Dinner, Gluten Free, Healthy, Stove Top, Vegan

Korean BBQ Tempeh with Citrus Salad

This Korean BBQ inspired tempeh is the perfect meatless main, with crispy pan fried tempeh crumbles and a sweet and sticky homemade BBQ sauce. Served over warm rice with a fresh citrus salad for an easy, flavor packed meal in under 30 minutes.

Korean BBQ Tempeh with Citrus Salad

How to Make Korean BBQ Tempeh

For a while, I didn’t think I liked tempeh. I’ll admit, it is somewhat of an acquired taste all by itself—similar to tofu, but when prepared in the right way, it’s pretty delicious. This Korean BBQ tempeh is actually very addicting, with those perfect bite sized crumbles and sticky sweet sauce. So good.

The tempeh is simple to make. Just start by whisking together the ingredients for the BBQ sauce: soy sauce, ginger garlic, some tomato paste, a little brown sugar and a touch of toasted sesame oil. Also, a tablespoon of gochujang really brings this sauce to the next level. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s commonly used in Korean BBQ. It can be found in most well stocked grocery stores or Asian markets.

Set the sauce aside then cut the tempeh into slices. Even though we’re eventually going to crumble it up and douse it in sauce, browning the slices beforehand introduces lots of delicious flavor. Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the slices until they have a deep golden brown color on both sides. Reduce the heat and pour over the sauce, using the back of the spoon to break the tempeh into crumbles.

Continue heating the tempeh in the sauce until it becomes thick and slightly caramelized. Keep the heat down pretty low to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.

Korean BBQ tempeh

What to Serve with Korean BBQ Tempeh

With all the strong flavors in the tempeh, a bright citrus salad is the perfect way to balance out the dish. I used a combination of naval and blood oranges, but feel free to use whatever combination of citrus you like. Pink grapefruit, tangerines, mandarins and cara cara oranges would all be delicious.

The rest of the salad is a blend of lime juice, scallions, cilantro, a little honey (or maple syrup) and salt. The salad can be made up to a day in advance and chilled in the fridge.

I like to serve my Korean BBQ tempeh over white short-grain rice,, (brown rice would also work) topped with citrus salad and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. If you’re looking to add some extra veggies to your plate, try some roasted broccoli, bell peppers or steamed green beans.

citrus salad

More Recipes to Try

Korean BBQ tempeh with citrus salad

Made this Korean BBQ Tempeh? Tag @wandering_chickpea on Instagram and follow along on Pinterest for more delicious recipes!

Yield: 2-3 servings

Korean BBQ Tempeh with Citrus Salad

Korean BBQ Tempeh with Citrus Salad

Sweet and sticky Korean BBQ inspired tempeh served over sticky white rice, topped with a fresh citrus salad.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


For the citrus salad

  • 1 cup citrus (see note), diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

For the tempeh

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 8 oz tempeh, slice
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or other heat tolerant oil
  • Cooked short-grain rice for serving


    1. Mix together all ingredients for the citrus salad. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
    2. For the tempeh, whisk together the soy sauce, tomato paste, gochujang, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Set aside.
    3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the avocado oil. When shimmering, place the tempeh slices in an even layer and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
    4. Use a spoon to break the tempeh into smaller crumbles then pour in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes more until thickened and caramelized. Serve warm with rice topped and the citrus salad.


I used a mixture of navel orange and blood orange for the salad. Feel to use any combination of these or other citrus fruits such as pink grapefruit or tangerines.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 441Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1178mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 23gProtein: 20g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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