Go Back

The Best Marinated and Grilled Tempeh Recipe

This recipe for grilled tempeh is marinated in the best saucy spice blend. Combine that with the natural smoky allure of grilling, and this tempeh is a can’t-lose situation. Stovetop cooking instructions are shared too.
Course Basics, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine BBQ, Dairy-free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Plant-Based, Special Diets, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword 10 ingredients, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar, bbq, cayenne, coriander, cumin, garlic, grill, lemon, maple syrup, paprika, smoked paprika, spring, summer, tamari, tempeh
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 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 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 or 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.