top of page

BBQ Tempeh with Cabbage Kale Slaw

Updated: Jun 29

BBQ tempeh

Don't you love when you set out to make something and it turns out completely different than what you intended? When I started to make Thai-inspired tempeh, my intention was to create a Pad Thai type sauce, but the flavor turned out more barbecue-y — and it tastes really yummy in my opinion!

BBQ Tempeh

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. It's created by fermenting cooked soybeans with a special type of mold, which binds the beans into a firm, dense cake. Rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, tempeh offers a hearty, nutty flavor and a versatile texture that makes it a popular meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. They fermentation process also enhances its digestibility and helps to make the nutrients in tempeh more bioavailable, making tempeh both a nutritious and delicious addition to a healthy diet.

photo credit: Fairuz Naufal Zaki

Nutritional Benefits of Tempeh

Whenever I host a Vegan Food Tour, I always get questions about tempeh and how to prepare it. There are lots of ways to prepare tempeh—grilled on the stove top just until it's brown on each side and made into a vegan "BLT" sandwich; crumbled into pasta sauce to make a "bolognese" sauce; cubed and added to a vegetable stir fry; and more.

Tempeh is a superfood in my mind because it's packed with plant-based protein, fiber, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, B vitamins, magnesium, isoflavones, and prebiotic fiber. You receive approximately 15 grams of plant-based protein and 7 grams of fiber in just three ounces of tempeh!

While it's fermented, it's not considered a probiotic-rich food because it needs to be cooked before eating. Heating or pasteurizing foods with probiotics kills the beneficial bacteria. But don't let that stop you from eating it. With all of its other nutrient-powered plant-based properties, tempeh should find its place on your plate weekly.

BBQ tempeh

For this recipe, I cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, so that I had two long thinner pieces, then cut it in half widthwise to make up a total of four pieces. You could also cut it into smaller pieces if you want more of a sear on each piece. I used a little avocado spray on a stove top pan and grilled it on each side on medium heat for about 2 minutes or until browned. Once this step is complete you can add any one of your favorite sauces, place it in between bread for a sandwich or crumble it into a pasta sauce.

For this meal, I placed the tempeh on top of a bed of cooked farro then poured some Thai-inspired BBQ Sauce on top. I added some delicious and healing slaw for the perfect crunch and flavor that complemented the BBQ sauce nicely.

I find tempeh super satisfying, filling and a great substitute for anyone looking to add something a little "meatier" to their meals. Try it and let me know what you think!

BBQ Tempeh with Cabbage Kale Slaw

(Don't forget, you'll also need to grab a package of tempeh at the grocery store and whatever grain you'd like to eat with it — farro, quinoa, rice or kamut are all great options.)

BBQ tempeh with rice and slaw

BBQ Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp garlic

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Purple Cabbage and Kale Slaw

  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped or sliced

  • 1 cup kale, chopped

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped

In a medium bowl mix together the ingredients below and set aside.

Slaw Dressing

  • 2 tsps sesame seed oil

  • 2 Tbsps coconut amino acids (or organic reduced-sodium tamari)

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp chili paste (omit if you don't like spice)

  • 2 tsps maple syrup

  • 1 tsp ginger powder (or a Tbsp fresh minced ginger)

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsps black or white sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients below together, except sesame seeds, in a small bowl. Pour over cabbage and kale slaw ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


  • 8-ounce package of tempeh

Heat a large stovetop pan on medium-high heat and add a drizzle of avocado or olive oil. Add the tempeh and grill on each side for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

Place the tempeh on top of your favorite cooked grain then top it with BBQ sauce followed by the slaw for a deliciously satisfying meal!

BBQ tempeh with rice and slaw

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 serving): 476 calories, 64 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 2957 milligrams sodium

Want to dive further into plant-based eating?

Visit all plant-based recipes here.

Visit the blog for more plant-based articles here.

1 Comment

Jun 12

Elevate your BBQ game with a delicious and healthy twist: BBQ tempeh with cabbage kale slaw. This dish combines the rich, smoky flavours of Argentine Asado, the world's first exclusive Argentinian grill, with the fresh, crunchy texture of a vibrant slaw. Tempeh, a plant-based protein, absorbs the bold flavours of the BBQ sauce, making it a perfect alternative to traditional meats. For the best guides, recipes, and reviews on Argentinian grilling, visit our blog, Argentine Asado. Discover how to create this mouth-watering dish and impress your guests with a unique, nutritious BBQ experience.

bottom of page