili

From Infusion Tea or Dandelion Cafe. I miss those places.

#10 – Salad Topper


Ok, this is cheating. Any food and every food makes a good salad topper. I bet if you plopped down a scoop of ice cream on a bed of lettuce we’d all being going ‘mmmmm….’, but I had to get a photo of today’s lunch in there somewhere.


Tasty, no? πŸ˜‰ Bonus points if you serve the tempeh warm and pair it with got cheese and avocado.

What’s your favorite way to have tempeh?

1 emily January 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

My favorite vegan spot in Brooklyn makes a tempeh rueban that is ridiculously good.

2 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life January 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I have never had it! What would your recipe suggestion be for someone’s first time trying tempeh? I am guessing a cooked version might fare best as the initial attempt! πŸ™‚
Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life recently posted..Winner Chicken Dinner

3 Kelly @ Vegolosophy January 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Hey Meghann! I just came across your blog and look forward to following you!

I love to make Tempeh Meat Balls and Spaghetti! I recently made the meal for my hubby and I for New Years and he loved them! Thats very exciting since he is a meat loving kind of guy πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great day and I look forward to your future posts πŸ™‚ Congrats on the engagement too!
Kelly @ Vegolosophy recently posted..Spa and Dance Party

4 Silvia @skinny jeans food January 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Trader Joes has a great baked tofu, no prep time…! In case you have/get a TJ nearby anytime soon..
Silvia @skinny jeans food recently posted..Vegan Pasta Bolognese

5 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups January 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’ve never cooked or eaten tempeh before. I didn’t realize it was such an easy ingredient to work with. I’ll have to give it a try!
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..My best girls

6 Sarah January 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I had a tempeh sandwich a few months ago for the first time and it was awesome. So filling too!
Sarah recently posted..Deep Breath

7 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City January 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Tempeh sloppy joe’s hands down πŸ˜›
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Pumpkin Overnight Oats

8 Sneakers2Sandals January 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

completely unrelated but you should watch this:

Stuff brides say πŸ™‚
Sneakers2Sandals recently posted..Back 2 Back πŸ™‚

9 Olivia January 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I LOVE TEMPEH. I am not a vegetarian. But it is so damn good.

10 Aneta January 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

how do you cook it? do you bake it or fry it?
ive always wanted to try it but on all the packages it says that you have to fry it and i hate frying things.
can you give a little more detail on how to prepare it??


11 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon January 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Tempeh really is great! And, unlike many other meat alternatives, it is quite cheap!!

I love the sound of that sandwich. YUM!!
And stir fry with tempeh is the best–the tempeh absorbs the sauce better than any meat out there!
Jamie @ Don’t Forget the Cinnamon recently posted..The good, the bad, and the really good (aka dessert)

12 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife January 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I have some–have yet to use it….I need to get on that Tempeh train! haha
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..It’s In The Food

13 Christie January 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I’ve never tried tempeh! It’s pretty hard to find around here in NZ unfortunately. I like the sound of it in a stir-fry, or as fries!
Christie recently posted..Dirty little secret.

14 Jess January 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I saw it in countdown once, years ago, but I haven’t seen it since!

15 Carrie January 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm

How tempehting πŸ™‚ Hehe. Thanks for the suggestions…I may just have to try it!

Also, I just saw your tweet about wedding recaps – I got married in October and have posted quite a few recaps on my blog. My bridemaids carried fake flowers from Etsy and they were a huge hit!! Here’s a link to that post:

Have fun pinning!!
Carrie recently posted..Recent Runs

16 Chelsea January 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I always hear people rave over tempeh but the one time I made it I HATED it. Maybe I just need to try someone elses tempeh to see how it’s supposssedd to take before going and making my own ha.

17 Cait's Plate January 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I agree completely. Tofu is delicious but A LOT of work. I too have been replacing my weekly tofu with tempeh. SO simple and delicious and much less prep! I love some of these ideas and definitely want to put them to use!
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Easy, Healthy

18 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness January 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Wow! You are tempeh-tastic! I have never tried tempeh before…what would you suggest for a newbie? Is the texture similar to tofu? I love trying new things so keep sharing your awesome ideas!
Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..Say Cheese: Eat your way to a Healthy Mouth

19 Miranda @ Living One Bite at a Time January 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I’ve always been afraid to cook with tempeh or tofu because I’m worried that I won’t like. After this post, though, I think I’m really going to give tempeh a try!

20 Dana January 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I love tempeh too! My favorite ways to eat it are on a sandwich with mustard and cheese (I still need to try the jelly combo), or as ‘fries’ like you mentioned… Tempeh fries + BBQ sauce is really good

21 Hillary January 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Love tofu, but still haven’t tried tempeh. I know, I know. I need to get on it!

22 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

One trick I’ve learned recently is to steam the tempeh before using it – which makes it taste EVEN BETTER! Love tempeh, it’s a delicious & protein rich animal friendly food. πŸ™‚
Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..Review: Peas and Thank You Cookbook

23 Meg at January 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I’m sad to say that I’ve never had Tempeh! Which is crazy I think considering how much I love eating vegetarian (we are serious flexitarians here) and how much I typically like meat alternatives. I will have to give it a try soon!
Meg at recently posted..Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

24 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Everything I’ve ever made with Tempeh came from Mama Pea @ Peas and Thank You. And every time it’s been delicious!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..A Few of My Favorite Things

25 Army Amy* January 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I hope I don’t lose my vegetarian card for saying this, but I’ve never eaten tempeh! Now that you posted all these recipes, I have no excuse.*
Army Amy* recently posted..My Brain is Mush

26 Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I have made tempeh every single way you have! It is seriously so good… I also love making a sort of hash out of it instead of potatoes and siding it with veggies and eggs~
Melissa @TryingtoHeal recently posted..Comment on Side Notes: The Blog by Clare @ Fitting It All In

27 Christine @ BookishlyB January 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I’ve never had it before! I’ve eliminated most meat but poultry from my diet and need a new protein source, so maybe I should pick some up. I’m just concerned about the texture…
Christine @ BookishlyB recently posted..Marathon Fueled by Books- Update

28 Lauren @ onegirl'sbalance January 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Mmm tempeh burgers are delicious. Especially one from this place in Ann Arbor, MI called the Arbor Brewing Company…if you’re ever there πŸ˜‰ You just reminded me that I need to try making one!

29 Jess @JessCantCook January 14, 2012 at 12:41 am

I haven’t tried tempeh yet, but I’ve been looking for meat alternatives my hubby might actually eat!

30 sarah January 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

all of these look great! Especially the pumpkingbutter and goat cheese sandwich!
sarah recently posted..Our Wedding Website

31 Allison January 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

I’ve never tried tempeh but love veggie burgers- gotta try it out! Does it come in different flavors?
Allison recently posted..Powerful Quotes

32 alexa @ cleveland's a plum January 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

ok, i had NO clue that you could do all this with tempeh. actually i wasn’t exactly sure what it was until now – so thanks for that. i use firm tofu fairly regularly and now can’t wait to try this out!
alexa @ cleveland’s a plum recently posted..Drinking wine in Bay Village and yacht rockin’ for Seanski’s 30th

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