Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl
January 12, 2016

My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

I was chatting with a friend recently, and she mentioned that she likes the idea of tempeh, but every time she plans to make it and goes searching for recipes, she gets overwhelmed. “Do I really have to steam it first?” she asked. “Is it that bitter?” My answers were no, and no. For the most part, I think that tempeh can be really easy to prepare, so long as you use a good marinade. Today, I’m sharing my favorite lemon pepper baked tempeh cubes, which can be used to add flavor and a protein boost to any grain bowl or salad.


The idea behind steaming tempeh prior to cooking is that tempeh has a naturally bitter taste. To me, it tastes more earthy than bitter, but in any case I understand that it’s a distinctive and unusual flavor if you’ve never encountered it before. I’ve never found that steaming tempeh improves it very much, though: instead, I like to marinate tempeh strips or cubes before I cook them. I find that this takes away any of the bitterness, and it also allows them tempeh to soak up plenty of flavor before cooking.

My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

Once the cubes are baked, you can use them for essentially any type of dish. As you’ll see, I love to pair them with rice and veggies in a grain bowl, but you can also throw them onto a lunch salad for quick, easy protein, stuff them into your favorite wrap, add them to tacos, or even use them to top a bowl of savory oats.

My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

Personally, I love to pick up on the lemony flavors by pairing the tempeh cubes with an easy batch of the herbed rice I’m sharing today and whatever veggies I have on hand. I use roasted broccoli in this particular recipe, but beets, roasted carrots, sweet potato, rutabaga, or cabbage would all be great additions! As would a scoop of homemade lacto-fermented veggies, kimchee, or hummus.

Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon heaping black pepper, plus extra.
  • 1 8- ounce block tempeh cut into cubes (or strips)


  • Whisk all of the ingredients except for the tempeh together in a small bowl. Place the tempeh cubes in an airtight storage container and pour the marinade over them. Cover and shake the container so that the tempeh is coated on all sides. Allow the tempeh to marinate for at least two hours in the fridge, or up to a day (I usually do it overnight).
  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Place the tempeh cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet and give them an extra turn of black pepper. Bake the tempeh for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cubes are golden brown, flipping the cubes over halfway through baking. Serve.


Leftover tempeh cubes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup brown basmati or long-grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup green onions roughly chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups roasted baked, or steamed broccoli
  • 6 cups shredded raw kale or salad greens of choice baby spinach, arugula, etc.
  • 1 batch lemon pepper baked tempeh recipe above
  • 1 batch lemon hemp dressing or any dressing of your choice


  • Soak the brown rice overnight, if possible. To prepare the rice, put a medium sized pot over medium/low flame. Drain and rinse the soaked rice and add it to the pot. Toast the rice, stirring constantly, until it appears dry and smells nutty. Add 2 cups water (or low sodium vegetable broth) and bring the rice to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer the rice for 30-40 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and allow it to rest for a few minutes.
  • Place the onions, garlic, lemon, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse until the herbs and onions are finely minced. Add the mixture to the rice and stir well to combine. Check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • To assemble the bowls, pile four bowls with 1 1/2 cups kale or other greens. Top the greens with 1/2 cup broccoli, a heaping half cup of the rice, a quarter of the tempeh cubes, and a nice drizzle (2-3 tablespoons) of lemon hemp dressing. Serve.


Leftover rice will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

 I love what the creamy hemp dressing adds to this bowl: a little extra lemony zing and a creamy texture that contrasts so nicely with the crispy greens and broccoli.

My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

Of course, you can use any favorite dressing here; my delightfully green tahini dressing, turmeric tahini dressing, or creamy hemp basil sauce would all be great. A simple vinaigrette would also be fine, or just some avocado slices and a squeeze of lemon!

My Favorite Lemon Pepper Baked Tempeh Cubes + Lemon Pepper Tempeh and Herbed Rice Bowl | The Full Helping

This is a hearty bowl of ingredients for cold days. I’ve always thought that there’s something particularly nourishing about tempeh. Maybe it’s the knowledge that I’m getting protein, calcium, B Vitamins, and zinc; maybe it’s the hearty texture or that earthy, grounding flavor. Whatever it is, it makes including tempeh in my meals a pleasure, and lemon pepper baked tempeh cubes are a pretty fun, low stress way to do it.

Hope you’ll enjoy the cubes and the bowl! I’ll be back on Thursday with a spicy, lemony, and seasonal vegan pasta recipe.


