Barbecued Tempeh

November 19, 2006 at 6:42 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

This recipe makes an excellent sandwich filling, that is savory and just a bit spicy. However, don’t expect a traditional barbecue sauce. It’s based on a recipe in the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley.

Makes 8 servings (each serving is a 1/4 block of tempeh). As a main dish, 2 servings might be more appropriate.


  • 1 pound tempeh (2 8-ounce packages)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves, dried


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour all the ingredients except the tempeh in an 8×11 baking pan, and mix well.
  3. Slice each block in half crosswise. Then very carefully slice through the width of each rectangle to make the pieces thinner. The resulting pieces should be about 4in x 5in x .25in (check this!). If you’re not going to use these for sandwiches, you can cut them into smaller finger sized pieces.
  4. Place the tempeh pieces into the baking pan, and tilt the pan to coat the tops of all the pieces. Ideally the tempeh will form a single layer and will be covered by the marinade.
  5. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated, and just left a sticky but slightly wet goo. You may want to flip the tempeh halfway through if the top is getting dry.

My Notes

We often don’t have the thyme leaves, and it doesn’t taste any different. I think to taste the thyme we might need to double the amount. This recipe calls for 1/2 the oil and soy sauce, and 3/4 of the maple syrup of the original recipe, but I think it’s plenty rich, salty, and sweet. I might even experiment with reducing the oil a bit more. I also eliminated the bowl used to mix the sauce–why dirty another bowl when you can mix it just fine in the baking pan? I love it on Ezekiel bread with a bit of soy mayonnaise and topped with sauerkraut. Add a side of vegetables or fruit and it makes a filling and delicious lunch.

Update Feb 2007: I used 3 blocks (1.5 pounds) of tempeh rather than two, but kept the oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup amounts the same. I multiplied all the other ingredients by 1.5. The tempeh didn’t really fit in the 8×11 baking pan–if I make 3 blocks again I will use a 9×13 pan instead. The tempeh turned out pretty well. Both Derek and I thought it was plenty sweet and plenty rich, but I (but not Derek!) thought it could possibly be a tad saltier. It really didn’t take that long to cook. I flipped it after 15 or 20 minutes, and after another 15 minutes it was pretty much done. With the modifications, each 1/4 block has about 167 calories.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-

Serving Size: 1/4 block

Amount Per Serving
Calories 197
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 1.7g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 369mg
Carbohydrate 17.9g
Dietary Fiber 7.4g
Sugars 6.9g
Protein 12.2g
Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 9% Iron 16%


  1. Katrina said,

    This recipe made Dan love tempeh. He dumps in a bunch of cayenne when I’m not looking, but otherwise we’re pretty faithful to the recipe. It’s got a great flavor and is very quick to throw together.

  2. Camp Spoonhowopic :: Meal 1: BBQ said,

    […] Barbecued Tempeh […]

  3. ak said,

    after we had this at your house ansley requested i make it again (pretty impressive within itself) i didn’t have any maple syrup so i substituted honey. we both agreed that you can’t really taste the difference. also, i used two tablespoons of frozen chipotle peppers instead of the powder, which was stupid in hindsight but made sense at the time. there was *no* chipotle flavor to speak of. either way, good recipe. i can’t believe you only give it a b+ 🙂

  4. Another tempeh “bacon” recipe « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] actually didn’t taste that different than  Peter Berley’s barbecued tempeh recipe, which Derek and I have made (a variant of) countless times.  I compared the recipes, and Berley […]

  5. Back to normal life « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] Baked tempeh, apple-mustard or barbecued […]

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