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Homemade Tempeh [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Making your own tempeh at home can be a process, but the pay-off is big. Imagine cooking up a plant-based reuben using your own tempeh or crumbling it up to be used in meatless bolognese sauce. This homemade tempeh recipe combines soybeans with a blend of grains for extra protein.

Homemade Tempeh [Vegan, Gluten-Free]




  • 2 cups soybeans
  • 2 cups cooked grains (brown rice, farro, quinoa, bulgur, etc…)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rhizopus starter cultures


  1. For this step, you can either cook soybeans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. If cooking on the stovetop, soak overnight, drain and rinse, and then cook according to package instructions.
  2. For the pressure cooker method, add 2 cups of soy beans and cover them with water (a few inches above). Lock down the lid and set the burner to high. Once the cooker begins to chug, down it down to simmer and set your timer for 14 minutes. This time may vary depending on your location and altitude.
  3. When the timer sounds, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure to come down naturally. You’ll know it’s safe to open when the pin drops down and the lid may be opened. At this point, drain and rinse the beans. Once they’re cool, massage them around for a while with your hands, focusing on mashing about 50 percent of them up.
  4. Then return them to the pot and fill with cold water. You’ll see the skins rise to the surface. Skim those off and discard. Repeat this step about 3 times until you’ve removed most of the skin. Drain again and let them dry on a doubled over towel. You want to get them dry for the next step. This prevents moisture-related issues later on, i.e. undesired mold.
  5. Cook your grains and let them cool.
  6. The last steps are to add the beans and grains together in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of starter to the bowl and mix it up well. Then, dump the bowl’s contents into a 9×13-inch baking pan, carefully press it down with your hands or a potato masher (it needn’t be tightly packed; in fact, some space between beans is necessary for mold growth), cover with perforated foil and stick it in a warm place (85-90°F) for the next 24 hours.
  7. Slowly the culture will produce a fuzzy, white layer over and between the beans/grains. Eventually, around 21-25 hours, this layer will be really robust, very fuzzy, and very earthy in smell. That’s good.
  8. The range of productive rhizopus growth basically ends at 105°F. At that point, it’s wise to lower the external temperature to adjust the internal or take stock of what you’ve got and call it a day. When the latter happens, carefully knife the edges of the form, tip the mat of tempeh onto your hands upside down and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Once free of the form the internal temperature will drop fast, yielding tempeh that’s ready to eat immediately or steam and freeze for later. It’s good in the refrigerator for a week or so too.




Fresh, original, delicious vegan food that can be made while balancing the demands of a busy lifestyle. I'm a full-time teacher, father, and ultra-runner obsessed with vegan food, recipe development, and photography. I write my blog to share food-related experiences while living as an expatriate in Nicaragua. I work really hard to produce the most original, delicious vegan food that I can while balancing the demands of a busy lifestyle. Veganism is a way of life that demands exposure!



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