Peanut & Lemongrass Tempeh Satay

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Blue platter filled with Lemongrass Tempeh Satay skewers for a delicious vegan protein dish

If you’re in the mood for a grill-friendly recipe, look no further.

We’ve taken our love for tempeh to new depths with this Thai- and Inodnesian- Inspired Tempeh Satay. It’s extremely flavorful, easy to make, and perfect for adding to just about any noodle or salad dish. Let’s do this!

Food processor with ingredients for making the sauce for Lemongrass Tempeh Satay

Origins of Satay

Satay is a dish of skewered meat grilled and often served with, and/or marinated with an accompanying sauce, perhaps the most common internationally being spicy peanut sauce.

Though it’s origins lie in Java, Indonesia, satay is a South-east Asia favorite, with Malaysia and Singapore aso counting it among their national dishes. It can also be found in Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and beyond. Learn more about the history of satay here.

Bowl of tempeh triangles marinating in vegan Lemongrass Satay sauce

This 10-ingredient recipe is not authentic, but inspired by South-east Asian flavors. It starts with a flavorful marinade infused with lemongrass, peanut butter, chili, garlic, turmeric, and lime. The result is a tasty, sweet, vibrant sauce that’s perfect for infusing the tempeh.

The lovely thing about this recipe is it can be prepared on the grill, on the grill top, or in the oven depending on what equipment you have. It doesn’t have to be skewered either if that’s easier. The real magic is in the sauce (googly eyes).

We grilled our tempeh on the stovetop (using this grill pan) for a bit of caramelization before popping them into the oven to finish baking. The result is tempeh that’s tender, infused with flavor, and slightly browned on the edges.

Origins of Tempeh

Did you know tempeh originated in Central or East Java, Indonesia sometime around 1800? (source)

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that’s made of cooked, dehulled soybeans that are inoculated with mold, packed, and incubated until the beans are bound together by the mycelium.

Sounds like weird science, but this fermentation process makes nutrients more available to your body. Plus, tempeh is rich in prebiotics which have been known to promote gut health. It also boasts a whole range of other health benefits, including its iron and calcium content (source).

Parchment-lined baking sheet with gluten-free vegan Lemongrass Tempeh Satay skewers and dipping sauce

We hope you LOVE this tempeh! It’s:

Saucy
Spicy
Savory
Easy to make
Customizable
& SO tasty

This would be delicious on its own with a little peanut sauce as an appetizer or atop our Vibrant Mango Salad with Peanut Sauce, noodle bowls, wraps, and more! If you’re into Thai-inspired fare, also be sure to check out our Noodle-Free Pad Thai, Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews, Spring Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce, and Yellow Coconut Mango Curry!

More Satay Recipes

If you try this dish, let us know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Blue platter with grilled vegan tempeh skewers and lemongrass sauce

Peanut & Lemongrass Tempeh Satay

Incredibly flavorful Thai- and Indonesian-inspired tempeh satay infused with lemongrass, turmeric, peanut butter, and coconut aminos for a hearty, rich depth of flavor. Enjoy over rice, on salads, in wraps, or as an appetizer!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Tray of Vegan Tempeh Satay skewers alongside lime wedges, cilantro, and peanut sauce
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 day 50 minutes
Servings 4 (4-piece servings)
Course Side, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Indonesian-Inspired, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

TEMPEH

  • 8 ounces tempeh (we like Tofurky brand // ensure gluten-free friendly if needed // ensure grain-free if needed // opt for soy-free if needed)

