Burgers and Patties, Vegan, Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Main Dishes

Jerk Tempeh


Jerk refers to a style of cooking, usually of meat, that originates in Jamaica.

Marinaded in a hot spicy paste, that traditionally includes scotch bonnet chillies and allspice.

In the spirit of all things vegan, I thought I would try it with tempeh, which is good at soaking up flavours if you treat it right. It worked really well, so here’s what I did.

Just a quick note – particularly for anyone who hasn’t come across tempeh before, because it is a great addition to a varied vegan repertoire …this is what Wikipedia says about tempeh:

Tempeh (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, Javanese pronunciation: [tempe]) is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.

It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.


Tempeh is much sturdier than tofu, and it’s therefore a great ingredient to use in this recipe, as whether you griddle it (as I have) or barbecue it, it should withstand this style of cooking without falling apart, as long as you don’t slice it too thin.

In the UK, slabs of tempeh are usually bought frozen.  To prepare it for cooking: defrost, and then submerge it in a dish of warm water for about 15 mins.  This will ‘relax’ the tempeh, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the marinade.

It will sit in the marinade all day, but marinade it for at least 3 hours for good results.



Serves 4


225 gms. Tempeh. (defrosted if necessary).

Marinade paste:

  • 5 tbs. olive oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 6 spring onions : washed trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 scotch bonnet chillies (add heat to taste 🙂 )
  • 4 large garlic cloves: peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 gms. fresh thyme
  • 2 cm. stick fresh ginger: peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs. sweetener (I used dark fruit syrup)
  • 3 tsps. powdered Allspice
  • 1.5 tsps. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper


  • Relax the defrosted Tempeh by submerging it in a dish of warm water for 15 mins.
  • Remove the tempeh from the water and pat dry with kitchen roll.
  • Slice the tempeh into slices approx. 1 cm. thick.
  • Arrange the slices in a flat dish (see pics.)
  • Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the marinade (it will be quite a thick paste) over the tempeh.
  • Turn the tempeh once or twice to ensure that each slice is thoroughly coated.
  • Leave the tempeh to marinade for at least 3 hours, or all day.

Griddle or barbecue the tempeh for about 5 mins. on each side.

Serve with salad, or in a bun, or follow tradition, and eat with Rice and Beans.

Click image below for rice and beans recipe


Garnish with fresh Thyme and Parsley.







11 thoughts on “Jerk Tempeh”

    1. Hiya! Thanks for visiting! I think you could try using tempeh as a change for chicken? Tempeh would definitely soak up Indian spices with lemon juice and garlic… (remembering to ‘relax’ the tempeh first). Also, fry off the marinaded tempeh and then add it to the sauce or other ingredients near the end, as it will fall apart if you cook it for a long time. Maybe also tempeh kebab? The other vegan ingredient you might be interested in is seitan. There’s lots of info. on the internet about seitan. I’ve used it once or twice on my blog here too.. good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just going to ask if you thought this would work with seitan, then I saw this! My little dude can’t have soy (because of his EOE), but I’m not familiar with seitan. Would it hold together the same way the tempeh does?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hiya! Thanks for visiting. Seitan is made from wheat gluten. I’m really not an expert, but I know it comes in different forms and some are quite strong and chewy, and resemble meat quite well. Obviously it is gluten, so some people have an allergy to it. It does hold together very well, and would definitely work as a meat replacement in some recipes. (You don’t have to cook it as long as meat). I used it in a stir-fry very successfully. Really sorry to hear that your little dude is having to deal with such a big problem. You may or may not be interested in this, but have you ever come across this guy : http://www.medicalmedium.com …I find what he has to say about food and healing properties really fascinating. I just bought one of his books. I just thought I’d mention it. Best Wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

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