Savory Tempeh Steaks


Another mainstay in my weekly recipes is tempeh.

As with tofu, my relationship with tempeh has evolved over time. The first time I tried cooking it, I just slapped it in a hot pan and served it alongside vegetables and rice. It was awful. Dry and flavorless.

Just like tofu, tempeh must be infused with the flavors you want to enjoy. I have grown to appreciate the versatility of this protein-packed soybean product after trying it as a base for meatloaf, crumbled and seasoned like taco meat; sliced, marinated and pan-fried for sandwiches or bacon, stir-fried in pepper steak–even barbecued!

  1. Tempeh varies by brand. I suggest trying several until you settle on the one you like. Some brands can be *bitter. I prefer West Soy brand. It has a neutral flavor and holds together quite well for all my various preparations.


2. Fabricate! For this recipe the tempeh is simply cut into four equal size patties.


3. Marinate! The most important step with tempeh is the flavoring. Here is the marinade for this recipe:


4. Roast! Bake the tempeh for 30 minutes, then turn it over, baste and bake for another 20-30 minutes until most of the marinade is absorbed and the tempeh turns a deep, roasted color. The marinade will be absorbed into the tempeh, giving it a delicious flavor.


Now the tempeh is ready to be paired with your favorite sides and perhaps a compatible sauce or gravy.

*Bitterness in tempeh can be alleviated by first steaming it for 20 minutes after cutting into desired shape for your recipe.


  1. Thanks for the tips and recipe, Melanie! I’ve really enjoyed tempeh when eating it out, but haven’t had much success at home. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to marinate it like tofu! And I love your suggestion for using it for a taco filling. Definitely going to give it another try.

    1. I get it, Kelly! It took awhile for me to get used to the texture and flavor of tempeh, number one. I started out by using it as a ingredient such as in meatloaf or meatballs. Over time we became friends and finally I could use it as a ‘main’ ingredient in a dish. For this recipe, I would say it is mostly about the technique. The flavors/marinade are adjustable. The flavor must be absorbed into the tempeh for best results. Here we are allowing it to bake into the tempeh at med-high heat. Most recipes I’ve read advise soaking beforehand, but I’ve only found that makes it soggy and prevents soaking up flavor. I hope you find a recipe that works!