Once upon a time I used to pick up tempeh from the grocery store every week. I often ate it for lunch on sandwiches in place of deli meat (you can eat it raw*). It’s cheap, it has a neat texture, and it’s a blank slate for any kind of flavor. I am not sure why I got out of the habit of buying it regularly, but while at Trader Joe’s last week I picked up a pack. The 3-grain kind is my favorite : )
*Edited to add: By “raw” I mean uncooked, straight from the package. Most commercial brands of tempeh are pasteurized and therefore any risky bacteria are already “cooked” away. If you’re consuming a brand other than Trader Joe’s, Lightlife, etc, make sure it has been pasteurized before consuming without cooking.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans in a natural cultured process that forms into a cake of sorts. (I wonder why tempeh isn’t made with other kinds of beans? Anyone know?) It has an earthy flavor sort of like a mushroom and a similar almost spongy texture too. It’s normal for it to have some black spots on the surface, so don’t be weirded out by those. In this 3-grain kind, rice, barley and millet are embedded throughout the soybean “cake” providing texture and additional nutrition. Look for tempeh in your grocery store near the mushrooms.
A 4 ounce serving of the grain-style of tempeh (Lightlife also makes a brand), usually half a package, has 230 calories, 9 grams of fat, 13 grams of fiber, and 19 grams of protein. It’s also a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2 and magnesium.
There are so many fun ways to cook and flavor tempeh. Ashley has quite a few good ones!
This recipe is anything but fancy. Just a simple glaze poured over some cooked tempeh served on a salad. It’s totally a reflection of how I cook: 1, 2, eat.
The main ingredient is orange marmalade. My friends at Frog Hollow Farm love to drop treats in the mail, and I found this one last week. Other than slather it on toast, I was brainstorming ideas to use it in a recipe when this one came about. The marmalade has quite the bite to it from the naval orange peels but is one of the best I’ve had.
I made a glaze to pour over my tempeh –
I cooked the tempeh in some coconut oil on both sides until it started to brown
At which point I poured on the glaze
And let it bubble away. The sticky orange coated the tempeh and added a great sweet/savory flavor.
Orange Marmalade Glazed Tempeh
- 1 package 3-grain tempeh
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp crushed garlic roasted or fresh
- Coconut oil for cooking
- Slice tempeh in half lengthwise to make it thinner. Then cut into triangles.
- Heat coconut oil in skillet.
- Sear tempeh on both sides about 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, mix marmalade, oil, soy sauce and garlic and pour into pan over tempeh. Toss to coat and cook for 1-2 minutes, until glaze thickens and begins to caramelize.
- Remove all from pan and serve.
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
I’ve never had it. You kind of lost me with “earthy” and “mushroom flavor” but if it absorbs that marmalade, I may put it on my “to try” list. I have to ease into plant based proteins. I’m a wimp! 🙂
In that case you should try the “Fakin Bacon” tempeh first. 🙂
jenna k says
agreed- mushrooms are pretty much the only “normal” food i just won’t eat. the texture freaks me out for some reason. i’m sad to learn they are reminiscent of each other. i have been meaning to try tempeh, because i try to avoid non-fermented soy products as much as possible (so no tofu).
Ali @ Peaches and Football says
I’ve never had Tempeh before. Part of me thinks it will taste weird, but it likely will just taste different. I know many people who love it though and I’m thinking covered in that tasty glaze would be a great way to try it out!!
I’ve never tried it either, but I’m thinking with orange marmalade, it’d be like a meat-free version of orange chicken?
Paige @ Your Trainer Paige says
Yummm – I love range marmalade. It’s supposed to be very good for you, too!
Jane @ Not Plain So Jane says
Thanks for sharing what tempeh is for us & all of the good nutrition it provides! I think it’s nice to know what you’re getting into before you buy a product sometimes!
I’d love to try it, but I’m too lazy to look for and cook it 🙂 haha.
