Buffalo Tempeh Tenders

Tempeh is kind of an odd food product IMHO. It’s a fermented soy product that is high in protein, prebiotics, and a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Let’s be honest – it looks like an old sponge. However, this is a great case of ‘don’t knock it until you try it’! Tempeh is a great replacement for meat in many dishes, and is much heartier than tofu – so it can stand up to grilling and other forms of preparation without falling apart. In this recipe, it mimics the texture of breaded chicken tenders.

I like the organic 3-grain tempeh from Trader Joe’s, which includes some rice and wheat – but there are many varieties available. There are a couple steps to this recipe. First, you need to steam the tempeh after cutting it into tenders – this removes some of the bitterness. I simply boil 1/2 inch of water in a medium saucepan, place a colander over it, add the tempeh tenders, then cover once boiling and steam for 8-10 minutes.

Then, toss with your favorite buffalo sauce (you control how hot you want them!), marinate for 20 minutes, then coat with a panko (I used gluten free panko) and spice mixture. Bake them and enjoy! (Personally, I NEED to dip these in ranch dressing – luckily, I found a ‘clean’ ranch that I absolutely love: Field + Farmer Ranch! Trust me on this – if you love your ranch but don’t want all of the questionable ingredients, this is the one!!

Buffalo Tempeh Tenders

Buffalo Tempeh Tenders

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A meatless take on buffalo chicken tenders! This is a delicious protein-packed main dish, appetizer, or side. It can also easily be adjusted for vegan or gluten free diets.


  • 16 oz. tempeh (about 2 packages), sliced into 1-inch tenders
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups buffalo sauce (store bought or you can make your own)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs (sub for gluten free versions if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • Ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping (optional)


  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Place a colander or steamer basket over the top and add the tempeh tenders. Steam for 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the buffalo sauce and butter – heat until butter is melted and blended with the sauce.
  3. In a glass dish or zip-top bag, place the steamed tempeh tenders and half of the sauce/butter mixture, toss to coat. Let marinate for ~20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Meanwhile, add the panko and seasonings to a bowl and mix together.
  6. Roll each tempeh tender in the panko mixture and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the tenders over and brush with additional sauce. Bake for 5-10 more minutes.
  8. Serve with the remaining sauce, and your favorite dressing if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 558Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 5095mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 32g

Nutritional information is an estimate and may vary per preparation.

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