Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Tempeh Dishes

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Whether baked, fried or on its own, tempeh makes a great meat substitute in a variety of dishes from soups to stir-fries. Here are a few of the most popular (and easy!) vegetarian and vegan tempeh recipes to try.

  • 01 of 08

    Sweet and Sour Tempeh

    Sweet and sour tempeh


    JokoHarismoyo / Getty Images 

    Here, tempeh is transformed into a healthy vegetarian and vegan version of a Chinese restaurant favorite - sweet and sour tempeh. Tempeh simmers with pineapples and peppers in an easy homemade sauce of tangy vinegar and sugar. This is a great recipe to explore the versatility of tempeh as a substitute for meat in any number of dishes. Here, the sweet and sour tempeh is shown plated on a bed of Israeli couscous for a nutritious meal.

  • 02 of 08

    Tempeh Fries

    Like French fries? Try tempeh fries! In this easy recipe, tempeh is breaded and lightly fried for a crunchy high-protein alternative to ​French fries, which is particularly great for vegetarian and vegan kids! This recipe suggests dipping your fried tempeh sticks in a vegan curry-mayonnaise sauce, but you could also try these with ketchup, soy sauce or even barbecue sauce.

  • 03 of 08

    Vegetarian Tempeh Tacos

    Tempeh makes a great meat substitute in basic dishes such as vegetarian tacos! These vegetarian tempeh tacos are a simple recipe which spruces up the tempeh with a quick preparation in Mexican flavors such as cumin and cilantro. Add the rest of the taco fixings, and mix yourself a margarita to accompany your south of the border, cholesterol-free feast. 

  • 04 of 08

    Easy Barbecue Baked Tempeh

    Barbecue baked tempeh

    The Spruce / Lauren Krohn

    If you're looking for an easy vegetarian and vegan tempeh recipe to try, it doesn't get much easier than this easy barbecue baked tempeh recipe. Pre-simmered tempeh is brushed with barbecue sauce and baked to crispy tangy perfection. It couldn't get easier. Use this easy barbecue baked tempeh recipe to fill up a vegetarian sandwich, or pile it up next to macaroni and cheese and coleslaw for a Southern-inspired comfort food meal.

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  • 05 of 08

    Tempeh "Chicken" Salad

    Most vegetarians enjoy the taste of mock chicken, and this tempeh "chicken" salad recipe is no exception. It combines traditional chicken salad ingredients - including mayonnaise (or veganaise), celery and a touch of curry powder - with tempeh instead of chicken. Serve it on a bed of lettuce, or between lightly toasted bread for a chicken salad sandwich. This is one of those recipes that will do best made ahead of time, so it has plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator, allowing the tempeh to soak up all the flavors.

  • 06 of 08

    Vegan Tempeh Chili

    Tempeh chili

    Jonelle Weaver / Getty Images

    Feeling like you need a protein boost? Vegetarian chili is always a high-protein dish, but adding tempeh in makes it even more so. The chewy texture of tempeh lends itself well as a stand-in for meat in any chili recipe, so toss some into your favorite chili, or, try this vegan tempeh chili recipe with lots of beans, spices and bell peppers.

  • 07 of 08

    Tempeh Teriyaki Stir-Fry

    This simple tempeh teriyaki stir-fry with bell peppers and onions is delicious. Pair it with rice, noodles, quinoa, or another whole grain for a complete meal, or if you're in a hurry, use instant rice or quick-cooking rice noodles.

  • 08 of 08

    Tempeh Tomato and Vegetable Soup

    Tomato carrot soup topped off with tempeh

    Photo from Lightlife Foods 

    Made with plenty of fresh carrots and topped with lightly sauteed tempeh, this tempeh, tomato, and vegetable soup is a great light meal. Pair it with a crisp green salad and crusty garlic toast, or, for the kids, use it as a dipper for a vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich.