Is Tempeh Gluten Free? – Grow Your Pantry

Is Tempeh Gluten Free?

by Susan Grey on September 02, 2019


Is tempeh gluten free? The original tempeh prepared using soybean and vinegar only is considered to be gluten-free. However, over the years, other varieties made from wheat and a mixture of whole grains have also become popular. These contain gluten and are therefore not advisable for anyone with gluten intolerance.
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What Is Tempeh Made Of?



Tempeh is made of whole soybeans which have undergone fermentation and molding which is introduced using a fermentation starter. The rapid mold growth covers the soybeans and keeps them bound into a solid mass.
However, other varieties are prepared using black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, millet, barley, and brown rice.

What Is Gluten?



It is a name for proteins found in cereal grains, especially wheat. These proteins give the dough an elastic texture. Gluten is in grains such as bulgur, couscous, rye, barley, and spelt.

Issues With Gluten:

  • Gluten Sensitivity: While most people tolerate gluten just fine, others with gluten sensitivity may experience adverse reactions to its consumption. The immune system is triggered within minutes or seconds of eating gluten products. Symptoms can include stomach sensitivity, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Celiac Disease: This is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system to attack the digestive system. This is triggered by the consumption of gluten and severely damages the gut wall.

Gluten Free Tempeh Brands



Disclaimer: Always check the label before purchasing tempeh to ensure it is gluten-free.

Barry's Tempeh

Barry's tempeh offers a modern approach to the old tempeh manufacturing process. They offer two main products the classic soy tempeh and the non-traditional soy-free tempeh.
The firm relies on local, organically grown soybeans and grains grown in the USA. These are sourced in small batches to maintain their rich quality.
For anyone who wants to avoid soy, the firm has a white bean and brown rice tempeh alternative that's both gluten and soy-free. You can also try out their rice and azuki bean tempeh.

Henry's Gourmet Tempeh

Henry's Tempeh Inc. has been operational since 2002 producing artisanal tempeh. They rely on locally grown organic soybeans from around Ontario. Henry's products include gluten-free, fermented, and cultured meat alternatives which provide entirely natural nutrients without any preservatives.
While the soy tempeh makes for a traditionally nutty, firm, and chewy meal, Henry's offers multiple flavor choices. These include soy kasha, soy red pepper, soy curry, and basil options.
The firm relies on a unique fermentation process that breaks down the hard to digest parts of soybeans making their products easy on your stomach and are also gluten-free.

Impulse Foods

Impulse foods have been making tempeh since 1989. The English, Somerset-based firm distributes fresh vegetarian focused diets, including tempeh varieties.
Impulse products are handmade in small batches, which enhances attention to detail and quality. Their tempeh is vegetarian, and they offer a wide selection to pick from.
Currently, Impulse foods offer the classic original tempeh, sea vegetables, hemp seed tempeh, herb, and garlic tempeh. These products contain no added grains, acidifiers, or sugars.

LightLife Tempeh

This company deals with all diets from carnivores, to vegan and everyone in between. Their tempeh relies on plant-based products that not only taste great but are also environmentally friendly.
Lightlife offers four tempeh varieties. Their organic smoky tempeh strips are smoky with a savory yet sweet flavor. The main ingredients in the tempeh are cultured organic beans. Their original tempeh futures organic, cultured soybeans and organic brown rice.
Lightlife offers the organic three-grain tempeh, which is a hearty protein source, made from brown rice, barley, and millet. This provides a subtle tasting blend that's gluten-free.

Rhapsody Natural Foods

Rhapsody natural foods is a US-based food company that has been operational since 1997 and supports plant-based, sustainable diets.
Their organic tempeh futures the traditional cultured high protein soy food. They rely on split and hulled soybeans from the US to produce its line up of organic tempeh. These are gluten and cholesterol-free.

SoyBoy Tempeh

SoyBoy operates from Rochester New York and has continued to offer healthy meals since 1977. They believe in buying locally, so all their ingredients are sourced from the US.
Their soy tempeh contains no preservatives and is USDA organic certified. SoyBoy relies on non-GMO organic soybeans, organic white distilled vinegar, and tempeh culture. These are then allowed to ferment, and the final product is easily digestible, rich, and savory.
This brand has no trans-fat, cholesterol, or gluten making it a good source of fiber and soy isoflavones.

Surata Soyfoods

Surata focuses on soy dishes such as tempeh and tofu. Their original tempeh variety relies on non-GMO soybeans only and is sold in bulk sheets of around 12 oz. The firm also offers a multigrain option which relies on organic rice and millet to provide a complete protein diet.
Surata's third tempeh choice, referred to as Italiano tempeh, is a multigrain variety with Italian herbs and spices for the best tasting tempeh. All their products are gluten-free and are prepared from locally sourced inputs.

Tempeh Brands With Gluten




Tofurky is offering its tempeh lineup under the name treehouse tempeh. This includes soy-based tempeh as well as other varieties such as smoky maple, sesame garlic, and organic five-grain.
While their tempeh products don't include grains as the main ingredient, they do contain soy sauce. This is a mixture of soybeans, salt, water, and wheat. Albeit small quantities, this wheat may still trigger gluten sensitivity.

Gluten-Free Alternatives



Can't find a tasty tempeh variety? Well, besides soy-based types, you can also get other gluten-free options.

Rice Tempeh

Brown rice can also be used to make tempeh. It has a lower protein count, it's naturally gluten-free. The rice tempeh is also high in dietary fiber.

Chickpea Tempeh

Another gluten-free alternative is chickpea tempeh. It has a noticeably softer texture without the usual bitter aftertaste that's associated with regular tempeh. Chickpeas are rich in protein, minerals, and dietary fiber. The process of fermenting also reduces the number of carbs in the chickpeas.

Millet Tempeh

Millet is a protein-rich grain that's also rich in minerals and vitamins. The fermentation makes these nutrients readily available and also reduces the number of carbs. The grain is also gluten-free for an overly healthy diet.




Is tempeh fermented?
Yes, tempeh relies on fermentation to create the conditions necessary for the natural culturing to take place.
Is tempeh tofu?
No, tofu is another soybean product that relies on soy milk. Tempeh, on the other hand, utilizes whole soybeans.
What is the difference between tempeh and seitan?
Seitan also referred to as wheat meat, is made from wheat gluten. On the other hand, tempeh is made from soy and other gluten-free seeds.
What does tempeh taste like?
Tempeh has a savory and nutty flavor with a slight mushroomy taste.



Interested in learning about tofu?
Check out these articles:
What Does Tofu Taste Like?
15 Types of Tofu
How Long Does Tofu Last?
Is Tofu Keto?
Can Tofu Be Eaten Raw?
Tofu Press
Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

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