Savory Tempeh Crumbles

August 10, 2016
5 Stars
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

You’ll be surprised at how versatile this recipe is. I’ve used these crumbles in tacos, burritos, pasta sauces, lasagnas, bowls, stir-fries, casseroles, vegan mac n’ cheese, nachos, and in countless other ways. Once you get the hang of making the crumbles, it’s easy to modify them to fit any flavor profile (Italian herbs and extra garlic for a pasta dish, a pinch of chili and cayenne or a teaspoon of adobo sauce for something Mexican). —Gena Hamshaw

  • Serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer
  • 1 8-ounce block of tempeh
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (such as safflower or grapeseed), plus extra as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a medium pot of shallow water to a simmer. Add the block of tempeh and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the tempeh and pat it dry. Allow the block to cool, and when it's cool enough to handle, crumble it into pieces (whatever size you like—they can be big crumbles or smaller crumbles).
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh, thyme, sage, oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Cook the tempeh for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, or until it's lightly browned, adding a little extra oil as needed.
  3. Add the tamari or soy sauce and the garlic to the tempeh crumbles and cook for another 2 minutes. Season the crumbles to taste with additional herbs or tamari before removing the crumbles from heat and using them in your favorite recipe.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • IlovePhilly
  • Dana
  • Chiara Zwicky Sarkozy
    Chiara Zwicky Sarkozy
  • Susan Hunt Whitaker
    Susan Hunt Whitaker
  • cathyeats
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.

8 Reviews

IlovePhilly January 3, 2022
Made these with hempeh (I can’t do soy) and they were fantastic. The only issue was that everyone walking into the kitchen nibbled them until dinner was served, so there weren’t any leftovers. Next time I’ll make a quadruple batch!
Alisa June 9, 2019
Loving this! Just wondering how long it would keep for in the fridge?
MC May 18, 2019
This was delicious paired in a bowl with brown rice, cilantro, avocado, and lemon. Definitely adding to favorites.
Dana March 24, 2018
Love this! I made these crumbles last week and changed up the spices a bit to use in a taco salad, adding some chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. My new favorite way to enjoy tempeh.
Chiara Z. December 3, 2016
The boiling is to remove some of the bitter flavours from the tempeh which some people don't like.
Susan H. September 27, 2016
I wonder about the boiling, too. Maybe that's a step I've never known about in cooking tempeh which might improve the texture in some way.
MyLime August 15, 2016
Why boil the tempeh?
cathyeats December 24, 2018
Boiling changes/improves the texture quite a bit.