Weeknight Cooking

Spicy Apricot-Glazed Tempeh

October  7, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Sweet, tangy, spicy, and bright in flavor, this apricot-glazed tempeh is a wonderful way to incorporate satisfying plant-based protein into any weeknight dinner.

The steps to make this recipe are really easy: steam the Lightlife Original Tempeh, prepare the marinade, marinate the tempeh for at least 30 minutes, sauté the tempeh for 10 minutes, and serve it alongside your favorite sides. You can skip the steaming step and jump right into marinating the tempeh if you’re short on time, but I personally like this method best. Having experimented with tempeh quite a bit, I have found that steaming the tempeh before transforming it in any way yields the best results.

Similar to tofu, tempeh is an excellent vehicle for allowing other flavors to shine. That's why I decided to marinate it in a mixture of apricot jam, lime juice, tamari, and fresh ginger. This marinade pairs wonderfully with the naturally savory, nutty flavor of the tempeh.

When choosing your apricot jam, you can go two ways: choosing a more traditional jam that is higher in sugar or opting for a jam that is reduced in sugar. I prefer the second option, because it results in a dish that is a little less sweet and slightly more balanced.

What's great about this recipe—apart from the unique combination of flavors—is the fact that you can make this in advance. I love to cut up my tempeh, steam it, and drop it in the marinade before my workout, right before dinner. That’s also when I usually get all my sides ready. That way, when I am done with my workout, all I have to do is sauté the tempeh and dinner is ready—in just 10 minutes.

If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. —Murielle Banackissa

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Lightlife, and was developed using their Original Tempeh—made with just three ingredients, it’s a great source of plant-based protein.

This recipe was featured on our cook-along podcast Play Me a Recipe. Listen as Murielle chops, steams, and glazes her way through this recipe.
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Lightlife Original Tempeh
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 fresh red chile, finely minced
  • Tablespoon canola oil
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Cut the tempeh into ½-inch cubes.
  2. Set a steamer basket or a foldable steamer in a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of water. Arrange the tempeh into an even layer in the steamer basket. Cover the saucepan with a lid and steam the tempeh on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the glaze: In a bowl or glass container, mix together the apricot jam, lime juice, tamari, ginger, and red chile using a silicone spatula.
  4. If steaming the tempeh, remove it from the steamer basket and drop the tempeh into the apricot glaze mixture. Toss the tempeh until coated.
  5. Cover the bowl with a plate. If using a glass container, put the lid on. Let the tempeh marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. If you choose to marinate your tempeh for more than 30 minutes, place it in the refrigerator.
  6. After your desired marinating time has passed, heat canola oil in a medium or large sauté pan on medium heat. Once hot, drop the tempeh along with the apricot glaze into the pan and cook for 10 minutes or until there is no more sauce in the pan and your tempeh is golden-brown in color and charred in some places. Stir regularly through the cooking time using a silicone spatula.
  7. Serve immediately with rice and your favorite vegetables, and garnish with sesame seeds.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Murielle Banackissa
    Murielle Banackissa
  • ethricdouble
  • Lynn D.
    Lynn D.

6 Reviews

ethricdouble January 8, 2024
Awesome! I had to sub apricot jam for fig and lime juice for balsamic - a super robust flavor combo. Apricot and lime would have taken up less space.
Anyways, question: why steam the tempeh? So it can absorb the marinade more? I found the tempeh inside the crisp coating not as tender as I usually take tempeh to be... I'm going to see how it works to skip this step.
Murielle B. January 24, 2024
Ouuuh fig jam and balsamic sounds delightful! I will have to try that myself. I find that steaming the tempeh helps make its flavor a little more palatable for people who are not fans of tempeh to start off with. If you love the tempeh flavor, no need to steam it :)
Taylor S. July 28, 2023
This is not a bad recipe, I just don’t think the flavor combination was for me. A good combination of sweet, spicy, and umami.
Murielle B. July 31, 2023
Hi Taylor, I really appreciate you writing a review :) Thanks for trying it out!
Lynn D. June 9, 2022
I loved this. I didn't have hot red peppers, so I used two teaspoons of gochuang paste. I had some trouble flipping the cubes so next time I think I'd bake this in a convection oven. Still, absolutely fabulous,

Murielle B. June 10, 2022
Ohhhh this makes me so happy! I love the idea of using gochujang paste. I will have to try that myself ;)