If you’re new to tempeh, it can be a confusing protein source to decide to cook with. Tempeh tends to be one of those foods that you’ve probably heard about or seen on a menu, maybe bought it once and just didn’t even know what to do with it. Tempeh can be quite mysterious…but only until you know what to do with it! Then, it becomes a staple in your diet.

Bought in a small loaf-sized package, tempeh is simply whole soybeans which are softened by soaking, cooked, fermented and formed into its loaf/patty block. While it remains a good soy-based source of protein, it’s actually not the same as tofu, and you’d know that the second you bit into it. The texture is much more savory and nutty, while tofu is very mild in flavor. The exciting part is that there are SO many things you can make with tempeh. This list will absolutely inspire you to pick up some from your local grocer today and start creating in the kitchen!

1. Tempeh Bacon

The flavor of bacon is actually not as difficult to emulate in a meat-free way with ingredients such as soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke.

Tempeh makes it easy to create because all you have to do is slice up your “bacon” slices and marinade it for a couple minutes in an easy homemade sauce before pan frying it in some extra virgin olive oil. Tthe result is something worth getting excited about.

https://simpleveganblog.com/tempeh-bacon/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: A Simple Vegan Blog

2. TLT Sandwich

That’s Tempeh, Lettuce & Tomato if you were wondering, and it’s glorious. Not only is it those three things, it can be adorned with sprouts & avocados and some vegan mayo too!

Another simple 2-ingredient marinade is really all you need to make this perfect sandwich. Bake in the oven for 20 mins to make a whole batch that you can use all week long in your lunches. So easy, so delicious. An absolute must-try!

https://www.thegardengrazer.com/2016/06/vegan-tlt-sandwich-tempeh-lettuce-tomato.html PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: The Garden Grazer

3. Peanut Butter Basil Tempeh With Broccoli

Marinade that tempeh in lime juice, soy sauce, ginger and garlic and you have an amazing base to this inspiring recipe. A simple homemade peanut sauce can be made in minutes and this whole dish is finished in under half an hour!

With the rich peanut sauce and fresh basil leaves, this recipe will feel like a gourmet dinner at home, with everything you need to be completely satisfied. It’s also inexpensive to make!

https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/peanut-butter-basil-tempeh-with-broccoli PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Connoisseurus Veg

4. Tempeh Breakfast Sandwich

I feel like all too often we forget about how amazing breakfast can be. We are usually rushing out the door and trying to just get things done, that when it comes the time that we have the time to make something, we’re stumped. At least I can be.

This savory breakfast sandwich is made to perfection with a tempeh patty served on an English muffin, some sliced avocados, and fresh lettuce. Mouth. Salivating. 

https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/savory-tempeh-breakfast-sandwiches/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Connoisseurus Veg

5. Healthy Vegan Gyros With Tempeh

When it comes to Greek food, the hand-held Mediterranean burrito called the Gyro might be the top of many lists. But how can you enjoy this on a plant-based diet? Easy, with tempeh!

This recipe is all about the marinade! With ingredients like Greek oregano, lemon juice, tamari, veggie broth and of course – garlic, the tempeh transforms into a vegan “meat” that is simple to die for. Serve it up with some potatoes, onion, tomatoes, lettuce and vegan tzatziki in a pita and you have yourself one heck of a meal.

https://www.veggiesdontbite.com/tempeh-gyros/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Veggies Don’t Bite

6. The Tempeh Reuben

Marinade and grill your tempeh in broth, balsamic vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, onion, paprika and garlic before grilling or pan frying for 5 minutes per side. Then, you can build your Reuben sandwich.

Served on rye roast with homemade Russian dressing, and of course – a generous serving of Sauerkraut to make this sandwich something dreams are made out of.

https://www.mydarlingvegan.com/2017/05/vegan-tempeh-reuben/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: My Darling Vegan

7. Tempeh Sushi Rolls

Forget take-out or dine-in sushi, with a couple key kitchen tools like a rolling mat and some nori (seaweed paper) you can easily make sushi at home, for much much less.

This recipe simplifies the process for you, making it easy to follow step-by-step for a perfect sushi roll you can slice and serve. Stuffed with whatever you choose or make it as shown here with flavored tempeh, cucumbers, and avocado).

https://veganlovlie.com/yummy-tempeh-sushi-vegan/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: My Vegan Lovie

8. Kale & Quinoa Salad With Maple Mustard Tempeh
If you’re looking for something healthy, refreshing and easy to bring along on a summer picnic, then this salad recipe is for you.