I have to make a quick comment because I feel that as an R.D you should be aware of food safety and what recommendations you are making. You say that tempeh is ok to eat “raw” but this is just wrong. You cannot and should not eat raw tempeh as it is fermented, uncooked soybeans. In fact, it is suggested that you wash your hands after handling raw tempeh, just as you would with raw chicken:
The tempeh that you get from Trader Joes is not raw. It has been precooked and it completely safe to eat directly from the package, but it is not raw:
Please rephrase this in your entry to make it clear that you are eating precooked, cold tempeh rather than raw tempeh, which is incredibly dangerous.
I looked this up several other places a while back and other sites said it was completely fine to consume raw.
This shop says OK. Since it’s selling the product, I consider it a trusted source.
Lightlife, another manufacturer, says it’s fine to eat straight from the package due to pasteurization:
So the jury may still be out, but at least from Lightlife and TJ’s I feel comfortable eating it raw. (People might be more cautious with a homemade or small-batch made and ask the producer).
This recipe sounds really tasty (orange marmalade – yum!)
I was also really surprised you recommend that “you can eat it raw” when resources online say it’s not safe to consume raw. It seems like it would be responsible to be more clear about the safest way to eat it; it’s not actually raw tempeh, as the above commenter pointed out, but in fact, it’s “pre-cooked, cold tempeh.” From the links you posted, it’s clear that the product is not safe to eat raw, but is ok to eat cold out of the package.
“Lightlife products go through a pasteurization process after they have been packaged. This pasteurization step is a critical food safety step in our process and fully cooks the product.”
So, it sounds like “raw” is an inappropriate word and shouldn’t be recommended as a safe way to eat this food.
I’ll change it to “uncooked”
I hate to be that person, but Trader Joe’s markets this as precooked, not uncooked or raw. It’s safe to consume out of the package, but it’s definitely been cooked.
Having said that, despite a love for tofu leftover from my vegetarian days, I’m just not into tempeh!
Joshua Hampton (Cooking Classes San Diego) says
I’ve never had tempeh before, either. And I would never have thought you can use marmalade for cooking that way. For me, marmalade is for slathering on bread or crackers. Well, I learned something new today, and thanks for that.
Amanda, RD- The Nutritionist Reviews says
I’ve never tied tempeh before but it does sound really interesting and healthy for you!
This looks so yummy! I have to ask though about raw tempeh—I ate it once, and it made me feel a little queasy. According to tempeh.info, tempeh should not be consumed raw. Here’s what they say:
Can I eat raw tempeh?
Raw tempeh is intended to be cooked to an internal temperature of minimum 80°C (176°F) for a minimum period of 60 seconds. After handling raw tempeh you should wash your hands and all surfaces, cutting boards, knives and utensils with soap and hot water. Tempeh manufacturers that sell raw tempeh must inform their clients about above safety measures, for example by mentioning it on the label.
Is it really safe to eat raw tempeh? Thanks for your guidance!
See my other comment with some links – I think it depends on the package, but TJ’s and Lightlife say OK
I think the point of confusion is just that “packaged” does not necessarily mean “raw.” It sounds like the most commonly available tempeh these days is pasteurized and/or pre-cooked in some other way, so the brands you mention are safe to eat out of the package, but they are not raw.
Maybe it would help if people thought of this like meat – lunchmeat comes cold in a package but has been cooked and is ready to eat. Other similar sliced meats (I’m thinking bacon but there are probably others) come sliced in a package but need to be cooked.
The bottom line is that if there’s any doubt, check the label of the food you are buying!
I’ve never tried it – I don’t care for mushrooms, so I’m not sure about it… It does look tasty browned & coated in marmalade!
Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner says
I only had tempeh once before on a TLT sandwich. I really liked it, then I forgot to buy it again! But the marinade I used was pretty delicious: http://designsondinner.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/tlt-its-dynamite/
Have never heard of tempeh but your recipe looks awesome!
Will have to try.
