Lemon Chili Tempeh

I love it when people ask me about my vegetarian diet. “Where do you get your protein?” is a particular favorite of mine. And for those of you wondering, it’s super easy! Eating a variety of whole foods will assuredly give you enough protein without giving it much effort. And it’s easy to ensure that protein is high quality, complete amino acid profile too!

That being said though, I do love a solid protein-dense meal. In fact, I think I eat more protein than nearly all the meat-eaters I know! I’m a distance runner and I definitely notice a difference in how I feel when I eat enough protein and fats. I’m always on the lookout for protein-centric recipes, and this one is one of the best I’ve been experimenting with. Tempeh especially is my FAVORITE source of protein.

Nothin’ like a good ol’ slab of protein!


  • 1 8-oz package tempeh
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 plump clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 tsp dried ground ginger (1 tbs fresh ginger would be better)
  • 2 tbs diced onion
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste


First, steam the tempeh block for 10-20 minutes above boiling water. Meanwhile, whisk all other ingredients together and pour into a shallow baking dish. When the tempeh is finished steaming andΒ  is cool enough to handle, slice it and add it to the marinade.

Cover while the tempeh is still warm and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. (Note: I let it sit overnight in the fridge.) Bake at 400 degrees F until the tempeh is golden and the marinade is evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve over rice or other grain, in a burrito, with fresh or steamed kale and avocado (shown), etc.


Do any of you food bloggers have a favorite vegetarian protein recipe? I’d love to try yours!


8 responses

  1. i don’t know a lot about tempeh. is it soy based?! looks more like grains, i’ll have to look into it.. what you’ve done with this looks marvelous! i definitely need lots of protein, i can tell when i’m lacking it, i’m so lethargic.

    • Tempeh is soo good! It is soy based – it’s a fermented soybean cake, from Indonesia originally. It’s a LOT higher in fiber and protein than tofu, is less processed than tofu, and many people find it easier to digest than tofu. Even though its made from soy, you can usually find varieties with added grains like wild rice, millet, and flax too. I like th multigrain ones best. And, unlike tofu, it has a flavor! It has a subtle nutty, bean-y flavor…you’ve got to try it. πŸ™‚ I hear ya on the lethargy! Plus I’m just hungry all day if I don’t eat protein. I’m so glad you like it Audrey!

    • I’m so glad you like it! πŸ™‚ So, I noticed that other marinated tempeh recipes I made steamed the tempeh before marinating and I didn’t know why either! Turns out, the tempeh absorbs a lot more of the marinade flavors after it’s steamed. Also (this ones kinda a guess on my part) it might be less likely to grow bacteria as it marinates? I’ve heard you should steam tofu before you eat it straight from the package for that reason, and I would guess tempeh is more susceptible than tofu because it’s already fermented? The bacteria thing is just a theory…it really does help with the flavor! Marinated tofu soaks up the flavor just fine, but tempeh needs a little help. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for stopping by! Great to have you.

  2. I love tempeh Becca and this sounds yummy! I am particularly fond of multigrain tempeh too and always feel really good after eating it (which I can’t always say about tofu) πŸ™‚

  3. This look delicious. Love the idea of serving it salad-style with avocado. One of my favourite vegetarian protein meals is a good old pot of black bean and corn stew; or home-made baked beans; in fact anything beany!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s