SAUCE

  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce (or bird’s-eye chilies or red pepper flake to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (if avoiding oil, omit and add a bit more lime, coconut aminos, + maple syrup)
  • 2 Tbsp salted creamy peanut butter (or almond, cashew, or sunflower butter)
  • 6 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub gluten-free tamari* (which contains soy))
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 2 tsp fresh turmeric* (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 Pinch sea salt
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (ends removed, chopped into thirds)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • To reduce bitterness in the tempeh, add to rimmed skillet or saucepan filled with 1 inch of water and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Steam tempeh (uncovered) for a total of 10-12 minutes, flipping once at the halfway point.
  • Rinse, pat dry, and cut into bite-size pieces. I prefer slicing the tempeh in half lengthwise then cutting into triangles or rectangles. Keep in mind they need to be thick and large enough to add to skewers (if using). Set aside.
  • Make marinade by adding all ingredients (chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, coconut aminos, lime juice, maple syrup, turmeric (optional), garlic, salt, and lemongrass) to a food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, lime juice for acidity, or coconut aminos or salt for saltiness. Don’t be shy – you want this extremely flavorful!
  • Add the sliced tempeh to the marinade and toss to coat. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably 24 hours. I found that 24 hours infused the most flavor! While marinating, toss/stir occasionally to ensure even coating. It’s best if the tempeh is marinated in a bag or a shallow dish to ensure all pieces are submerged in the marinade.
  • Once marinated, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Carefully add tempeh to grill/oven-safe skewers and arrange on your baking sheet. Reserve any leftover marinade to brush/serve with the tempeh once baked. (If skipping skewers, proceed to step 8 by placing tempeh directly on baking sheet unskewered.)
  • Heat a grill or grill pan until very hot and brush surface with sesame or coconut oil to help prevent sticking. Once hot, add the skewers of tempeh and cook on both sides for about 4 minutes or until grill marks appear.
  • Place skewers back on baking sheet. Drizzle them with a bit more coconut aminos and leftover marinade for extra flavor. Optional but recommended!
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 F (190 C) or until deep golden brown, flipping once at the halfway point for even cooking. Remove from oven and brush/coat with any remaining marinade (see photo).
  • This tempeh is delicious on its own or with leftover marinade or peanut sauce. It’s perfect for adding to Asian-inspired dishes like lettuce cups, spring rolls, salads, and noodle dishes! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. 

Notes

*If subbing tamari, start by using half the amount called for as it can be saltier and more pungent in flavor.
*Can sub fresh turmeric with 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without serving ingredients and with the oil.
*Adapted from my Peanut Marinated Tempeh.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 255 Carbohydrates: 18 g Protein: 14.3 g Fat: 15.5 g Saturated Fat: 2.99 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.84 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.08 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 298 mg Potassium: 347 mg Fiber: 3.2 g Sugar: 9.8 g Vitamin A: 5.64 IU Vitamin C: 3.93 mg Calcium: 86.17 mg Iron: 3.38 mg

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  1. Brittani says

    Made this for meal prep this week and it was so good! Tempeh sometimes tastes dry, but this recipe was very flavorful and was great with some veggies & white rice!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoy it. Thanks for the lovely review, Brittani! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, no, we haven’t made changes here. Did it turn out differently than before? If so, could the brand of peanut butter or coconut aminos be different?

  2. Meghan says

    Hi Dana,

    Not sure if you’ll see this as I’m a few years late but I was wondering – could I do this with tofu? I assume it’s likely a yes but I just wanted to double check. I really don’t enjoy the texture of tempeh but the sauce sounds dynamite!

    Thank you!

  3. Helen Clark says

    My first attempt at cooking tempeh and it went down well! I even bought some more for next week… so now I’m on the look out for more recipes

  4. Linsey says

    This is becoming a regular staple in our house! Made this a couple weeks ago and am making it again tonight. Originally I made it to top the Mango Salad, however, decided to serve this over rice alongside the Mango Salad. We are doing that again tonight! It’s SO tasty.

    I couldn’t find lemongrass ANYWHERE so I just left it out. I also use Tamari instead of Coconut Aminos – last time was a bit salty so i’ll reduce the amount this time. Overall, a big winner. Me (vegan) and my husband (not vegan) thank you!

  5. Shawna says

    This is my fav peanut sauce!!!! The flavor is excellent. I baked my tempeh in the air fryer to get it crispy and served it over millet and rice ramen noodles. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  6. Julie Lesman says

    We made it and my family gobbled it up. I served it with the “Vibrant mango salad.” I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  7. @riri_nyc says

    Can I just grill this on an outdoor grill without using the oven for any part of it? If so, how would the instructions change?
    -Rita

  8. Lindsay says

    This tempeh satay turned out amazing! Great flavorful sauce – I used sriracha instead of chili paste and a mix of Bragg’s and coconut aminos, baked directly on parchment in the oven.