I just made buffalo tempeh tenders yesterday for lunch. I soaked them in buffalo sauce, coated them in panko and baked. I added another brush of buffalo sauce at the end. They were delicious! I think I definitely want to try your recipe.
Natalie @ Will jog for food says
That looks great! I haven’t had tempeh in a while, but I used to love drizzling a little honey over it. A little sweetness really helps the flavor.
I never had tempeh before, but reading all these blogs make it look popular! I might have to pick one packet up next time I go to TJs
“It’s totally a reflection of how I cook: 1, 2, eat.”
I think this sums up why I love your blog. Accessible, healthy eating. No obscure ingredients, recipes made in minutes, and dishes that look like something that can be cooked any night of the week.
Sara @ fitcupcaker says
Ive never made tempeh but now I def want to try it, it looks so easy to cook too!
Alex @ Raw Recovery says
Thank you for posting this recipe–I’ve wanted to eat more tempeh but haven’t found a way of cooking it that I really like. This looks delicious though! I had a tempeh reuben sandwich a few days ago at a restaurant, but it was better in theory than execution.
I just tried tempeh for the first time yesterday and loved it! It was great to see this post today and learn about another way to try it. I don’t have marmalade right now though, do you think wildberry jam would be a good substitute? Thanks! 🙂
Kaila @healthyhelperblog! says
I love tempeh! But I actually prefer it raw! Is that weird?! LOL Something about the texture is just so delicious to me!
coconut and cheese sounds like a strange combination!
Love tempeh! I usually eat it the same way every time but I need to try other ways. This sounds so good. Also, thanks for mentioning the “black spots” – I don’t know how many packages I’ve thrown away because I thought it was mold!
Like you, I love my tempeh “uncooked” – cubed and added to salads for a protein and fiber packed meal. But, I tend to like “earthy” food. For those who don’t, you’ll likely find it to be rather blend plain/uncooked.
Oftentimes I make an orange sauce using freshly grated ginger (yum!) fresh squeezed orange juice and a bit of agave/honey for extra stickiness and saute it in a pan w/a spritz of coco oil like you did your similarly flavored sauce.
Oftentimes I’ll just look for a flavor, spice, condiment that inspires me on that particular day; if I’m in the mood, I’ll use barbecue sauce (Bone Suckin’!) sometimes and either marinate/bake it or saute it in a pan.
For many years I favored tofu, but it has been known to cause me stomach distress. The fermentation process and the fiber/added grains makes tempeh one of the healthiest, most recommended sources of soy so that has definitely been my preferred choice of soy for quite a while. Plus, it really satisfies my lunchtime hunger – again due to the combo of protein, fiber, fat – unlike tofu, which contains much less protein, is nearly void of fiber and lacks the embedded grains.
I’ve been meaning to try TJs brand, but keep forgetting to check it out on my infrequent trips there. So, I stick to the Litelife brand you mentioned and generally go for the flax or three grain variety which I pick up in the refrigerated milk/alternative milk section at WF (not in produce).
Lisa @bitesforbabies says
I can’t believe I still haven’t tried tempeh!!! It’s not so easy to find where I live. I can get it at Whole Foods, but that means a 30min trip across the border every time ;-(
Manny "the health nut" says
Kath, you had me at organic, and 3 grain… love it and thanks for this and some other alternative recipes here. We all need more ideas and tasty alternatives to so much of the processed stuff that surrounds us every day.
rebecca @ blueberry smiles says
Looks great! Frog Hollow is so expensive….if it wasn’t, I’d put it on everything!
I’ve had some mango chutney in my fridge that I used in another recipe and wasn’t sure what else to do with it, but now I think I’ll try it on tempeh in place of marmalade! It sounds like a great idea.
annemi / 52weeksofdeliciousness says
I have never tried tempeh before or cooked something with it, but I need to go and browse the Finnish grocery stores, hopefully I’ll find some here too!
