I absolutely loved tempeh the first time I ever tried it. But I quickly discovered that not everyone feels the same. In fact, in the world of vegetarian foods, tempeh is pretty darn dividing. That's a bummer for someone like me who adores tempeh, because it's such a good source of protein, and there's so much you can do with it!
When I first met my husband, he was firmly seated in the tempeh-haters camp. I viewed that as a challenge, and I'm happy to say that by now I've managed to win him over on tempeh. I'm also extremely proud to say that he declared these tempeh burgers to be his favorite veggie burgers ever.
I've found there are a few tricks where tempeh is concerned. Most people's big objection to tempeh is it's bitterness, which can be taken away by steaming. I actually recommend steaming the tempeh for these burgers even if you don't mind the bitter flavor, because it precooks the tempeh so you can taste test as you prepare the burger mixture (you should never eat raw tempeh).
The other trick is to add lots of additional flavors, which is why I went with spicy sriracha sauce, sweet maple syrup, and a nice hit of garlic to season up these burgers. Some black beans and oat flour help to bind the mixture while keeping the option for gluten-free burgers available, and carrots add an extra bit of texture and sweetness that goes really nicely with the heat from the sriracha. Because I like my food extra spicy, I topped my burger off with a mix of ketchup and some more sriracha, but feel free to go with plain old ketchup for a milder burger. Either way, you'll end up with a hearty burger that's loaded with flavor, carries a nice dose of protein, and is relatively low in calories. It might just make tempeh into your new favorite thing.
- 1 8 ounce package tempeh
- 1 cup rolled oats optionally certified gluten-free
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup diced carrots about 2 carrots
- ¾ cup canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce or to taste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Oil or cooking spray for grilling
- 4 to 6 burger buns
- Sriracha sauce
- Avocado slices
- Tomato slices
- Pour a few inches of water into a medium saucepan and fit it with a steamer basket. Break the tempeh into 5 or 6 chunks and place them in the basket. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower heat so the water is at a simmer, cover, and allow the tempeh to steam for 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you don't have a steamer basket, you can place the tempeh pieces right into the water. After 10 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat, transfer the tempeh pieces to a plate, and allow them to cool a bit while you gather your other ingredients.
- Place the oats into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Blend to a powder, then add the steamed tempeh, onion, garlic, carrots, beans, sriracha sauce, soy sauce or tamari, maple syrup, and liquid smoke to the bowl. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped and well mixed, scraping down the bowl between pulses as needed.
- Shape the tempeh mixture into 4 to 6 patties.
- Lightly oil a large skillet and place it over medium heat. Working in batches if needed, place the patties into the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
- Stuff the patties into buns and top with ketchup, extra sriracha sauce, avocado, lettuce, and tomato slices. Serve.
Maja Harder says
I like tempah as well, even though I do feel it is too bitter sometimes. I didn't know you can steam them to get rid of that - so I'll definitely try that next time making it ?
Hi. I live in Indonesia, where tempeh (especially in Java) is a staple and supposedly it came from here too. I just wanted to comment that I found the part about people disliking due to its bitterness... odd. Simply because I've never once even associated tempeh with any kind of bitter flavor! Whether it's as dried crackers, fried (the most popular and predominant way to cook them, usually with soy sauce), deep fried, in soup etc. never once did I find any bitter flavor. I have to ask, do people in the west actually eat things like these raw? I'm curious because one of my friends also did not like tofu (he was from Saudi Arabia), and when I asked if he fried them or had them in a soup he said he had it raw! Well of course it would taste bad then...
Hi Fay! I was actually surprised too when I first heard people say tempeh was bitter - I always thought it was delicious. But after having lots of people disagree with me I tried steaming it, and it definitely results in a milder flavor. Oh, and I'd never eat tempeh raw! But when I'm blending up a base for some veggie burgers (which I usually make out of beans), I like to taste-test and adjust the seasonings before cooking them up. 🙂
School project says
uhm how much cals?
We don't provide that information because it depends on the number of servings (this recipes makes 4 to 6 patties) and how you serve them, but this is a great tool for calculating it yourself: https://www.verywell.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4129594
Sandra Lea says
Can you bake these instead of frying? If so what temperature and for how long would you suggest? Thank you.
I've had luck baking other veggie burgers at 400°F for about 30 minutes, so that would be my best guess. I'd use parchment paper and flip them halfway through. I'd love to hear how it works if you give it a try.
OMGsh these were yummy (my first ever attempt at a tempeh recipe, too!). Since this made 6 burgers and we only ate 3, do you have suggestions on storage & reheat? Do they freeze okay? Thanks a bunch!
I'm so glad you enjoyed them! They should freeze just fine if you seal them up tight. If you make them again, I'd just cook up as many patties as you need and then freeze the rest of the burger mix, so later on you can thaw, shape and cook them up just like they're freshly made. 🙂
Thanks for the input! My hubby liked them so much, the rest will actually be eaten today and never make it to the freezer haha!
I accidentally added a whole 15 oz can of black beans and mmmmm!! Absolutely delicious! It made 14 patties. I put on lettuce, tomato, and egg white. Didn't even use a bun, the flavor was amaaaazing. Next time I have them, I'll add some avocado and onion. When I make them again I might add 1/2 or 1 jalapeño. These are so so so tasty, I can't wait to play around. Could eat them for the rest of my life?
This is definitely the kind of recipe you can customize! I'm glad you enjoyed them. 🙂
I don't like liquid smoke and for a smokey taste I used a piece of frozen chipotle pepper instead (I'd frozen the rest of a tin of chipotle in adobo sauce after I'd used a bit) Also used white beans I had instead of black. Delish! Thanks for the recipe. It's a keeper.
Chipotle sounds like a delicious addition to this. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed them!!