Sesame-Honey Glazed Tempeh Recipe

Image adapted from Flickr, sleepyneko, CC BY-SA 2.0

Glazing is a classic culinary technique that takes an ordinary ingredient and makes it saucy, sweet, and sexy. It’s a very tasty thing, and incredibly easy to do. Glazes are not only for cupcakes and cookies (think thin, drizzly frosting), but for savory dishes like meats, vegetables, and grains—basically, anything that you want to make saucy, sweet, and sexy.

Here, it’s tempeh’s time to shine—in a saucy glaze, that is!—with my Sesame-Honey Glazed Tempeh Recipe. The sauce is made from just honey, orange juice, and a sesame flare from both sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

The tempeh is first pan-fried to get nicely browned and pre-cooked, then the glaze is cooked in the skillet right over the tempeh, which soaks up the glaze as it reduces, getting softer and tastier by the minute.

This recipe only includes tempeh as the star, but the glaze works fantastically if you throw vegetables into the skillet, as well. Just pan-fry or blanch them first to get them softened before they go in. Great vegetables to try out would be carrots, Brussels sprouts, onions, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or edamame.

To make this dish completely vegan (if you avoid honey), replace the honey with maple syrup or brown rice syrup.

Sesame-Honey Glazed Tempeh Recipe

Makes about 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 (8-ounce) piece tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup honey
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Blanched or pan-fried vegetables, for serving


Heat olive and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium. Add tempeh and cook until lightly browned, turning over to cook both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. (If oil starts to smoke, turn heat down slightly so as to not burn tempeh.)

Add honey, orange juice, soy sauce, and ginger to skillet; bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until liquid has reduced to a thick sauce consistency that will coat the back of a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes total. Turn tempeh over every few minutes to coat all sides in the sauce as it reduces.

Remove tempeh from pan and place on serving plates. Spoon any remaining glaze over tempeh. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Image adapted from Flickr, sleepyneko, CC BY-SA 2.0