Three easy tempeh marinade recipes that taste amazing. Make all three in just 15 minutes and freeze for later use. Made with my tried and tested foolproof method for cooking tempeh that removes all of its bitter taste.
Transform tempeh into a protein you actually want to eat! Tempeh is a healthy way to add plant-based protein to any meal. It's made from fermented soybeans, so it's also excellent for gut health. Plus it's loaded with heart-healthy fats, and low in calories.
My foolproof method for cooking tempeh transforms it into a meal even kids enjoy. For this reason, I can proudly say that I'm a mom of three tempeh-loving girls!
- Tempeh is made from soybeans that have been fermented and compacted into a firm, dense cake. Some varieties also contain flax, brown rice, quinoa, and spices. It is chewy with a nutty, earthy taste. Each block is typically 8 ounces and serves about 3 people. Sometimes the block of tempeh will have some gray spots on it. This is from the mold used for fermentation, but it is completely safe to eat.
- Balsamic vinegar: Choose the best quality you can afford. A good quality balsamic vinegar will have its ingredients listed as 'Grape must, tradizionale’. This means that it has been aged for at least 12 years, and the vinegar will be thick and sweet. Cheaper vinegar is typically combined with wine vinegar, caramel, flavorings, and other ingredients. These are fine for vinaigrettes or glazing but will lack the depth and complexity of a Balsamico Tradizionale.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Tempeh - choose any variety (some contain flax, brown rice, or quinoa)
- Italian herbs - use dried thyme, basil, oregano, or an Italian herb blend as desired
- Tamari - Use soy sauce or tamari. Choose gluten-free tamari for a gluten-free meal, and one reduced in sodium for a healthier, low-salt option.
Step 1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a vigorous simmer. Add the tempeh and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
Step 2. Meanwhile, make the three marinades and transfer them to three separate freezer-safe containers. Then break up the three blocks of tempeh into crumbles using your hands.
Step 3. Add one block of crumbled tempeh to each of the three containers. Mix well until the crumbles are well coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Step 4. To cook, sauté over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
💡 Expert Tips
- Simmering the tempeh beforehand is optional but well worth the extra 10 minutes. It opens its pores so it can more readily absorb the flavors of the marinade. This helps eliminate the bitter flavor.
- Marinating tempeh: Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes for best results. You can also make these recipes ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze them.
- I use reusable Ziploc-type bags to marinate the crumbles. It makes it easier to massage them in the bag to coat them with the marinade. You can also massage them in a large bowl.
- Storage: Store the marinated crumbles in an airtight or freezer-safe container if you are not using them right away. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
🙋🏽♀️ Recipe FAQs
Tempeh is a cake-like substance made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. This fermentation helps make tempeh easier to digest so it does not make you feel bloated or gassy. After fermentation, the soybeans are formed into a patty similar to a very firm vegetable burger or a block. A 3-ounce serving of tempeh has about 160 calories and 18 grams of protein.
1. Simmer the block of tempeh for 10 minutes beforehand. This helps remove the bitter flavor and opens its pores so it can absorb more marinade.
2. Crumble the tempeh to increase its surface area. This way, more of the tempeh is exposed to absorb the marinade.
3. Use a sufficient amount of a flavorful marinade. Rub the crumbles in the marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
3. Sauté the crumbles over medium-high heat so they become crispy.
Yes! Make all three recipes in 15 minutes and store them in three separate freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to use them, or thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
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Three Easy Tempeh Recipes (Marinades)
- 3 (8-ounce) blocks tempeh (1 (8-ounce) block for each marinade
- ¼ cup reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Simmer the tempeh: Bring a large saucepan of water to a vigorous simmer. Add the tempeh, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Make the marinades: Meanwhile, make the three marinades and transfer them to three separate freezer-safe containers.
- Make crumbles: Break the three blocks of tempeh into crumbles using your hands. Add one block crumbled tempeh to each of the three containers.
- Marinate: Mix well until the crumbles are well coated in the marinade. Let crumbles marinate for at least 15 minutes before using. Or refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- To cook: Sauté over medium-high heat in a large skillet for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Continue with the desired recipe.
- Asian-style tempeh: Add to stir-fries, fried rice, rice bowls, or noodles for additional protein.
- Taco-style tempeh: Add to tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, taco salads, pizzas, and rice bowls for additional protein.
- Italian-style tempeh: Add to sheet pan recipes, veggie bowls, salads, grain bowls, or roasted veggies for additional protein.
- Simmering the tempeh is optional but well worth the extra 10 minutes. It opens its pores so it can more readily absorb the flavors of the marinade. This helps eliminate the bitter flavor.
- Marinating: Let the tempeh sit in marinade for at least 15 minutes for best results. Or refrigerate or freeze for later use.
- Storage: Transfer to an airtight or freezer-safe container if you are not using them right away. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.