Kath, would you say you liked tempeh right off the bat the first time you tried it? I’ve never had it in a restaurant but have tried it several times at home and just don’t love it. I want to really like it because it would be a good protein source. Maybe I’ll try it cooked the way you or Ashely cook it and try again. I’m hoping it is a “it will grow on you” type of deal. I don’t have a picky palate so this drives me to try a tempeh I’d like! 🙂
I totally get why you wouldn’t like it. It’s kind of a strange food! I love it for its texture more than its taste, but that has grown on me. I loved the texture right away. If you don’t care for it, pick another food to play around with : )
Ella P says
I love tempeh! since I have to drive miles in order to purchase it, I buy more than one piece at a time and freeze it (it freezes wonderfully, it does not change its texture at all). I quickly prepare it by searing it in soy sauce & sesam oil.
Tempeh is mainly made from soy beans, but one can find special versions made from other types of beans or wheat.
i haven’t yet tried tempeh yet but will definitely grab some on my next trip to TJs. thanks for making it appear so accessible!
[email protected] says
Orange Tempeh is one of my favs….love sweet chili tempeh and baked tempeh with squash and pomegranate molasses…great in curries too!
OMG, this.looks.so.good. I have gotten out of the habit of buying it because my nearest store that carries it is 45 miles out of my way, but it looks like a road trip is in my future!
Russ Turner says
I strongly agree with the comments on the cooking of tempeh as there is a popular school of thought that it should never be eaten uncooked. No questions over its nutritional value being high in protein , dietary fiber and vitamins, but not for me in its raw state, still to each his (and her) own.
LOVE these informational posts! I think your blog is at its best when you blend your quick-fix but healthy foodie mentality with your RD know-how and your down-to-earth personality. Thanks!
Could I have used any more descriptors? #lazywriter
Maria Tadic says
I love tempeh! I make a “bacon” flavor version and let it marinate over night. Then I grill it off and stick on a sandwich with roasted plum tomatoes – awesome! The best “BLT” ever!
How timely, I have some tempeh marinating in the fridge right now! The marinade is soy sauce, water, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. I’ll be stir frying it tomorrow with veggies and an Asian sauce. Yum!
Alex @ Delicious-Knowledge says
Looks delicious! I love tempeh. I make my own, you can make it from different types of beans. I make it with garbanzo beans- that’s my favorite kind! It’s surprisingly easy once you buy a starter: http://delicious-knowledge.com/?p=745
Let me know if you try making your own!
Homemade tempeh is *the best*!!! So much better than store bought, it’s really amazing. It’s a bit of a process, but it’s a fun project kind of like brewing beer or making cheese! I’ve heard you can make it with other beans and grains, but I’ve only done soybeans. I want to try it with lentils!
Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) says
I love tempeh, and I like to eat it “uncooked” as well. I usually just cube it up and put it on top of a salad with some feta cheese and black olives. Love the flavor combos.
I also love it cooked though, so I’ll be trying this recipe for sure!! Sounds yummy. 😀
Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin says
Orange is one of my favourite flavours to pair with tempeh! I also like to marinate it in soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup and garlic then pan fry it. Tonight I’m actually making a tempeh curry!
Kelly Williams says
Can I a bite? Hmm… Too tempting and delicious! I wonder how it really tasted like.
Oh adore everything orange flavored!!! This is a great recipe 🙂
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey says
Anything marmalade is great for me. I am going to cook this recipe over the weekend. Thanks for your suggestion!
mary @ minutes per mile says
I’ve only had tempeh once or twice. Would you say it’s a good protein substitute? I mean, does it have equal grams protein and about the same carb levels as, like, a chicken breast or something? I always feel like it’s too grainy to be a good lean, low-carb protein but have never really looked at the nutrition in depth.
