Tempeh is a really great source of vegan protein at nearly 40% of the tempeh being formed of protein which is essential for muscle growth, tissue repair and cell maintenance in the body.  It’s also a complete protein as it contains all 8 essential amino acids.  It is made from whole soya beans which are fermented in a controlled process which compacts the beans into a firm block which can be sliced or chopped before using in your recipe.  Ther fermentation helps to break down the phytic acid in the soya beans (phytic acid is thought to bind to minerals within the body and thus inhibiting their absorption). The fermentation also helps with digestions as it aids the enzymes to break down the nutrients into a more accessible form.

Tempeh differs from tofu in that it uses the whole beans and keeps them intact, whereas tofu is processed and uses an extract of the beans which are ground up to form the curd we know as tofu.

Tempeh is not so easily available in the UK but some supermarkets are now starting to sell it which is really great news although it might be expensive until it becomes more widely available.

The easiest way to prepare and eat tempeh would be to buy it ready-made in a pack either with a sauce or plain, ready to add your own sauce to.  Ready prepared tempeh just requires oven baking for about 15 minutes and then it is ready to eat.  The longest method would be to actually make your own tempeh at home which you can do by using soya beans, cooked for 20 mins in boiling water and then fermenting in a special culture.  Getting hold of the special culture is difficult so for now, I am happy to buy my tempeh ready-made!


If you can buy plain tempeh and would like to add your own sauce, again, the sauce can be shop bought or made from scratch depending on your availability of time and ingredients.  I do prefer to make sauces from scratch as most shop-bought ones have a high amount of sugars and may also include additives to ensure longer shelf life. Making your own sauce is not hard at all, it just requires you have the ingredients in your cupboard or fridge. Once you start to make your own sauces, you will start to have a collection of things such as tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, tamari, lemons and limes, nutritional yeast flakes, oils and liquid smoke!  A bit of this and a bit of that combined can take any recipe to the next level! Experiment and see what you come up with!

Serve the tempeh with a selection of greens including coriander, spinach, watercress and broccoli plus some corn, tomatoes and soya beans, spring onions and some chickpeas and quinoa for even more plant-based protein!  Finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime juice and you have the most amazing meal! So full of protein, fibre, nutrition and flavour!

BBQ Tempeh with Quinoa, Corn, Spicy Chickpeas & Greens

The Balanced Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 1 serving


If using shop-bought pre-prepared tempeh

  • 1/2 packet BBQ Sauce Tempeh

To make your own

  • 200 g tempeh cut into finger sized strips


  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar or use lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground dried garlic
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 TBSP liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp dried onion granules

Remaining ingredients

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/4 cup cooked soya beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked frozen peas
  • 1 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1/2 lime

Spicy Chickpeas

  • 100 g cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 TBSP tamari
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder



  • If using shop-bought tempeh - cook as per packet instructions.
  • If making your own sauce, simply mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, then coat the tempeh strips in the sauce. Place on a baking tray and oven bake for about 15mins.

Spicy Chickpeas

  • Place the cooked chickpeas, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, tamari, oil and chili powder into a frying pan, mix together and fry over medium heat for a few minutes until they start to crisp and dry out.

Build the dish

  • Once the tempeh is cooked, assemble the bowl by adding all of the ingredients - using my picture as guidance. Finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime juice.
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