Tag Archives: tempeh

DIY {homemade tempeh}


I’m a big fan of anything fermented (check out my post on how to make kimchi!), so I was super excited to try making my own tempeh. I lucked out and found a package of starter from Cultures for Health at my local co-op. I’ve had a lot of success  in the past with their kombucha and vegan yogurt starters. 

There are are few caveats that I should get out of the way before preceding. Making your own tempeh isn’t going to save you money. Tempeh is pretty inexpensive and is readily available in many grocery store. Making tempeh is also going to take some time and effort. The fermentation process alone takes 2 days and that’s not including the preparation time. What you will get is a fresh, delicious homemade product that will taste better than anything you buy in the store. In my opinion, that alone is worth the effort.

So let’s get to it!


All of the equipment and ingredients are listed in the recipe below. The list doesn’t need to be exact; these are just the items that I ended up using. Do your best and make do with what you have on hand in your own kitchen. 

Start by soaking 2 pounds (about 2-1/2 cups) of soy beans in a large bowl over night or for at least 12 hours. The beans will expand so make sure to cover them with enough water that they remain submerged.


The next step is probably the most labor intensive. The beans need to be split and de-hulled. Use your hands, a potato masher, rolling pin, or what have you to smash the beans and remove the skins. If you just happen to have a grain mill laying around the house, give that a try as it might save you a lot of time. I used a combination of hands and rolling pin. I had some success with soaking the beans in water, squeezing, letting the hulls float to the top, and then draining them off. Don’t worry about getting every last hull removed.



Move your beans to a large pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans become tender. Remove any hulls that float to the top. Prepare 2-quart sized zip lock bags by puncturing holes throughout with a needle or skewer. I placed my holes in 1-inch intervals. This allows the beans to breath during the fermentation process.

Drain the beans and spread them out on 2 towel lined baking sheets. Pat them dry and allow to cool completely. Transfer into a clean bowl and mix in vinegar. The vinegar will lower the pH of the beans and inhibit the grown of unwanted bacteria. Sprinkle the tempeh starter onto the beans and make sure to thoroughly incorporate.

Evenly distribute the beans between the 2 bags and seal closed. They should be about 1-1 1/2 inch thick when laid flat. Now decided on the method of incubation. I’m using a TSM harvest food dehydrator because it has a temperature control. Other incubator possibilities might include the oven or a yogurt maker. Whatever your method, the tempeh needs to be kept between 85° and 90°F for the next 48 hours. 


 Check the temperature after 12 hours. The fermentation process will cause the beans to generate their own heat, so it might be necessary to turn off the external heat source. Since my dehydrator regulates the temperature, I’ve leave it on without any problems. The white mycelium should start growing between 12 and 24 hours.  After 24 hours my beans were completely encased in the mycelium, binding the beans into a solid cake. A light nutty aroma will also become more apparent.


At this point, remove the tempeh from the dehydrator and refrigerate until ready to use. I’ve found that sometimes my store bought tempeh will have a slightly bitter taste; I didn’t notice this at all with the homemade tempeh. It was slightly softer than store bought but I figured this was do to it being freshly made. In the next couple of posts I’ll follow up with some of my favorite tempeh recipes. Enjoy!


Homemade Tempeh
  1. 1 pound ( about 2 1/2 cups) soy beans
  2. 2 tablespoons vinegar
  3. 1 packet tempeh starter
  1. 2 large bowls
  2. Colander
  3. Large pot
  4. 2 baking sheets
  5. Measuring spoons
  6. Spatula or mixing spoons
  7. 2 quart-sized ziplock bags
  8. Skewer or large needle
  9. Towel (optional)
  10. Thermometer (optional - depending on incubation method)
  11. Dehydrator
  1. 1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with enough water that they stay submerged as they begin to rehydrate. Let beans soak over night.
  2. 2. Remove the hulls and split the beans by squeezing or smashing with a potato smasher or rolling pin. I used a combination of both and found that wrapping the beans in a towel and running the rolling pin over them worked well. This is by far the most labor-intensive step. Split and de-hull as many beans as you can but don't worry about getting every last beans.
  3. 3. Move beans into a large pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans become tender. Periodically skim the top for any remaining hulls.
  4. 4. While the beans simmer, prepare the ziplock bags by using a needle or skewer to puncture holes in 1-inch intervals throughout the bags.
  5. 5. Remove cooked beans from the pot and drain. Spread them out onto a towel or 2 cookie sheets and let cool completely.
  6. 6. Transfer the beans into a clean bowl, add vinegar, and mix. The vinegar will lower the pH of the beans and help inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria. Sprinkle on the tempeh starter and mix thoroughly.
  7. 7. Evenly distribute the beans between the 2 bags and flatten to a thickness of 1 to 1-1/2 inch before sealing.
  8. 8. Place bags in dehydrator and maintain temperature at 85°F to 90°F for the next 48 hours. Check the temperature of the bags after 12 hours. The fermentation process will cause the beans to generate their own heat and require turning off the dehydrator.
  9. 9. The white mycellium will start to cover the beans after 24 hours and will completely incase and bind the beans together into a solid cake by 48 hours. The tempeh should have a pleasant nutty aroma.
  10. 10. Remove from dehydrator and refrigerate.
  1. *unused tempeh can be frozen by steaming for 20 minutes and storing in an airtight container in the freezer.
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/

