Easy Peanut Tempeh
Easy Peanut Tempeh- all you need is 6 pantry ingredients to make this flavorful peanut tempeh. Perfect for a main dish or for adding protein (20 grams per serving!) to salads and pasta. (vegan + gluten-free)
Is it just me or are you always in the mood for peanut butter too? I found it especially alluring during my first trimester when virtually nothing sounded good. I didn’t want to cook either so I just ate endless amounts of peanut butter toast and bouncy peanut noodles from one of our favorite local restaurants. It was glorious.
Of course it was only a matter of a time before peanut tempeh had to happen. I had a mean craving for it recently after accidentally buying two cases of my favorite tempeh online. With a bunch of tempeh overflowing in my freezer, I threw a quick peanut sauce together from what I had in my pantry and BOOM…this recipe was born.
Normally I would fancy things up with sesame oil, fresh ginger and lime but honestly it doesn’t really need those things to taste good. Would they make it better? Probably. But if you need a recipe for what you have already on hand, this one is perfectly delicious the way it is!
WHAT IS TEMPEH?
I know tempeh can be a foreign ingredient for a lot of people so I want to take a second to explain what it is. Most commonly made from soybeans, it’s basically just cooked and fermented beans pressed into block form. Like a brick of fermented beans.
I realize that doesn’t sound attractive but when you prepare it with the right flavors it’s delicious and SO GOOD FOR YOU. The process of fermentation reduces all of the phytic acid that can cause bloating and indigestion from eating beans. This way you still get all of the incredible benefits of beans like antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and protein without the digestive upset.
How to Make Peanut Tempeh
Like most fermented foods, tempeh has a bit of a strong flavor that can be off putting to some. That’s why it’s super important that you steam it first. This step opens the pores and allows it to absorb whatever sauce you pair it with.
- To steam tempeh you simply place it in a large skillet filled with an inch of water. Bring to a low boil, add tempeh, then reduce heat to low, cover and steam for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile whisk together the marinade in a large bowl. Once the tempeh is done steaming, add it to the bowl and toss until it’s evenly coated. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Transfer tempeh to a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. That’s all there is to it!
I like to serve mine with roasted broccoli and a baked sweet potato for a complete meal with very little clean up. But it would also be delicious as a topping on salads, buddha bowls, or pasta. Like peanut noodles. :)
Make it Soy-Free: Lightlife makes a great soybean tempeh that’s sold in most major grocery stores but if you’re looking for a soy-free alternative, Hempe makes one with hemp hearts, chia seeds and chickpeas. I usually buy a case from Amazon because I can’t find it locally and it stores really well in the freezer!
Tamari is also soy based but can easily be substituted with coconut aminos instead.
Make it Nut-Free: If for some reason you landed on this recipe and can’t have peanut butter, sunflower seed butter would make a good replacement.
Add More Flavor: My goal was to make this tempeh from pantry ingredients but that doesn’t mean you can’t sass it up a little! Feel free to add sesame oil, lime juice, fresh garlic and/or ginger, or sriracha. If you’re using unsalted peanut butter without added sugar you might want to add sweetener (such as maple syrup or coconut sugar) and a touch of salt. Make sure to taste test and add more as desired!
Want more tempeh inspiration?
Check out these favorites:
- Easy Tempeh Bacon Bits
- Sheet Pan Cabbage Tempeh with Mustard Tahini Vinaigrette
- Peanut Sauce Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
- BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Tangy Apple Slaw
- How to Make Tempeh Bacon
- Garlic Herb Baked Tempeh
- Balsamic Dijon Tempeh Buddha Bowls
- Smoky Maple Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts
Easy Peanut Tempeh
- 12 ounces tempeh
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, see notes
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari, or coconut aminos for soy-free option
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- Cut the tempeh by slicing in half lengthwise then slicing into triangles. If the block of tempeh is thick you may also want to slice it in half widthwise.
- Fill the bottom of large skillet with approximately 1-inch of water and bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer then carefully place the tempeh triangles into the water. Cover with a lid and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Add water 1 tablespoons at a time to thin until a smooth sauce forms. For me this was about 4 tablespoons. Taste test to see if you prefer more flavor and add more of each ingredient according to your preference. Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce for coating prior to serving as the tempeh will dry out a bit after baking.
- Once the tempeh is done steaming, transfer them to the shallow bowl and stir until evenly coated. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. If you let it sit for longer than 2-3 hours or if the room temperature is greater than 75°F then you’ll need to cover and store in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the tempeh on top then bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Brush with reserved peanut sauce, serve warm and enjoy!