Yes. The chicken has a slight edge on grams of protein, but they are pretty comparable – 24 vs. closer to 34 grams in 4 ounces
Jody, RD says
I definitely wouldn’t call it a low-carb protein as a serving of tempeh typically has 15 grams or more of carbs. That’s not necessarily HIGH carb, but if you are diabetic or are monitoring grams of carbohydrates for other reasons, that would definitely be a contributor.
betsy shipley says
We produced Betsy’s Tempeh in Mich. for 9 1/2 years developing a new process without the use of plastic bags. We sold it in both patty and grated form that our customers loved. Since retiring we set up our website showing our easy method for making tempeh at home. Currently filed a patent for a tempeh incubator which is in the pre-prototype stage of development. The next step is to find someone or a small cooperative group to make the prototype and then manufacture the tempeh incubator appliance that would be useful for restaurants and small cooperative shops producing healthy food for the local community. Any questions please feel free to write since tempeh has been a large part of our life for over 35 years and we are still going strong at 80!
Try asian most famous way to enjoy tempeh: Fried tempeh. here is the recipe:
I am a dietitian from Malaysia 🙂
We made this tempeh recipe last night- It was fabulous 🙂 Thanks for the idea!!!!
Hey Kath! I loooved tempeh but found out that soy tends to upset my stomach. This recipe is making me drool!
Also, I’m having a lara bar giveaway on my blog today if you’re interested 🙂
lindsay @ fuel my family says
I keep wanting to try tempeh but i am weary of soy, especially processed soy, as a female and having little girls (since women who have the breast cancer gene are supposed to stay away from soy because of the hormones in it). I guess everything in moderation…
Just made my first ‘raw’ tempeh sandwich inspired by you! It was delicious. Tempeh, golden plum preserves and spinach on a whole wheat roll. Thanks for introducing me to this simple and delicious way to use tempeh 🙂
OMG, you had me at “orange glazed” …
I don’t do tempeh uncooked, but I *may* be guilty of putting raw eggs in my smoothies now and then. Probably worse than uncooked tempeh. Still not (sick or) dead yet!
You forgot to mention that its like $2 a package! An awesome deal for such great nutrition. I love to sautee cubes in sesame oil and soy to add to salads
This is a very informative post. I love the colorful pictures. I really wanna try and make the Orange Marmalade Glazed Tempeh. It looks so delicious and healthy. I.m gonna write down this recipe and act on it and hope it turns out well. I,m not a very good cook but when u have have easy cooking instructions form above then I can do this, Thank you.
This was my first time trying tempeh and this recipe is really tasty! The tempeh gets a wonderful glaze, almost like my favorite General Tso’s chicken 🙂 Thanks for posting this!
Pat Cobb says
This is one interesting dish. I will try your recipe because it looks really good and I am sure it is delicious. I’ve never tried anything using orange marmalade in a cooked meal before so this is going to be a first. By the way, your blog is really informative and entertaining. I love it!
Yum! Tempeh is a perfect dish to make for the family. The orange marmalade looks so delicious too! I hope your family enjoyed it!
Ashli - The Sweat Revolution says
I eat a plant based diet, but surprisingly (perhaps) I’ve never eaten tempeh. This looks good, I might have to give it a try!
Diana @ Eating Made Easy says
I must have missed this post…because I love tempeh! What a creative (and easy) way to add bulk and protein to a salad and turn it into a full meal. The options are endless with marmalade flavors! A few friends of mine make the best homemade marmalades with what ever is in season. Thanks for the great idea kath! http://www.preservation-society.com/marmalades.html
Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl says
This sounds SO flavorful and SUPER easy to make!! Thank you for sharing :).
I am experimenting for the first time tonight making tempeh.
Is it normal for the tempeh to crumble? I cut the block into trianges but had some pieces loose their shape.
Yes, that’s normal. There’s not much you can do to prevent it other than perhaps switch brands?
I ate tempeh for the first time, last night. I do not want to eat tofu, as it is not great for my digestive system, and not fond of some of the cautions I have read about it. Now, tempeh? That’s a different story. I loved it!
Sliced it up, fried it up in some olive oil, and ate 1/2 of the package. I could have eaten all of it, but wanted to see how it “sat” on my stomach. Really, really good stuff. I had the Light Life 3 grain tempeh, and am sold on how good it is!