The Best Marinated and Grilled Tempeh

The best marinated and grilled tempeh recipe. Tempeh can be tricky, but this simple recipe makes it approachable and seriously delicious.

The best marinated and grilled tempeh
The best marinated and grilled tempeh

Some of my favourite things to eat are the simplest and this marinated and grilled tempeh is right up there. A bunch of basic spices and pantry ingredients and one crucial extra cooking step all combine to make some truly exceptional tempeh. I am admittedly very hit or miss on this plant-based protein. Sometimes I love it and sometimes it honestly makes me gag a bit. Is that TMI? Hoping that some of you out there can relate hehe.

But I always aspire to eat more of it! It has the aforementioned high protein content, it’s fermented, and when done right, it has a very meaty and satisfying texture. Over time I realized that steaming the tempeh ahead of cooking really helps to knock out some of that bitter flavour that was making me less-than-stoked about eating it. Combine that with an extremely flavourful marinade and the natural smoky allure of grilling, and this becomes a can’t-lose situation.

If you’ve cooked from my site before, my hope is that you will have most of these ingredients on hand. It looks like a ton of stuff, but over half of the ingredients are common spices. My favourite tempeh is the 3-grain one from Lightlife. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, they sell this exact same product under their own house label for a slightly reduced price. If you’re looking for a soy-free option, Smiling Hara’s peanut and hemp-based hempeh is also great! I’d use the smoked salt and pepper option for this recipe.

Hope you try this marinated and grilled tempeh a try. I really do think it’s the best! I’ve included stovetop recommendations in the recipe notes as well. I hope that you’re all having an amazing start to your summer. Big hugs!

The best marinated and grilled tempeh
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5 from 2 votes

The Best Marinated and Grilled Tempeh

The best marinated and grilled tempeh recipe. Tempeh can be tricky, but this simple recipe makes it approachable and seriously delicious.
PREP TIME20 mins
COOK TIME20 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Laura Wright


  • Grill


8-SPICE BLEND (makes extra):

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 2 8- oz blocks of tempeh, each block cut into 6 even pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of 8 spice blend
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons heat-tolerant oil, such as avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar/maple syrup
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • Make the 8-spice blend: in a medium bowl, combine coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Prepare the tempeh. Cover the bottom of a medium saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Set the saucepan, covered, over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, arrange the tempeh blocks in a steamer basket. Set the steamer basket in the saucepan and lose the lid. Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes.
  • While tempeh is steaming, make the marinade. In an upright blender combine 2 tablespoons of the 8-spice blend, balsamic vinegar, water, oil, lemon juice, tamari, agave nectar, salt, and pepper. Blend on high until completely emulsified, about 15 seconds.
  • Arrange the steamed tempeh in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the tempeh, making sure that as much tempeh as possible is exposed to the marinade. Cover the tempeh and marinate for at least 1 hour (or up to 8 hours in the fridge), turning and flipping over the pieces at the halfway point.
  • Once tempeh is sufficiently marinated, preheat your grill to medium. Clean the grates. Set the pieces of tempeh on the grill. Cook the tempeh until char marks begin to appear on the underside, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the tempeh pieces over and cook until the other side has char marks as well, another 5 minutes. You can brush remaining marinade over the tempeh as it grills if you like. Serve tempeh hot with accompaniments.


  • I like to cut my tempeh into triangles, but whatever shape works for you is great.
  • If you don’t have a grill, you can simply sear these tempeh pieces in a cast iron pan with a little slick of oil until you have some even browning on the exterior.
The best marinated and grilled tempeh
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