Basil-Ginger Marinated Tempeh

Last updated on April 9th, 2021

Basil and ginger combine in a bright marinade that doubles as a garnish. Lime juice adds a refreshing flavor and enough acidity to soften the tempeh without steaming it first. That means less work in the kitchen and a cooler home on a hot day. If soy is completely off the menu, try this marinade on a favorite lean protein.

Grilled tempeh is an excellent protein for a meatless meal. Unlike tofu, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Fermentation reduces phytic acid, which would otherwise inhibit absorption of many of these daily minerals. The fermentation process also produces enzymes that predigest the soy carbohydrates, which reduces gas and indigestion associated with eating legumes. Tempeh is a great vegan source of B vitamins, as well as minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

Make Sure the Tempeh is Gluten-Free

Development of this recipe used organic, gluten-free tempeh. However, one trip to the co-op found that specific brand out of stock. In a rush to get home I grabbed a package from another company, noted the organic seal, and headed on my way. It wasn’t until the next day when the tempeh had been grilled and photographed that we remembered to check if it was certified gluten-free. The packaging yielded no information about gluten: no gluten-free certification, yet no warning of shared equipment or facility. A quick check of the manufacturer’s online FAQ found the following:

We have some products that are labeled gluten free and run in a gluten free facility…We also have products that do not contain wheat, but are not labeled gluten free as there could be cross-contamination. Please read labels carefully and can also reference our website for ingredient and nutritional information. If you have a gluten allergy, we recommend you consult with your physician before consuming.

In other words, even though their tempeh doesn’t contain wheat, they can’t guarantee it’s safe for people with celiac disease or wheat allergies. We had a close call with possible cross-contamination—thankfully we caught it in time. Although typically free from gluten-containing ingredients, store-bought tempeh commonly has the potential of gluten cross-contamination. Always verify with the manufacturer when packaging doesn’t clearly state if tempeh is certified gluten-free.

basil ginger marinade
tempeh in basil-ginger marinade

Learn how to grow your own basil from cuttings here.


  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 TBSP avocado oil
  • 1-inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ c basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (6-8 oz) package organic, gluten-free tempeh


Juice lime into a bowl, whisk in avocado oil a bit at a time to form an emulsion. Stir in ginger, garlic, salt and pepper, and basil leaves. With half the basil mixture create a bed in a container. Add tempeh, and cover with the other half of the mixture.

Cover the container and refrigerate. Marinate at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Prepare grill for medium-heat cooking. Remove tempeh from container, reserve basil mixture. Place the tempeh on the grill, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip tempeh, and top with reserved basil mixture. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from grill, preserving basil mixture. Serve tempeh with basil-mixture garnish.

Serves 2-4

2 thoughts on “Basil-Ginger Marinated Tempeh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *