Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Recipe: Tempeh Burgers with Corn and Kale Chips

on July 12, 2012

The return of the recipe!  With the spirit of summer, I wanted to create a new veggie burger.  I had tried making a black bean one before…and it was an overall fail.  Super sticky and hard to make patties, and really dry once cooked.  I looked around the internet and borrowed some techniques and advice from various places.

I modified the technique found here.  So, if you think of tempeh and go, ew, its all grainy and weird, then read this post.  This part summarizes exactly how I feel about tempeh!  Thanks so much, Debbie!  And great blog 🙂

“Ah, tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a chewy texture and somewhat nutty flavor. I have a love/hate relationship with tempeh. I love it when I have a Scorpion Burger at Native Foods. I hate it when I try to make my own version. And I couldn’t figure out why. Until now. I read a lot of vegan cooking blogs, and unfortunately, I can’t remember where I got this tip in order to give credit where it is due. It is so simple that it may be universally known and I was the only one who was out of the loop. The key to tasty tempeh? As simple as steam. I now steam my tempeh for about 15-20 minutes before preparing it. Steaming removes some of the bitter taste and allows the tempeh to soak up any marinade or sauce that is used in its preparation.”

Aha!  Steam!  Perhaps this was the secret!  So, I set about employing this new revelation, along with a recipe I found at Veg News, right here.  This recipe seemed to have a good list of spices, so I used it as a starting point.  Plus, the recipe also incorporated the steaming technique I found above.

Let us begin 🙂


  • 1 8 ounce package of tempeh (side note – super cheap at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/4 ts of basil, cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 ts oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbs ketchup
  • 1/8 cup italian bread crumbs (I ran out of flour)
  • 1 flax egg (1tbs ground flax mixed with 3 tbs of warm water)

Note:  I know it seems like a lot of ingredients, but I basically just threw in all the spices my mom and I used to use when we made burgers.  We like them flavorful!  with the exception of the cayenne, I think she’d approve 🙂  She also always added ketchup (for moisture maybe?) and an egg to hold it all together, so I followed that mold.


  • Cut the tempeh into thirds and place in a steamer.  Steam for 15-20 minutes
  • Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and the egg
  • Remove the tempeh from the steamer, and carefully cut into small pieces
  • Toss in the marinade and mix thoroughly using either an air tight container or a zip lock to ensure even coating
  • Let the tempeh sit in the marinade for at least a half hour, or until you’re ready to cook
  • Pour the tempeh into a food processor, and add the flour and flax egg and whiz until you get the proper consistency  (I used my mini blender because I don’t have a food processor, worked fine, but I had to do half batches!)
  • Pour the tempeh mixture out and form into 4 patties
  • To cook:  Cook over medium heat in a well cooking sprayed pan for about 6-7 minutes per side (or until a crust forms)
  • Enjoy!

I served the burgers with corn I boiled for about 3-4 minutes and then topped with Earth Balance and Garlic salt, and some Kale chips.  I’ve been making Kale chips for a while now, and LOVE them.  All you do is chop up some kale (which takes forever, you can also buy it pre-chopped), toss in a light drizzling of olive oil, and bake on 375 for about 12-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes or so to make sure it cooks evenly. 

When it comes out, I just sprinkle with some seasoned salt and I have a crispy, healthy delicious side dish 🙂


Finished Dish all together, lovely summer feast!

Tips for next time:  Definitely screwed up the cooking process.  I had them cooking on low, got impatient, and cranked it up to high.  This resulted in the outside getting a nice crust, but the inside didn’t really come together properly!  Anyhoo, I’ll leave you with the close up shot 🙂


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