Spiced Tempeh

rena williams wellness

I remember when I first decided to cook with tempeh. I ran out to the grocery store. And. Could. Not. Find. It. 'Why is this so difficult to find?' I thought. Because I can be a bit A type, I took finding it as a challenge. I wasn't going to feel defeated by a grocery store shop. ;)


Finally, feeling as though my gosh have I forgotten how to grocery shop? I asked the store clerk (novel idea, I know) where can I find tempeh?


Oh it’s right here, in the frozen food aisle, right next to the strawberries. He said. Right. Of course...


So to save you some time at the grocery store (and so you feel pro) you’ll most likely find tempeh in the freezer section. It’ll be right next to the strawberries. ;)


I don’t typically eat soy but tempeh is something I make an exception for. I talk about why I choose not to eat the majority of soy products over here.  


But today, let’s chat about the goodness of tempeh. I appreciate it for a few reasons. It's minimally processed in that the entire soybean is being used instead of a fraction or isolated component. This means a lot of its nutritional goodness stays intact. Tempeh is a great source of plant based protein. There’s over 20 grams of protein in a standard serving. It’s also high in iron, calcium and zinc, which we need for healthy oxygenated blood, bones and gorgeous skin.


Tempeh goes through a fermentation and culturing process. Just like you use a starter or culture to begin making kombucha, turning soy into tempeh begins with a culture as well.


This process makes soy much more digestible, which means absorbing all its nutritional value is a lot easier on your digestive system. When you open a package of tempeh it looks like a flattened pancake and often you’ll see black or grey flecks in it. This is part of the fermentation process and is totally normal. 


Tempeh also has a high amount of fibre, which is fantastic for stabilizing blood sugar levels, helping you feel full for longer periods of time. 


I do find it to have a slight nutty flavour so I like to marinate it. And the beauty is it takes on whatever flavour you marinate it with, so its natural nutty flavour fades away.


I’ll leave you with one of my favourite tempeh recipes. This recipe is super flexible. You can make the marinade in the morning and then dinner is pretty close to being ready when you get home from work.


You can serve this dish with rice, quinoa, salad, add it to a wrap, etc. The options are endless. I hope you enjoy. Share with me in the comments below one of your favourite ways to enjoy tempeh. 

spiced tempeh

Spiced Tempeh

serves 2 as mains or 4 sides


240g (8 oz) package of organic, non-gmo tempeh

3 tbsp coconut aminos or gluten free tamari

3 tbsp finely chopped shallots

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp grated ginger, skin removed

1 tsp honey

1/4 - 1 tsp finely chopped chili pepper (use according to your heat tolerance)

1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground

2 green onions, roughly chopped


How to:

  • Chop tempeh into 1 inch cubes or slices. Set aside
  • In a small bowl, mix coconut aminos, shallots, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, ginger, honey, chili pepper, salt and peppercorns together, creating a marinade
  • Add in chopped tempeh, stirring well
  • Cover and let rest for minimum 15 minutes, up to a few hours
  • When ready to cook tempeh, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat 
  • Add in marinated tempeh and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so it browns evenly
  • Remove from heat and stir in green onion
  • Serve warm with steamed rice, quinoa or over a green salad