Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh

How to Make Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh

Ever tried homemade tempeh, its NOTHING like most rubbery packaged varieties in health food stores. Only requires a few ingredients: beans, vinegar and a tempeh starter. One of the best things about making your own is that you get to use any bean you want, not JUST soybean. In our basic “how to make tempeh” recipe we use black-eyed peas. Can take a bit to get down the incubation technique, but its well worth the effort. You get fresh rich perfectly textured tempeh that costs very little compared to purchased selections.

Black-eyed peas, also called cowpeas, are a great bean to start with when you’re new to making homemade tempeh. Almost the size of a soy bean, they are very similar in shape and texture. They also cook up relatively fast when soaked.


2C dry black-eyed peas
1 ½T apple cider vinegar
1 ½t tempeh starter powder


Soak the beans overnight in pure water and rub vigorously with clean hands to help loosen the hulls

They next day, rub the beans again, removing any that float to the surface.

Strain and rinse the beans and place in a crockpot or stove pot and cover with an adequate amount of water.

Allow to cook on medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, or until just slightly underdone. You want them soft enough to bite into but not too soft that they lose their shape.

1-Remove the pot lid and skim off any hulls that have floated to the top.

2-Strain the cooked beans in a strainer and allow to cool to body temperature or until warm to touch (not to hot or too cold).

3-While they are cooling, prepare your incubator space so that it is at the appropriate temperature.

4-Dry off cooked beans with a clean towel to remove excess moisture by laying them flat on a clean surface or wide bowl.

5-Place the cooled beans in a bowl and, with a potato masher or fork, mash up a small amount of beans (about ½C).

6-Mix together whole beans and mashed beans.

7-Add apple cider vinegar and stir with a spoon to incorporate.

8-Thoroughly mix in tempeh starter powder; your tempeh mixture is now ready to be bagged.

9-Place the bean mix in a punctured plastic bag that is 10 ½” by 10 ½” for a tempeh that will be ½” (1 cm) thick.

10-On a dehydrator tray with screen or other flat object, lay down your bag of beans and press down firmly, evenly distributing the mixture.

11-Incubate until a white solid tempeh block is produced, usually between 24-36 hours.

12-Cut open your bag and place tempeh on a chopping board and slice into meal-size squares or use a cooker cutter to make rounded tempeh burgers.

We like to wrap our tempeh in wax paper and store it in the fridge or freezer in an air tight container. It is good to let the tempeh cool slightly before wrapping it up as condensation may develop.

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