This Vegan BBQ Tempeh is a delicious and flavorful way to enjoy tempeh. The tempeh is marinaded for 15 minutes then grilled or pan-fried until crispy and smothered in a saucy, smoky, sweet and tangy homemade BBQ sauce. It’s easy to make, flavorful, and hearty!
This BBQ Tempeh recipe is a healthy, fun plant-based alternative to your usual grilled meats. Pair this in a bowl with grilled vegetables or packed on a sandwich with slaw. I promise this will be a hit at your next barbecue!
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh originated in Indonesia and is made from fermented soybeans. The soybeans are cooked and fermented then packed into a block. The white stuff that is formed between the soybeans is actually mold but not the gross kind of mold you want to avoid. It’s totally normal and natural and a healthy edible type of mold. Read my Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Tempeh to learn all you need to know about cooking tempeh!
I used a small cast-iron grill pan for the tempeh but that is optional. You can simply cook this tempeh on the stovetop in a frying pan over medium-high heat with a bit of oil.
- Frank's Red Hot
- Nutritional Yeast
- Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce: To make this gluten-free, just be sure to use a gluten-free vegan Worcestershire sauce. The brand Annie’s is what I use but it’s vegan and not gluten-free. The Wizard’s is certified gluten-free and vegan. Or simply, replace it with soy sauce.
- Hot Sauce: If you don't want this spicy, marinade the tempeh in some bbq sauce.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: White Vinegar will work.
- Maple Syrup: Agave or Brown Sugar.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Grilling is optional! You can use a small grill pan or simply use a pan on the stovetop.
SO Flavorful: The tempeh is marinaded in hot sauce to bring in some spice and then smothered in a sweet, smoky and tangy homemade vegan bbq sauce.
Great on bowls, on sandwiches, served with corn on the cob or mashed potatoes. The serving options are endless! And is meal prep friendly!
Quick and easy weeknight dinner that is perfect for this warmer weather!
Vegan BBQ Sauce
This homemade vegan BBQ sauce is a blend of tomato sauce, maple syrup, and spices all simmered together to create a smoky and sweet condiment that tastes so much better than store-bought!
The beauty of this bbq sauce is that it’s super easy to make. Simply stir everything together and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes and can be prepped ahead of time!
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Maple Syrup
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- Smoked Paprika
How to Make This Recipe
Prep the BBQ Sauce. My easy vegan bbq sauce recipe keeps in the fridge for up to a week and can easily be made in advance. You can obviously use store-bought bbq sauce as well but I think the homemade version is much tastier as it's not overly sweet and perfectly smoky and tangy.
Steam the block of tempeh for 10 minutes. This step is optional but I typically do it for recipes like this because I want to soften the tempeh and reduce some of that bitterness. Steaming also will help the tempeh soak up that marinade! See FAQ below for more information.
Slice in to thick slices, about 14-16 pieces. You can make these thicker or thinner. This is your preference.
Whisk together the hot sauce, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, and black pepper in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Place the tempeh into the marinade and marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Heat a grill pan or frying pan on medium-high heat and coat the base with the oil of choice. Cook the tempeh on each side for 4-7 minutes or until it's golden brown. Coat in that delicious bbq sauce and serve however you'd like!
How to Serve BBQ Tempeh
- On sandwiches or in wraps
- Served with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and steamed or roasted vegetables
- On a salad or in a grain bowl like mentioned below
- Served in tacos with a mango pineapple salsa on top
How to Make a BBQ Tempeh Grain Bowl
I absolutely love serving this Vegan BBQ Tempeh on grain bowls. It's so tasty, filling, and perfect for this warm weather! I chose to serve mine with grilled vegetables and a slaw mix tossed in a garlic aioli sauce.
How to grill vegetables
I served my grilled barbecue tempeh with green and red peppers, red onion and zucchini. I use a small grill pan that I got for $7 at TJ Maxx. You don't need anything fancy to make these grilled veggies.
Cook the peppers and the onions for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway. And cook zucchini for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway. You'll know they are done when they are soft and beautiful grill marks have appeared.
How to make garlic aioli slaw
I prefer to buy the pre-mixed bags of coleslaw simply because I can never go through a red cabbage, green cabbage, bag of carrots, etc before it goes bad and I always feel awful about wasting it. If you have all those fresh ingredients already, feel free to use that. Just measure with your heart.
Now, the best part. You're going to need to make a batch of my Vegan Roasted Garlic Aioli. This is silken tofu based and it's so creamy and delicious and makes the perfect slaw for this bowl.
Simply, add a handful of slaw to a bowl and add a big spoonful of the aioli. Serve!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it’s edible! The mold grown on the tempeh has matured and simply turned black. They don’t affect the flavor at all. While the black spots are normal and safe on tempeh, a greenish fuzzy mold is not safe and should be discarded.
You can use a steamer basket to steam for 10 minutes or simply place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave for 5 minutes.
I don’t always find steaming necessary but I say that you should try both ways and see what you prefer.
Steaming helps soften the texture and reduces the bitterness that tempeh has. Definitely don't skip the steaming!
Here is the recipe for my Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce. This sauce can be prepped ahead and stored in the fridge for up to a week!
More Tempeh Recipes You Might Like:
If You Make This Recipe:
I would greatly appreciate if you share your review in the comments below and leave a star rating. Don’t forget to add if you made any fun substitutions. Thank you!
Vegan BBQ Tempeh
- 1 Block Tempeh
- 2 tablespoons Hot Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Pinch of Black Pepper
- ½ - 1 cup Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Prep ahead the BBQ Sauce.
- Steam the block of tempeh for 10 minutes. This step is optional. See FAQ for more information.
- Slice in to thick slices, about 14-16 pieces.
- Whisk together the hot sauce, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt and black pepper in a shallow bowl or baking dish.
- Place the tempeh in to the marinade. Brush the marinade on the top to make sure all the tempeh is coated. Let marinade for 15-30 minutes. During this time, prepare sides (see above for ideas!)
- Heat a grill pan or pan on medium high heat and coat the base with olive oil. Cook the tempeh on each side for 4-7 minutes or until it's golden brown.
- Coat in bbq sauce and serve!