    Just last week I had tofu satay at a Thai restaurant and this recipe was spot on for flavor, even better! Thank you!

  9. Abigail LANIER says

    Made this for dinner a few nights ago. We served it over the Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews. The sauce for the salad and the tempeh were both so very good. Will probably add this to my recipe rotation. I did not have lemon grass available, so it was omitted.

  10. calgal says

    I’m soooo happy you’ve started adding directions to modify your recipes for us oil-free folks. I will be making a lot more of your recipes now! Thank you thank you thank you!

  11. Isabelle Lebire says

    Absolutely delicious! The best tempeh we ever had!! Can we freeze only the sauce and marinate afterwards? Thanks!!

  12. Nathalie says

    made this last night ! didnt skewer it though.

    was SUPER good. my husband isnt a fan of tempeh but he actually enjoyed this ! this is def going to be a staple in my dinners moving forward. =)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! Just bake longer until golden brown (and make sure if using skewers they are oven safe).

  13. Haley says

    Hi, Dana, for those avoiding oil, can the grilling step just be skipped? Can they be popped straight into the oven on a parchment sheet or silicone mat? Just wondering!

  14. Maria says

    Hi Dana!
    I LOVE your recipes and I’d love to try this one too :)
    Is it possible to use tofu instead of tempeh? (I’ve never had tempeh before so I don’t know how the consistency is compared to tofu).
    Thank you and thanks for making so many yummy dishes (I’ve made your falafels like 50 times and my family are now calling me to “order” a bag haha).

    Have a great day!
    -Maria

  15. Jessica says

    Hello! I was planning to put these right onto the grill.. any suggestions for cooking time would be appreciated. I’ve never cooked with Tempeh before. Mine have been marinating for about 40 hours. Thanks.

  16. Pooja Haney says

    I’m so excited to make this! Our grocery store has lemongrass and I have been eyeing it! Now I have a delicious reason to get some!

  17. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    This is such a delicious-looking recipe! I have always LOVED peanut satay with tofu and soy chicken. I can’t imagine this tempeh not tasting yummy. Definitely will be a great recipe for grilling! How do you know that the tempeh keeps for up to three days? What happens if you keep it for longer?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      After three days it will just start to lose its freshness. If you keep it for longer it can potentially get moldy and stale, just like any other perishable food might.

  18. Charlie says

    This looks absolutely delicious! I haven’t tried cooking much with lemon grass but I do love the taste, I reckon this would be a good way to introduce myself to cooking with it. I would love to try this for the next time I go to a BBQ, is there anything you would do differently if you were to BBQ them?

    Charlie | lovelyjubley.com

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, If you can get your hands on smoked tofu I’d highly recommend that! Otherwise, perhaps try a marinade of your favorite BBQ sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, hot sauce, and coconut aminos!

    • Ella Jane says

      When I BBQ tempeh, I just load it right on and cook for about 15 minutes over medium high heat – I can’t see why that method wouldn’t work once you made the skewers!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s something I plan to experiment with on my own soon! However, currently I buy tempeh made locally that’s soy-free that utilizes chickpeas, lentils, and split peas instead of soy beans.

    • Rachelle says

      I was just going to ask the same question! :)

      Cool, I didn’t realize that there was tempeh made from other legumes out there. I’d love to try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, unfortunately no. But when stores don’t have it fresh they often have it pureed in jars or tubes near the herbs.

      • Ann says

        How much pureed lemongrass would be equivalent to one stalk?

        My grocery sells it, but only in large bundles. So I bought a tube of the puree. But I wasn’t sure how much to use.

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi! Ann! In cooking use 1 Tbsp. of paste to replace 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemongrass or add according to your taste.

  19. Veronica says

    Looks amazing and I just happen to have extra lemon grass from a soup recipe I made this week. Going to get the tempeh today amd prep this for tomorrow!