Gena Hamshaw’s Balsamic Tempeh

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Add this plant-based protein to salads, bowls and pastas for a filling boost.
sheet tray of balsamic tempeh
© Ashley McLaughlin/The Vegan Week

Forget what you know about plant-based eating. It’s nothing like the sad carrot sticks and mushy vegan burgers you used to know. Today’s meatless options are as flavorful as they are filling. Take Gena Hamshaw’s recipe for balsamic tempeh (from her new cookbook, The Vegan Week), which can be added to salads, bowls and pasta for a boost, or simply eaten on their own as a savory, high-protein snack.

While tempting, Hamshaw advises you not to skip the steaming step, as it mellows the slightly bitter flavor of the tempeh and allows the protein to absorb as much of that tasty marinade as possible.


One 7.5-ounce (215g) block tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes

6 tablespoons (90ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons tamari, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons refined avocado oil

¼ to ½ teaspoon garlic powder


1. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water and fit it with a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Place the tempeh in the steamer basket, cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes.

2. While the tempeh is steaming, in an airtight storage container that’s big enough to hold all the tempeh, whisk together the vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, oil and garlic powder (up to ½ teaspoon if you prefer a stronger garlic flavor). Add the steamed tempeh, cover the container with a tight lid and shake the container to evenly coat the tempeh with the marinade. Marinate the tempeh in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the tempeh from the marinade with tongs or a slotted spoon, letting the excess drip off, and transfer it to the baking sheet, reserving the marinade. Bake the tempeh cubes for 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the oven and brush the tops with the reserved marinade. Flip the cubes and return the sheet to the oven. Bake until crispy at the edges, 10 to 15 minutes more. Use right away or store the tempeh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.

Nutrition Facts
  • 218 calories

  • 13g fat

  • 17g carbs

  • 11g protein

  • 10g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Book cover of The Vegan Week by Gena Hamshaw and a credit line that reads: Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Week by Gena Hamshaw, copyright 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, a Division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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