Vegan Corned Tempeh

As a true Irish girl, I love me corned beef. However, being a vegetarian for the last 8 years makes St. Patrick’s Day dinner a bit trickier. The only veggie friendly parts of the meal are usually just the potatoes and in our family the brussels sprouts (because cabbage has yet to find a place in my heart).

I decided this year that I wanted to create my own version of corned beef. I knew that the main flavors of corned beef are the pickling spices. I thought, why not attempt my own “corned tempeh” and give myself a real St. Patty’s dinner! Vegetarians deserve full meals too!

I was honestly shocked at how well this came out and how even the smell was the same as corned beef. I will definitely be making this again and maybe even attempt a vegan reuben or something along those lines! (Check back for the follow through and feel free to call me out if I forget! Accountability is everything y’all!)

***For anyone who mat have been weary of cooking tempeh, I assure you it is so simple. It takes on any flavor you put it with and is such an awesome meat alternative. You can truly make just about any meat dish with tempeh. I will definitely be incorporating it much more now that I am confident in its ability to transform and absorb flavor.



  • 1 package of tempeh, I used Light Life’s 3 Grain Organic Tempeh
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of Guinness (optional)
  • Pickling Spice Blend
    • 1/4 cup of Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons of all-spice
    • 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves (or 2 whole cloves)
    • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon of coriander
    • a pinch of cayenne
    • a pinch of cinnamon
    • a pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 1 bay leaf


To begin, slice your tempeh into small thin strips (mimicking the look of corned beef). Then, slice your small onion thinly. Place a small/medium-sized pot onto a medium heat. Then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put your sliced onions into the pot and let cook down slowly for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions begin to brown add in your sliced tempeh and minced garlic. Allow tempeh to cook for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add in your Guinness and pickling spices.

The pickling spices and Guinness will slowly become absorbed into the tempeh. This will darken the color of the tempeh strips and fill them with that “corned beef” flavor. Continue cooking the tempeh until all of the liquid is absorbed. Then you can remove the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

This recipe is so simple for the depth of flavor it creates. You will be completely surprised by the ability to transform the tempeh into a “corned beef.”


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