Easily assembled with ingredients you will know already (nothing crazy, promise!) this recipe comes together to complete your summer dishes!

http://frommybowl.com/kale-quinoa-salad-maple-mustard-tempeh/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: From My Bowl

9. Tempeh Enchiladas

Oh, enchiladas. They really do have a special place in our hearts, don’t they? But they do come across as rather intimidating to make, but good luck finding a vegan version at your local Mexican restaurant!

Good news though, you can easily make them at home using tempeh as your filling inside the enchilada. This recipe uses regular cheese, but if you’re vegan, you know there is more than enough other options out there you can use and taste just as great!! Give this recipe a try!

https://www.foodconfidence.com/2017/03/06/skillet-tempeh-enchiladas/#_a5y_p=6384857 PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Food Confidence

10. Tempeh Taco Bowl

Ok, now we’re all just craving Mexican food. So be it! This recipe cannot be missed. Why? Because it’s ridiculously easy with the help of some tempeh and taco seasoning, the rest is just building up your taco bowl.

With your taco seasoned tempeh, quinoa, lettuce, avocado, corn and chopped red peppers, you have a rainbow medley of colors, textures and nutritional benefits that makes this meal something you can feel proud to it. How’s that for taco night?

https://sinfulnutrition.com/vegan-taco-bowl-recipe/#comment-98069 PHOTOS & RECIPE HERE: Sinful Nutrition

11. Vegan Buffalo Baked Potato Pizza

Before I ever jumped on board with the vegan diet, I was at a restaurant that had this potato pizza I was dying to try. Only weird thing was, it also had something I didn’t recognize…something called…. “tempeh”. Long story short, I was pleasantly surprised by this cool new protein in my diet and came back to enjoy that pizza again and again.

So this recipe brings back some fond memories. It also reminded me that recipes like this serve up everyone at the table. Yes, even carnivores. Trust me.

https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/vegan-buffalo-baked-potato-pizza/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Connoisseurus Veg

12. Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Instead of slicing and cooking up your tempeh, this recipe has you breaking it all up and getting it sauced up too!

Served up with some complimenting veggies, this saucy tempeh mixture is piled into lettuce wraps for an easy, healthier dinner option that will knock your socks off.

https://www.emilieeats.com/teriyaki-tempeh-lettuce-wraps/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Emilie Eats

13. Vegan Carbonara With Tempeh Bacon

I feel like this recipe doesn’t even need convincing, but I’ll try anyhow. Let’s start with that fact that this meal only takes 10 minutes of prep time and a total of only 25 minutes of you even needing to exist in the kitchen before dinner is served. Oh, heck yes.

Then, let’s chat about how this crumbled bacon-like tempeh is mixed into a bed of spaghetti with a cashew-based cream sauce that will win against any traditional versions of a carbonara. This might be a “treat yo self” type of meal, but really – you almost can’t not try this.

https://veganheaven.org/recipe/vegan-tempeh-carbonara/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Vegan Heaven

13. One Skillet Vegan Hamburger Helper

The nostalgia of this recipe!! There’s nothing I love more than a one-pot dinner because there’s nothing I like less than doing dishes. So this recipe is off to a great start.

Using tempeh as the “meat” in this recipe you can combine some classic elbow macaroni noodles, marinara sauce, vegan cheese sauce (don’t worry – there’s a recipe included for that too!) and some seasonings to bring it all home. When you’re in need of some comfort food, keep this recipe on hand.

https://neuroticmommy.com/2016/04/08/one-skillet-vegan-hamburger-helper/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Neurotic Mommy

14. Sesame Peanut Tempeh Skewers

Due to the fact that tempeh marinades so well, it’s no wonder there are so many Asian-inspired recipes that use it! These skewers are easily assembled and cooked on the stovetop, so if you’re not sure how to barbecue (hey, there are some of us that don’t!) then no worries, this recipe will be easy!

Serve over rice or quinoa and top with some kale or spinach, toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, chives, and of course – some homemade vegan peanut sauce (recipe is included for that too!).

https://fullofplants.com/sesame-peanut-tempeh-skewers/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Full Of Plants

15. Lentil Tempeh Sweet Potato Chili

No matter what time of year, chili is always a good idea. It’s easy to make, everyone loves it, and it fills you up like nothing else. It’s no wonder it makes an appearance so often in our weekly meal plans!

To make this meat-free chili, lentil and tempeh come in and help create a rich texture and flavor that will have you going back for seconds…or thirds. We don’t judge. If you’re cooking for a crowd, good news – this recipe serves up to 10 people!

http://www.produceonparade.com/lentil-tempeh-sweet-potato-chili/ PHOTO & RECIPE HERE: Produce On Parade

Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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