‘Barbecue’ tempeh

Contributed by Leticia Nagata, RD

‘Barbecue’ tempeh

Tempeh, which can be used in many of the ways you can use tofu, is made from cooked and slightly fermented soy or other beans and formed into a patty. Other grains, such as barley and spices, may be added to commercially prepared products.

Whether baked, fried, or on its own, tempeh is a tasty addition to a variety of dishes, such as soups, salads, and stir-fries. Try this "barbecue" tempeh recipe as a healthier alternative to chicken or steak, or when you want a plant-based option that is chewier than tofu. 

Note: Tempeh is sometimes found in the freezer section or in the refrigerator case. Because it is a fermented product, it may have some mold on it, which is normal.

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Servings: 3, as a main dish


  • 1 block tempeh
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt (optional)

Salad (optional)

  • Nori seaweed
  • Cabbage
  • Shaved carrots 
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green onions


  1. Slice tempeh in strips and place in a single layer on a small baking pan.
  2. Combine balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, soy sauce, and spices. Pour mixture over tempeh to evenly coat. Let the strips marinate while the oven preheats.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Once the oven is heated, bake tempeh for 20 minutes, turning tempeh halfway through. Remove from oven once tempeh has browned.
  5. Optional: Serve on a salad of nori seaweed, cabbage, and shaved carrots. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 222
  • Total fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 320 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 16 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Total sugars: 8 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Note: Nutrition information calculated for barbecue tempeh only.