The BKT (Bacon, Kale, & Tomato) Bowl

Salad SamuraiI picked up the cookbook Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero on a whim and was quite impressed with it. I originally had no intention of taking it home as I generally don’t care for salad recipes, but quickly flipping through it changed my mind.

The pictures are pretty amazing. I’m a very visual person; I like cookbooks with high-quality color pictures because I need to some point of reference for how the food is supposed to look on the plate if I’m going to make it. The recipes in this book really go beyond what I think of as a traditional salads. Many are hearty enough to be entire meals on their own, including the BKT (Bacon, Kale, & Tomato) Bowl, which I plan on sharing here.

Many of the salad toppings, which are referenced in the front of the book, are excellent recipes for cooking tempeh and tofu and can easily be utilized in any recipe calling for similar ingredients. The book is also organized seasonally, which I think is a fun way to look at food especially if I’m buying locally grown and available produce.

Coconut Bacony BitsCoconut Bacon

This salad is comprised of 3 easy recipes (the first 2 are components of the last): coconut bacony bits, tempeh bacon bites, and the BKT Bowl. Use large coconut flakes for the coconut bacony bits. I found mine at a local co-op in bulk. Combine the tomato paste, liquid aminos, and liquid smoke and incorporate into the coconut flakes until evenly distributed.

Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 325º. Keep an eye on them towards the last 5 minutes. Mines began to brown quickly around this time. Remove from oven and let cook completely. The flakes will become more crunchy as they cool. These will be used as a topping for the salad.


Cut tempeh into bite sized pieces. Combine maple syrup, tamari, ketchup, vegetable oil, and liquid smoke and let pieces marinade for about 10 minutes. Spoon tempeh into a frying pan set to medium heat and reserve the leftover marinade for later use. Let each side cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Once golden brown all-around, pour in leftover marinade and let cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

The last part of this recipe involves making the dressing and combining all the salad components. Remove stems from the kale leaves and cut or tear into bit-sized pieces. For the dressing, mix together the shallots, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour half of dressing onto the kale and use hands to massage kale for about a minute. Now add the red onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and remaining dressing and carefully combine ingredients until dressing is eventually distributed. Top each plate with the coconut bacony bits and enjoy!

BKT Bowl BKT Bowl

Coconut Bacony Bits
  1. 2 cups large, unsweetened coconut flakes
  2. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  3. 4 tsp. liquid aminos
  4. 1 tbsp. hickory liquid smoke
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 325º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, combine tomato paste, liquid aminos, and liquid smoke until smooth. Add in the coconut flakes and stir until the flakes are equally coated.
  3. 3. Spread the flake in a thin layer onto the parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the flakes are completely dry
  1. The flakes will continue to dry as they cool after being removed from the oven. Store in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/
Tempeh Bacon Bites
  1. 1-8 oz. package of tempeh
  2. 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  3. 2 tbsp. tamari
  4. 1 tbsp. ketchup
  5. 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  6. 1/4 tsp. hickory liquid smoke
  7. Olive oil, for pan-frying (optional)
  1. 1. Cut tempeh into 1/4-inch strips then cut these into 1-inch pieces.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, tamari, ketchup, liquid smoke, and vegetable oil. Add the tempeh and carefully coat with marinade. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. 3. In a frying pan at medium heat, spoon in tempeh and keep remaining marinade in reserve. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes until the tempeh is well browned. Oil can be added to the pan if necessary.
  4. 4. Once tempeh is browned on both sides, pour in remaining marinade and cook until absorbed.
  1. Store any remaining tempeh in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/
The BKT (Bacon, Kale, & Tomato) Bowl
Salad Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. kale, stems removed
  2. Tempeh bacon bites
  3. Coconut bacony bits
  4. 1/2 red onion, sliced into half-moons
  5. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  6. 1 ripe avocado, cubed
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp. minced shallots
  2. 4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  5. 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  6. pinch of salt
  7. ground pepper, to taste
  1. 1. Remove stems from kale leaves and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry kale then transfer to a large mixing bowl or container.
  2. 2. In a small mixing bowl, combine shallots, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Pour half of dressing onto kale and massage for about a minute.
  3. 3. Add in tempeh, red onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and remaining dressing. Gently fold ingredients into each other until eventually coated. Top with coconut bacony bits and serve immediately.
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/

