These tempeh lettuce cups are made with crispy ginger tempeh and served with tahini cream and fresh herbs. Tempeh is one of those foods (along with jackfruit) we often serve to our omnivore friends—and one they love! The crispy gingery tempeh is meaty and satisfying, the fresh herbs and lettuce are crisp and juicy, and the tahini cream is light and silky. It's totally one of those meals that hit all the boxes!

Lettuce cups filled with tempeh and herbs.
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  • plain tempeh 
  • tamari
  • mirin
  • ginger
  • sambal oelek or siracha
  • oil (I like avocado or olive)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • tahini
  • lemon juice
  • garlic
  • sea salt
  • veggies to serve


What I love about these tempeh lettuce cups is how fresh and fast they are to make.

First make your tahini sauce by adding everything but the water to your blender. With the blender running, slowly add the water (kind of like an emulsion) and you will end up the super fluffy and creamy sauce.

Next, you mix up your marinade and set aside.

Crumble and fry your tempeh until it begins to brown, then pour the marinade over the tempeh and reduce until it is sticky.

Tips + Notes

Tempeh is an Indonesian protein often made from soybeans, but you can also find versions made with lentils, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and wild rice—meaning it is something even non-soy eater can enjoy. Unlike its relative, tofu—which is processed—tempeh utilizes the whole bean, is fermented, contains more micro-nutrients and fibre, and is higher in fibre iron. 

While you can make your own tempeh, you can easily find it at most health food stores (WholeFoods and Trader Joes), as well as small-batch locally made brands (Tempea and Green Cuisine's if you are in Vancouver), or local Asian markets. 

Tempeh freezes very well, so if it is hard to find you can stock up on it and use it later 🙂

The Crumble Technique 

For so many years I treated tempeh like tofu and cubed it. It wasn't until recently that I learned the beauty in crumbling tempeh. It is a simple technique but creates so many more nooks and crannies for marinades, and more edges to get nice and crispy crunchy! 


  • if you want a heartier meal, try serving this tempeh and sauce over rice with steamed veggies
  • if you need this to be gluten-free, look for gluten-free soy sauce
  • to make this soy-free look for chickpea or sunflower seed-based tempeh. Swap the soy for coconut aminos


Lettuce cups filled with tempeh and herbs.
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5 from 6 votes

Tempeh Lettuce Cups with Tahini Cream

These tempeh lettuce cups are made with crispy ginger tempeh and served with tahini cream and fresh herbs 
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings: 2


  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Blender
  • Small bowl
  • Heavy bottom frying pan



  • 1 pack plain tempeh 240 grams
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon microplane ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or siracha
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil I prefer to use avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Tahini Cream

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water

To Serve

  • Butter Lettuce
  • Kimchi
  • Fresh herbs I like chive, mint, and cilantro
  • Julienned carrot
  • Thinly sliced radish or daikon
  • Sesame seeds


  • Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients except the water in a blender. Puree until smooth then slowly add the water (like you're emulsifying). This should create and smooth and fluffy cream, which should turn lighter in colour as you add the water.
  • Next, combine the tamari, mirin, ginger and hot sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Crumble the tempeh, set aside. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy frying pan to medium. Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil and the 1 tablespoons sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add the tempeh and fry until crisp, string often. If it begins to stick add the remaining tablespoons of oil.
  • After around 5 minutes the tempeh should all be crisp. Next, pour the tamari mixture over top and stir constantly as the mixture will thicken and get sticky. After about 30 seconds to 1 minute, the sauce will have reduced. Remove from the heat immediately.
  • Serve the warm tempeh with butter lettuce, sesame seeds, extra veggies, rice (see note), and tahini sauce.


If you want the meal to go father or be more filling, try adding some cooked rice or quinoa to the lettuce cup.

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