This bbq tempeh is a delicious and easy way to get started cooking tempeh. All you need is some bbq sauce, a pan and some oil. The hearty texture of tempeh is the perfect match with the sweet and smoky flavors of bbq sauce. This versatile plant-based protein goes great over a salad, in a grain bowl, or with a side of your favorite veggies.
Tempeh! What the hell is it and how the hell do you cook it? If you’ve ever wondered about this amazing vegan protein source, then let me show you how to make tempeh insanely delicious.
☘️ What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that is made when whole soybeans have been boiled, fermented and then pressed into a cake. It's is a lot less processed than tofu, since it uses whole soy beans. Here’s an interesting article on how Tempeh is made.
Tempeh is really high in protein; about 18 grams per serving. It’s also high in antioxidants, minerals and fiber.
It originated from Indonesia and it’s still the most popular soy food there. Tempeh is often called “poor man’s meat” in Indonesia because it’s much more affordable than meat. Who ever said being vegan was expensive?!!
🍔 How to use
There are many different ways to cook tempeh. You can use it any way that you would meat. It’s chewy and has a nice, mild, nutty flavor.
This recipe is going to show you you two ways of making tempeh: sautéd tempeh with bbq sauce.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
This simple recipe to meal prep at the beginning of the week. Then you have a healthy, high protein option ready to go.
Made with minimal and basic ingredients, only two, to be exact!
It's a fun and easy way to get started cooking tempeh. The classic bbq flavor tastes familiar, so it makes the tempeh seem familiar, even if you have never eaten it before.
I love that this is made with only three simple ingredients:
- Tempeh: a fermented soy product that's high in protein and fiber. Be sure to simmer it in vegetable broth for 10-15 minutes to infuse flavor and prevent bitterness.
- BBQ Sauce: store-bought BBQ sauce works great for this recipe. Sweet Baby Ray's is accidentally vegan.
- Oil - this helps it to crisp up and get nice and golden brown.
👩🍳 Expert tips
- Before you cook tempeh, simmer it in vegetable broth for about 10-15 minutes. You can also steam it in a steamer basket. This will make sure then tempeh isn’t bitter or dry when you cook it. Simmering it in some sort of flavored liquid infuses it from the inside out with flavor. It becomes tender, flavorful and delicious.
- Don't overcrowd the pan when sautéing the tempeh to ensure even cooking.
- The BBQ sauce can burn quickly, so keep an eye on it and add water if needed.
- Sometimes tempeh has grey or black lines running through it. That’s totally normal and is just part of the fermentation process.
Add in the BBQ sauce and a splash of water. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
🌮 Serving suggestions
This goes really well if you serve it just like vegan ribs. Serve with a simple and delicious vegan potato salad or a grilled veggie pasta salad. Make bbq tempeh bowls with perfect baked potatoes, green beans, collard greens or sweet potato.
Serve this on a toasted bun with some onions, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo for a delicious bbq tempeh sandwich.
Serve this over crisp romaine lettuce, with grilled corn kernels, red onion and a vegan cashew ranch dressing for a healthy bbq ranch salad.
❄️ Storing & reheating
This lasts in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days and tastes even better the next day.
It can also be frozen for up to three months in a freezer friendly container.
Reheat in an air fryer, oven or on the stove.
Tempeh does really well in the freezer and can last up to 10 months. Keep it in its package and keep really well, since the packages are usually air sealed. This is a great option if you see it for sale and you can buy a lot of packages and store them in the freezer until you're ready to cook.
It is best to eat it within 2-3 days of cooking it, but it can last up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
I recommend that you simmer it in some vegetable broth for 10-15 minutes to help get rid of the bitter flavor. You can also steam it. Then go ahead and pan fry it and it will be even more tender and delicious.
🥙 More recipes to try
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Easy bbq tempeh
- 1 package tempeh
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ cup BBQ sauce (or marinade of choice)
- Take the tempeh out of the package. An easy way is to cut the tempeh in half, then slide the two pieces out. Cut the tempeh into strips, widthwise, or into cubes. See the blog post with photos on how to cut the tempeh.1 package tempeh
- Simmer the tempeh in a steamer basket, or in a bit of vegetable broth for 15-20 minutes. Don't skip this part, since steaming helps get rid of its bitter taste.
- Add the oil to a skillet and heat on medium heat for one minute. Add the tempeh and let it pan fry for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes crispy and golden brown.1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Push the tempeh strips to the side and add the BBQ sauce and a splash of water. Stir with a rubber spatula until the bbq sauce starts to heat up. Stir the tempeh strips in the sauce and let it thicken for 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Add more bbq sauce if you like it more saucy.½ cup BBQ sauce
- To grill the tempeh, heat a grill on medium heat. Once the grill is hot, add the tempeh strips. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes. Brush with bbq sauce and add more BBQ sauce or marinade if it starts to dry out.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.