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In this simple recipe the piquant spices infuse the tempeh with “meaty” flavors making it so yummy everyone will love it, even if they’re not vegan.

Marinated Grilled TempehLast week I wrote a blog with grilling recipes but didn’t have anything for vegans.  Sorry if you felt neglected, here is one of my favorite vegan grilling recipes.  Even though I am not a vegan I love tempeh especially on the grill.  It requires at least 2 hours of marinating so plan ahead.  It’s very easy and taste’s phenomenal.  I think it looks like “ribs.”

Grilled Marinated Tempeh

What is tempeh?

Temeph is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented whole soybeans. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.   It has a nice “meaty” texture. Read more about tempeh here.

Is tempeh good for you?

You may have heard that soy is not good for you.  That is not entirely true but it is better for you when it is fermented.  It’s my favorite way to eat soy.   During the fermentation process, the phytic acid and antinutrient levels of the soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties and natural probiotics become available to your digestive system.

Fermentation also greatly reduces the levels of dangerous isoflavones, which are similar to estrogen in their chemical structure and can interfere with the action of your own estrogen production.

The best thing about tempeh is it has the same high quality protein as meat including many B vitamins. It is a complete protein including iron and calcium.  The fermentation process breaks down the whole soybeans increasing their digestibility and absorbability. It’s hearty texture and nutritional profile makes it one of the best sources of vegetarian protein. Four ounces of tempeh has 18 grams of protein.

Marinated Grilled Tempeh

How to Cook Barbecued Tempeh

Tempeh is easy and fun to cook with because it absorbs other flavors quickly.  Marinating it and cooking it on the grill gives it great flavor.  It’s perfect for a summer barbecue.

Slicing the tempeh into strips works well for the barbecue. For this recipe cut the block of tempeh into 6-8 pieces to make “ribs.” If you prefer it thinner, slice the entire block of tempeh in half the way you would a bagel first.  I like it thicker for grilling.

Most of the tempeh you’ll find in the refrigerated section of your store is cooked and vacuum sealed.  In theory it’s ready to eat but I recommend steaming it for about 15 minutes to remove any bitter taste it may have.  Steaming also makes the tempeh softer and allows it to more readily absorb any seasonings or marinades.

To steam tempeh: set up a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and place the cut tempeh in the basket. Cover it and let it steam for 10-15 minutes.  Remove it from the steamer and pat it dry.  Now you are ready to marinate it.

In this recipe I marinate the tempeh for at least 2 hours or overnight in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano and sriracha.  The smoked paprika enhances the delightful smoky flavor you get from the grill.

Heat grill on medium high.  Place marinated tempeh on a clean oiled grill.  Cook 3-5 minutes on each side until the tempeh begins to brown.

Grilled Barbecued Tempeh   

How to serve Barbecued Tempeh

Grilled barbecued tempeh can be served as a main dish along side vegetables.  I enjoy it as a quick snack, it tastes great right out of the refrigerator.  It’s also good on a salad.  Serve it as an appetizer dipped in barbecue sauce too!

This is one of my favorite summer dishes and I make it frequently.  If you don’t have a grill you can bake it in the oven until lightly brown.  You won’t get the good grill marks but it still tastes great.

Enjoy your barbecue.

‘In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.’            John Steinbeck

Marinated Grilled Tempeh

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these other vegan grilled dishes:

Grilled Black Bean Burgers

Grilled Porto Bello Mushrooms

3 Ingredient Grilled Zucchini

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Grilled Marinated Tempeh

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Marinated Grilled Tempeh

Marinated Barbecued Tempeh

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart -
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x


Tasty grilled marinated tempeh everyone will enjoy even if they are not vegan.


  • 1 (8-ounce) package organic tempeh
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons wheat free tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce
  • barbecue sauce for dipping (optional)


  1. Slice the tempeh into 6 or 8 rectangles, depending how wide you want the “ribs” to be.
  2. Steam the tempeh for 15 minutes to soften.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, tamari, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano and sririacha in a shallow dish or plate.
  4. Arrange steamed tempeh in dish, turn to coat all over with marinade, cover and refrigerate, turning halfway through, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Prepare a grill for medium heat cooking.
  6. Grill tempeh, flipping once, until browned and hot throughout about 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Transfer to a plate and serve with barbecue sauce on the side if desired.
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Category: Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
  • Cuisine: Vegan

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  • Janice says:

    Thanks Ingrid for the tip about steaming tempeh before marinating it. I have some tempeh marinating now but hadn’t thought of steaming it first. I’m going to try it next time. Janice

    • Ingrid DeHart says:

      Good I’m glad you discovered this little “tip”. It also seems to absorb less oil when it’s steamed first.

  • charlotte says:

    Ooh.. I eat lots of tempeh and can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks so much Ingrid. I’m going to give you a call soon. I enjoyed our last conversation and would like to stay in touch. Our daughter and her friend are coming east tonight for about 10 days. When they leave, I am definitely going to reach out to you. I love the fact that you consistently post recipes, etc. on your website. You’re so dedicated. AND, your website is my “go to” place for great recipes.

    • Ingrid says:

      Thanks Charlotte, nice to hear from you. I’m thrilled you use the recipes from my website regularly. I look forward to seeing you sometime soon.

  • cal says:

    Just made this and it was great! Easy to follow recipe, just the right amount of marinade, and super yummy, will definitely make again. Served with grilled pineapple, perfect!

  • Stacy says:

    Outstanding. Marinated for an hour and very flavorful. This recipe is a keeper!

  • NewVeggieDad says:

    This was my first time making tempeh. The flavors were good but it was a little dry. Maybe I grilled too long?

    • Ingrid says:

      Hi, I’m thrilled you tried the recipe. It’s possible you cooked it too long but tempeh does tend to be a little dry like beans. Next time grill for less time, be sure you steam it for 15 minutes and let marinate for at least 2 hours. Keep us posted.

  • katarzyna escobar says:

    Fantastic recipe.

  • Kevin says:

    I followed the recipe. Steamed for 15 minutes, marinated overnight (actually almost 20hrs) and the whole family said no. I really wanted to like tempeh, but it sounds like we’re sticking to tofu.

  • sen says:

    Honestly the best. I use it to barbecue tempeh all the time. I cannot recommend this enough!

  • Diane says:

    First time trying tempeh , saving this recipe! Thank you

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