Crispy BBQ Coco-Breaded Tempeh

Main Tempeh

This is a great dinner recipe! The protein in the tempeh is a great source to get amino acids (what protein is made up of). And come on, who doesn’t love BBQ!?! This can be paired with a crisp green salad (click here for salad pairing idea) or lightly stemmed green beans!

Below are 3 easy steps to bringing this dish together- BBQ sauce recipe, breadcrumb recipe and marinade. This may look like an overwhelming amount of steps but it’s not what it looks like! I wrote out specific instructions to make it as easy as possible. Really, this is quite simple!

BBQ Sauce

I love sauces! I am the kind of person who would rather dip their food in sauce than have it dredged in sauce. It’s just a thing. You can dredged your baked tempeh, lightly drizzle the sauce on them or dip these in the BBQ sauce. All options on the table!

I created a homemade BBQ sauce because, well, store brought usually has things in it I worry about. This BBQ sauce is really simple to make and tasty! Seriously, I surprised myself.


BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup organic ketchup
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar, or honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 2 tsp  low sodium tamari, or soy sauce
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt, optional to taste

 Note: The tamari plays as a salt in the sauce but feel free to add salt to taste.

TIP: Why Organic Ketchup?!?! Because all ingredients are organic & above all no fructose corn syrup!!

BBQ Sauce Instructions

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready for use.
  2. 5 minutes before the tempeh is done baking (instructions below) simmer in a small pot.

 Tempeh Marinade

Marinating the tempeh (pronounced TEM-PAY) is important because all of the flavors soak in and give the tempeh more flavor. Think about it like marinating chicken or steak (for you meat eaters). For those who have never had tempeh, its virtually tasteless- which is a good thing because you can make it taste like whatever you want! Also listed in this step is how to cut the tempeh (in case you’ve never worked with this before).

marinade tempeh

Tempeh Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce pkg. of tempeh, cut into Triangles
  • ¼ cup tamari, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 tsp granulated onion powder
  • 2 tsp stevia
  • ½ black pepper

Note#1: I used a small piece of fresh onion chopped instead of granulated onion powder this time. I find granulated is easier to handle. Either option is fine!

Note #2: My tempeh has flax, in case you are wondering about the dark brown flecks.

Tempeh Marinade Instructions

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a zip-lock freezer bag.
  2.  Cut the tempeh into triangles-

A. Cut the tempeh through the center widthwise-You will have 2 pieces in front of you.        B. Slice each half corner to corner into triangle- You will have 4 pieces in front of you (pictured below).


C. Finally, cut the tempeh thinner by standing a triangle up and slice it in half- You will have 8 pieces in front of you (pictured below).


3. Gently, add the tempeh to the marinade, seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Bread crumb.

Coco-Bread Crumb Mixture

Yes, this breading has coconut in it. No, you do not have to use if you do not like it or do not have any. Don’t worry, it will still taste yummy! Simply add all of the other ingredients in a bowl- skipping steps 2-4. Also, don’t be intimidated by the old bay season. There is no trace of seafood in it what so ever. In fact, it’s vegan (read the label if you don’t believe me)!


Bread Crumb Mixture Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko bread crumb
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped (or dried)
  • ½ tsp old bay seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional (for heat)
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp salt & pepper

 Note: I used “Let’s Do Organic” Coconut flakes (pictured below).

Tip: Yes, there are gluten-free panko bread crumbs.

Bread Crumb Mixture Instructions

  1. In a shallow bowl add all of the ingredients except the coconut. If you have smaller flakes of coconut skip steps 2-4 (see picture below for flake size I used).
  2. Measure ½ cup of coconut flakes.

coco flakes

3. Place in a food processor and blend for a few seconds- careful not to turn it into dust.

coco process

4.   Finally, add the coconut to the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside.

Breading & Baking Instructions

prebake breaded
Breaded tempeh before it was baked.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. One at a time, while the tempeh is moist, bread the tempeh- gently rub the tempeh into the bread crumb.
  3. Once all of the tempeh is breaded, you can sprinkle (or push) breadcrumb on top of the tempeh.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes then flip (Reminder! Don’t forget to heat the BBQ Sauce) and bake for 5-10 minutes more on the other side.

baked tempeh

final tempeh

In the words of Chef Ina Garten “How easy was that?!”

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