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  1. FANTASTIC!!! New favorite…this recipe blew our minds. I could eat that tempeh every day. You are a wizard Gena. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I must be the only person on the plant who likes the taste of tempeh just the way it is, well cooked, anyway. I prefer it fried – which means I don’t get my preference very often – lol. I crumble it into pasta sauce, marinade and bake it, toss it in with my greens. But, I suspect my bitter taste receptors are outside the normal curve. I love the taste of a lot of things other people say are too bitter.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! We made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely incredible. The tempeh, especially, was just perfect (we only marinated it about half the day and it turned out great). Because there was leftover marinade and we didn’t want to waste it, we actually used it to saute some red cabbage and had that instead of the greens. The rest we kept the same except we omitted the oil because we are oil-free. That hemp dressing… drool! Will definitely, definitely be making this again. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I love hearing about your modifications! Always helpful for me to keep in mind 🙂

  4. Gena, thank you so much for that awesome recipe. I tried it last Saturday, and I’m actually having leftovers for lunch. I’ve already tried a lot of your wonderful recipes, got one of your book that has become a reference in my kitchen, but I’ve never left a comment (too shy)… As I was eating my lunch, my mouth was so grateful that I couldn’t keep it just for me. That is so delicious, tastes combine so well… and it reconciliates me with rice! And icing on the cake: it’s pretty beautiful 🙂
    One regret though: why haven’t I done more of it??
    Thank you Gena, from one of your French fan!

    • Oh, Marion! Thank you so much for letting me know; that really means a lot to me. I’m glad you decided to comment, and even more glad that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  5. I actually just started hearing about steaming tempeh. I have never done it before, I definitely do not find it bitter. I’m more like you and find it earthy.
    This sounds super delicious – I will be making this soon!

  6. 5 stars
    Gena! I had to tell you this was our first official meal in our new house! I didn’t look at the instructions ahead of time, so I didn’t realize there was marinade time involved. Oops! But! Instead, I tossed it in a container a few times over 15 minutes, then pan cooked it with all of the marinade sauce for about 10-12 minutes over medium until deeply golden brown. It was fabulous! I made quinoa and steamed broccolini for sides and doused it all in your deeeelicious hemp dressing. SO good. My other fav tempeh recipe is the orange pan-glazed tempeh from 101 Cookbooks. Another super simple thing I like to do with tempeh is make BBQ sandwiches. I thinly slice the tempeh, fully cover in a baking dish (parchment lined) with BBQ sauce, and bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes. The tempeh becomes super tender when cooked in sauce. So so good + easy! 🙂 Thanks for this killer recipe!

  7. It’s been such a long time since I’ve cooked tempeh, and you’re convincing me that I need to go pick up a block of it soon! One of my favorite recipes is from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, and it’s tempeh that’s baked in a pomegranate glaze. I agree with you, as long as the marinade is good, the tempeh will taste great. Thanks for the recipe inspiration, Gena!

  8. My husband loves tempeh while I’ve never gotten into the texture. Do you think I could use extra firm tofu for me?

  9. Oh my goodness thank you for this marinade inspiration! I made a slightly altered tofu version for scott last night and he was drooling, loved it so so much! Thank you for your always inspiring creations! xo

    • Woohoo! I’m so glad you liked it, and he liked it. Steven’s eyes brightened up when he tasted these cubes, too 🙂

  10. Just had to pop in here real quick to say that I love your bowls- Both the food inside them and the actual bowls themselves! Beautiful all around. <3

  11. 5 stars
    I really need to try Tempeh, I follow the Fodmap diet which helps my IBS incredibly but i’m not a fan of tofu so this looks like a better alternative! I’ll try and make this and tweet you a picture!

  12. I love the taste of tempeh! I’ve never found it bitter, like you said- it’s more earthy. And I love the texture, too. I’ve always pan-fried my tempeh- I think this recipe will be my first foray into baking it. Looks so yummy! Total heart eyes for that creamy hemp dressing <3

  13. I love tempeh a lot and it’s easier on my digestion than tofu. And bless you for making a marinade recipe that doesn’t call for garlic! I am on FODMAPs diet and garlic and onions are so tragic for my GI distress–and almost every recipe for marinades (etc) calls for garlic. I leave it out, but I always feel like I’m missing something – so it’s great when a recipe is developed to have maximum flavor without the garlic! I’m going to double this and keep it on hand for lunch grain bowls!

    • I have a bunch of clients doing the low FODMAP diet, Sarah, and I know that garlic-free dressings and marinades are hard to come by! So glad this recipe works for you and your needs 🙂

      • Yes, and store-bought is worse: EVERYTHING has garlic and onions, usually in more than one form. I literally read a label the other day for a sauce that had dried garlic, garlic paste, onions, and dried onions!! I could feel the GI distress just thinking about it!

  14. This looks so amazing!! I’m pinning this now. MUST make soon. I love tempeh, but I fall into ruts and do the same marinades over and over.

  15. OH Gena, this is my kind of bowl! Looks so good! I love lemony peppery things with greens and I’ve recently been reminded how much I like tempeh. Putting this on my “to make” list–thanks!! xoxo

    • I sometimes forget how much I love tempeh, too, Maria, but I find it so rewarding to make and eat. I hope you enjoy the bowl! XO

  16. I have actually never tried tempeh but I have been wanting to try it in forever. I think I’ll see if I can find it in my health food store. The dish looks really good.