Tempeh Bacon Sandwich

tempeh bacon sandwich

I ordered this sandwich a while back at a restaurant in my area and liked it so much I wanted to try making it at home. It’s become a staple recipe for me ever since for several reasons. First, It’s easy and quick to make. I tend to work late so it’s nice to come home and be able to quickly put together something to eat. Second, the ingredients are versatile. I typically have most of these ingredients on hand at any given time. Any of these items can be substituted for something else or left out entirely.

vegan club sandwich

Use a high quality bread for this sandwich such as Silver Hills’ Max’s Flax. It’s dense and holds up well. A mandolin is an essential kitchen tool. Use it to cut the cucumber slices thin and evenly. You can buy tempeh bacon from a lot of stores, but I highly recommend making it yourself. The recipe I use is delicious, easy to make, and a lot cheaper than store bought bacon.

vegan club sandwich

 I usually layer with the sprouts first as the vegenise will hold it in place a little better than being wedged between two other solid ingredients. Continue layering with the cucumber, bacon, and mixed greens. Cut with a sharp knife and enjoy! I think avocado and tomato would also be nice additions to this sandwich. Let me know any variations you try out.

tempeh bacon sandwich

Tempeh Bacon Sandwich
  1. Bread
  2. 2-3 slices of tempeh bacon
  3. Sprouts
  4. Cucumber, sliced thinly
  5. Hummus
  6. Vegenaise
  7. Handful of mixed greens
  1. Spread hummus and vegenaise on 2 slices of bread. Layer sprouts, tempeh bacon, cucumber slices, greens. Cut and enjoy!
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/

Tempeh Bacon

Many mainstream grocery stores now carry tempeh bacon on their shelves, but I find making your own to be much cheaper, quick to prepare, and a whole lot tastier. Trader Joe’s has their own brand that’s relatively inexpensive. I’ll often pick up a pack or two when I make a trip. Tempeh is super nutritious and high in protein and fiber. I try to regularly incorporate it into my diet.

tempeh bacon

Cut the tempeh lengthwise into fairly thick strips. Ten to 12 should fit nicely into a large frying pan. Next cut crosswise so that the pieces are about 3 to 4 inches long. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and soak the tempeh strips for about 30 minutes or however long you can wait. 

tempeh bacon

Heat a large frying pan to medium heat. When the pan is ready, lay out tempeh in a single layer. Pour half the marinade on top, cover, and let cook for about 5 minutes or until browned. Flip, pour on remainder of marinade, and cover. Remove from pan once both sides are browned and the sugar from the maple syrup has caramelized.

tempeh bacon

These go great on sandwiches, tofu scrambles, or even eaten alone. Sriracha or cayenne pepper would be nice additions of you like your food a little more spicy. Leave a comment if you give this recipe a try; let me know what you think or any modifications you made.

tempeh bacon

Tempeh Bacon
  1. 1 8oz package of tempeh
  2. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/8 cup liquid aminos or soy sauce
  4. 1/8 cup maple syrup or agave
  5. 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  6. 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  7. 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  8. 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
  9. Black pepper (optional)
  10. Siracha (optional)
  1. 1. Cut tempeh lengthwise into 10-12 slices and then cut again crosswise.
  2. 2. Mix all ingredients together and marinade tempeh for about 30 minutes.
  3. 3. At medium heat, place tempeh in a pan and pour half of marinade on top and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until underside is nicely browned.
  4. 4. Turn tempeh and brown the other side until golden brown and sugars start to caramelize.
  1. I store my unused tempeh bacon in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Chez Bettay, The Vegan Gourmet
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/