Tempeh, Jerked

Stir fried tempeh with a spicy traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning.


Tempeh, Jerked

Jump to Recipe

Here’s a challenge for you.

Find the biggest meat eater you can find. Maybe it’s your father, maybe it’s your coworker, maybe it’s YOU.

Invite them over for dinner and serve them this.

I can’t imagine that any meat eater would complain.  This is the meatless main for meat eaters.

Jerk Seasoned Tempeh

Serves 3-4
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Print Recipe

Rate This Recipe

Just a moment please...

Helpful Equipment:

Small food processor

Did you make this?

Instagram logo

Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.

Stir fried tempeh with a spicy traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning.

Jerk seasoning mix adapted from a Group recipe.


Jerk Seasoning:

1/4 cup ground allspice
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-5 habanero peppers, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bunch (6-8) scallions, whites and greens
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Braggs or soy sauce

Stir Fry:

8 ounces tempeh
1/4 cup jerk seasoning
1/2 pound green beans
1 bunch kale
3 tablespoons olive oil
Dash of soy sauce
Rice, for serving


1) Grind allspice berries or use ground allspice. Roughly chop scallions, garlic, and peeled ginger. Add to a food processor. Add ground allspice, brown sugar, diced habaneros, and other ingredients. Process until it forms a rough paste.

2) Dice tempeh into chunks and coat chunks with about 1/4 cup of the jerk seasoning.

3) Remove tough stems from kale leaves. Chop ends off of green beans and chop them in half. Add green beans to boiling, salted water to blanch. After green beans cook for 60 seconds, add kale and cook for another 15-20 seconds.

4) Drain veggies and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

5) When ready to make the stir fry, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring a few times.

6) Add veggies to stir-fry and cook for another few minutes tossing regularly to mix flavors. Season with a dash of soy sauce.

7) Serve stir fry immediately over rice.

A Real Jerk

When you walk through the spice aisle at your grocery store, you will almost always find some rub proclaiming itself as a jerk rub.

This stuff works okay, but it really shouldn’t be called that.

Real Jamaican jerk seasoning is more of a paste than a rub.  It has some liquid to it along with really flavorful aromatics, spicy habanero peppers (traditionally Scotch bonnet peppers), and a metric ton of allspice.

The basics.

I used whole allspice berries and just ground them up, but you can use ground as well. Just make sure it’s really fresh so the flavor pops.

Very important.

The heat from this paste comes from really hot habanero peppers.

These are the kind of peppers that you want to be careful with… if you cut them barehanded and then touch your eyes or nose or anywhere really, you’ll be in for a long night.

Honestly, you should probably wear gloves when working with them, but I just make sure I wash my hands really well after I cut them.

You’ll want to remove the seeds and then dice them pretty finely.

If I would change one thing about this seasoning when I make it again, I’ll up the pepper count.  I used three and it didn’t quite have the heat I wanted. I think I would go with 4-5 next time.

Next time I would use 4!

Add everything for the jerk seasoning to a mini food processor and pulse it until it’s a rough paste.

If you don’t have a food processor you could put all the ingredients in a large bowl and just mash them together really well with a fork, but that will take some work.

Smells amazing.

The Tempeh

It’s official that I prefer tempeh to tofu. It’s more substantial, has more protein and fiber, and just plain tastes better in my opinion.

It’s also a lot easier to work with. You don’t have to worry about pressing it or anything.

The hard part about tempeh is finding it.  It’s still not very popular so it can be tricky to find. I only know of one store in my town of 100,000 people that sells it.

If you know you like it, you can order it in bulk from a few places online.

Love this stuff.

Once I chopped up my tempeh, I just mixed it with about 1/4 cup of the jerk seasoning. That was about half of the recipe.

The seasoning keeps for a long time. Just store it in the fridge.

Normally, you would marinate meat in this for a pretty long time, but tempeh isn’t going to really absorb much flavor so just let it sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

Very well seasoned.

The Other Stuff

Tempeh can be a bit on the pricey side. Eight ounces will set you back $4 probably.

So I like to use other veggies to bulk up the meal a bit.

In this case, I just blanched some green beans and kale in salted boiling water.  I tossed in the green beans and let them cook for about 60 seconds, then I tossed in the kale and cooked it for another 20 seconds or so.

This way, both veggies are done at the same time!

Rinse them with cold water when they come out so the cooking stops.

They should still be slightly crunchy.

Two basic veggies.

I also made a batch of really good rice to serve with the tempeh.

You could use any rice for this, but I found a really delicious rice mix that was nutty and wonderful.

Something to put it on.

Cooking the Tempeh

Typically, jerk style dishes are grilled or smoked.

For tempeh though, I thought a stir-fry would be easiest.

I just tossed a few tablespoons of olive oil in my large skillet (or wok) and once it was hot over medium-heat I added all my tempeh.

After just a few minutes, they were nice and caramelized.

A quick sear.

Then I tossed in my blanched veggies along with a small drizzle of soy sauce.

Toss this all together for a minute or two over the heat so the flavors can mingle.

I just love the colors!

Done deal!

Serve this over some sort of rice and you have yourself a heck of a vegetarian meal.

So good!

If you’re a vegetarian, enjoy this meal.  I think it’ll become a staple in your rotation.

If you’re a meat eater, give it a shot. I think you’ll be very surprised.

4 Responses to “Tempeh, Jerked” Leave a comment

  1. Jerk tempeh! That’s borderline sacrilegious Nick ;) But the jerk sauce you made is pretty close to what I’m used to. Tip: if you want a bit more heat, you could just put some of the seeds back into the mix, as opposed to upping the pepper count. And generally people use fresh thyme but whatevs. But this recipe makes me want to go home to Jamaica ASAP! (oh, fun fact: my mother is from the place in Jamaica that is famous for it’s jerk).

  2. Have loved tempeh for many years-found it recently at Trader Joe’s. This jerked recipe looks so good, I’ll try it soon. I’ve been stuck with my favorite use for tempeh, sauteed with a drop or two of low sodium soy sauce, next to a morning egg. Glad to have something new to try.

  3. Wow, this looks great Nick! I didn’t like tempeh the first time I tried it, but this recipe might make me give it a second chance. Then again, I’m a sucker for anything with habaneros in it.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *