Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh

The best tempeh recipe I've highlighted to date - it features a simple ginger and garlic-spiked orange glaze that plays of the nutty earthiness of the pan-fried tempeh beautifully.

Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh

This might be the best tempeh recipe I've highlighted to date. It features a simple ginger and garlic-spiked orange glaze that plays off the nutty, earthiness of pan-fried tempeh beautifully. Unlike many other tempeh recipes, there is no need for a long marinade time with this one, making it great for a last-minute weeknight meal.
Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh
The recipe comes with a bit of a story, originates in a book I suspect many of you haven't seen yet, and started with an email I received one morning last September from Australian cookbook author (and natural foods enthusiast) Jude Blereau. It read,

Dear Heidi, My name is Jude Blereau and I'm a Natural Foods Chef and author from Western Australia. I'm currently in San Francisco, having a fabulous time(...) I'd love the opportunity to have a chat with you and meet you. We do similar work I think, though with our own different slant. Hoping we can meet...

The name sounded quite familiar to me, I did a quick scan of my cookbooks, and spotted her book immediately. It was a thoughtfully composed volume of natural food recipes that I had tucked into my suitcase on my journey back from New Zealand a couple years ago. The minute I discovered Wholefood in a bookstore in Wellington, I knew I was reading along with a cook I had much in common with. Flash forward a couple years (and emails) later and we are chatting over coffee and croissants at Tartine Bakery here in San Francisco.
Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh
We talked about all sorts of things, and I asked Jude if she'd let me highlight one of her recipes here on the site. She told me she had a new book just published in Australia, and that she'd send the new one to me upon her return. Today's tempeh recipe is from Jude's new book - Coming Home to Eat: Wholefood for the Family published by Murdoch Books. It is beautifully written, delicately designed, brimming with great recipes, and punctuated by a handful of photographs (by Geoff Fisher and Michelle Aboud) that help set the aesthetic tone of the book perfectly.
Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh
My hope is that Coming Home to Eat will get U.S. distribution sometime in the near future, but as far as I know, that could take some time. Meanwhile, you can follow Jude through her site or her blog. And if you find yourself in Perth looking for a cooking class experience or natural chef training program - Jude's the one to track down.

And thank you for reaching out Jude, I look forward to visiting you in Perth someday. You books an inspiring, and your enthusiasm infectious. I hope our paths cross again soon. -h

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Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh Recipe

4.04 from 32 votes

HS note: This recipe is equally good made with tofu. I made a couple minor tweaks to the recipe based on American ingredients/measurements. You can make a meal out of this by pairing it with some lightly sauteed seasonal vegetables, or in this case I simple served if over some left-over cooked wheat berries that I heated with a bit of chopped kale.

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
  • 1/2 lime
  • a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves
  1. Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.
  2. Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Put the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.
  4. Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime, with the coriander scattered on top. Heidi note: As I mention in the head notes, I served this over some leftover wheat berries heated with a few handfuls of chopped kale.

Serves 4. (or two if you love it as much as we did -h)

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Hi Jennifer, I too was once troubled by tempeh's less-than-fresh appearance, so I turned to the massive tome Passionate Vegetarian by the unforgetable Crescent Dragonwagon. She writes that the spots that look like mold in your tempeh reflect how the stuff is made: by culturing soybeans with a mold called Rhizopus oligosporus. The process similar to how milk is cultured into yogurt by the enlisting the aid of bacteria. Now that's not to say you were eating "moldy" food. Your average American tempeh looks like a cobblestone path: brown spots along with a few darker ones, suspended in a white or slightly grey cake. The brown "stones" are bits of soy; the "cement" is the cake that forms from the culturing process. The darker spots are also part of the culturing, but you only want to see a few of those. Very spotty tempeh is on its way to spoilage. That lighter tempeh you found was less fermented than the darker stuff, probably with a milder flavor. A note on tempeh - since it is formed from a mold, it's not to be eaten raw like tofu. Tempeh recipes, like this gem, include a marinating step followed by baking, stir-frying, sauteing, and other cooking methods. I almost always boil a block of tempeh as my first step - it lightens the texture and makes it easier to cook and digest (and Kate, that will lessen the bitterness!). I likely will when I try this recipe! But some people like the firm, meaty texture and full flavor. Finally, like with any food preserved by refrigeration, follow your nose! If you're tempeh (or soy milk or yogurt or cream...) is bad, you will smell it into next week. Good luck, and here's to your culinary adventurousness!

Jess @ lavidaveggie

The cookbook looks beautiful. Lucky you, getting a call and then a visit from the cook herself! -JJ

Mama JJ

I love tempeh but I always seem to make the same dish with it. This is just the recipe I needed to change this silly habit of mine. Thanks Heidi and Jude!


I love everything about this recipe! The flavors sound spectacular, and the method is so easy--perfect. I've got a block of tempeh in the freezer that was made for this.


Thanks so much for this recipe, I'd love to try it but I'm not sure about using mirin. I don't want to use anything with alcohol, could you please recommend a substitute? Thanks!


I'm going to join the other commenters in saying that I've never cooked tempeh before but this looks great.

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

Heidi, I love your recipes and have been a fan for over a year. This one sounds like a winner. I have tempeh in the fridge and am going to try it tonight. Many thanks!


i literally just finished leftovers for lunch of the maple grilled tempeh featured last july. though it's hard to imagine topping that recipe, i can hardly wait to try the citrus twist presented here. thank you for making tempeh so yummilicious.


Hello Heidi, The name Jude Blereau sounded immediately familiar to me, too... as I've got Coming Home to Eat! I found it and got my copy on but also saw it at the book section in Whole Foods store in London's South Kensington. I, too, have never cooked tempeh myself... I think I've seen it at some natural food store in Tokyo, but I might give it a try with tofu (over brown rice or maybe even farro or barley). Thanks! :)


I tried this recipe out today and did not find that the Tempeh was bitter at all! Actually, it was quite delicious and used up the two packages of lightlife organic tempeh I had stored in the fridge for the past months! Thanks!


Wow, another tempeh recipe :). I love your TLT one and I'm sure this is equally good. I "vegetarianized" a dish that an aunt of mine made while growing up by using tempeh and it seemed quite successful. Perhaps I can share with you once I have the recipe actually written down. I don't think a bit of this and a splash of that would work very well :).


I love Jude Blereau's Wholefood-- her recipes and attitude toward food and cooking are inspiring. I especially appreciate the care she takes in preparing grains (the porridge section got us through the winter last year, as we were tired of oatmeal by January!). I've never tried tempeh, and after the mold discussion, I'll probably pass on it for a while longer! But this recipe and the picture are definitely tempting! Thanks for the heads-up on the new wholefood book. :-)


Thanks Heidi and Jess for the guidance! I am looking forward to trying this!


Heidi, who wouldn't want to sit down over croissant with you?!


Is there a substitute for Mirin?


Heidi, do you ever steam the tempeh first, before marinating and frying? I've only recently started doing this, per Deborah Madison's advice, and have found that not only is the tempeh less bitter according to my kids (I never mind bitter), but also it slightly increases in volume, and certainly the texture improves, so that it seems to go farther and be more satisfying. Or perhaps you have access to better tempeh than I?


    Sometimes, and I agree. Steamed tempeh is really delicious. Jude doesn't steam first in this recipe. :)

    Heidi Swanson

I have cooked tempeh before and found it bitter ... this sounds like a perfect remedy! Thanks and LOVE the site :)


I had never cooked with tempeh until I attempted your TLT sandwich which was excellent and has become a family favorite (even with the non-vegetarians who request it all the time)! I love the way this dish looks and am anxious to try it - but I have a question about tempeh. When I opened my first tempeh package (months before the expiration date) it looked like it might have become moldy. Since I had no idea what it should look like I bought another package of the same brand which had a lighter color, so I threw the first package away to be safe. Since then I have opened a number of packages that have looked questionable, which makes me wonder if there is a normal color variation in tempeh or if I just happened to get a number of bad packages? Can you tell me how the tempeh should look so I don't throw away perfectly good tempeh? Thanks! HS: Hi Jennifer, see the comments Jess made below, she is an earlier riser than I am ;) But in short, a bit of bloom is no big deal, I usually see it around the corners. If it bothers you just trim it.


I also have never cooked with tempeh but you have inspired me! I'm actually a Wellingtonian and have come across Jude's books before, so I will be looking out for her new one. I'm an avid reader of your blog and I'd like to thank you for your absolutely beautiful recipes! I also send deferred thanks from friends, coworkers, family and my boyfriend - the main samplers of my cooking. You really are a chef to admire and I hope that you are able to visit this part of the world again soon. Jo


I have never used tempeh before, but this recipe may spur me into expanding my culinary repertoire! I love any savory dish with citrus flavours in it, and this sounds very flavourful indeed. Thanks Heidi, your recipes always inspire me to try new things. :)


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