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Vegan Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce

Just as sunflowers turn their heads to catch every sunbeam, we too have a simple way to get more from our sun. We add an hour of sun to the end of our day, by subtracting it from the morning. We call it daylight savings. Kebabs on the grill are a great way to celebrate these deliciously longer days. May I tempt you with these vegan tempeh and pineapple kebabs with peanut satay sauce?

Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce | Letty's Kitchen

As the sweet and juicy pineapple chunks caramelize on the grill, they flavor the skewered nutty meat-like tempeh and red onion. The sauce is an easy mixture of peanut butter, coconut milk and tamari soy sauce. Serve simply, on a bed of brown rice.

Click here to PIN Vegan Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce!

Tempeh is soybeans inoculated with a culture, which in the fermentation process binds them into a cake. Sort of how a culture turns milk into yogurt and or creates the blue veins in Roquefort cheese. Because it’s fermented, tempeh is more digestible than tofu.

Vegan Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce

Tempeh and satay both come to us from Indonesia. Satay (or saté) means marinated cubes threaded on skewers and grilled or broiled. A spicy peanut sauce is the usual satay marinade and we often see the sauce paired with chicken, fish or meat. Or with tempeh, like these vegan tempeh and pineapple kebabs with peanut satay sauce.

Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce | Letty's Kitchen

Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce tricks:

  • There’s a tactic with tempeh that not everyone knows. The secret is steaming, or pre-cooking tempeh in tamari water, which adds moisture and flavor. I call it “plumping.”
  • As soon as I get home from the store I pop my tempeh package in the freezer. When we want to make something with tempeh—it’s an easy 10 minutes to plump.
  • If the tempeh is not frozen, plumping takes about 5 minutes. If the tempeh is frozen, to thaw and plump takes about 10 minutes.
  • They make and sell original tempeh or multigrain tempeh. The multigrain ferments soybeans into cakes along with rice, millet, sunflower and sesame seeds.

Who cares if the daylight time change is artificial? Not me. I’m happy to pay a little jet lag for borrowed summer sun. More daylight for grilling! Wishing you a fabulous weekend–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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5 from 1 vote
Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce
Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce [vegan, gluten-free]
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr

These savory summery kebabs are a great way to introduce tempeh. Everyone loves the spicy peanut sauce. Serve these with brown rice. The sauce, tempeh, and vegetables can be made the day before. Tempeh can marinate in the sauce overnight as well. Makes 8 skewers. Serve two per person for a total of 4 servings. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: kebabs, vegan, tempeh, peanut sauce
Servings: 4 servings
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • sea salt, as needed
  • 8 ounces tempeh, original or multigrain
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 fresh pineapple (see note)
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil
  • 12-inch skewers, metal or wooden. If wooden, soak in water for 30 minutes first
Peanut Satay Sauce:
  1. Blend olive oil, peanut butter, coconut milk, tamari, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in the blender, until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Pour into a bowl.

The kebabs:
  1. Place the tempeh in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the tamari soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook 5 to 10 minutes, turning the tempeh over once. The tempeh will plump up with moisture.
  2. Remove the tempeh from the water. Drain and cut into 24 (1-inch cubes.)
  3. Toss the tempeh into the peanut sauce. Let marinate while you prepare the pineapple and onion. This can be done the day ahead.

  4. Slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Cut in half crosswise.
  5. Slice off the skin, following the curve of the pineapple, cutting deep enough so most of the “eyes” are trimmed away. With a paring knife or the tip of a vegetable peeler, pick out any “eyes” still poking out from the fruit.
  6. Cut one half of the pineapple into 1-inch rings. Slice off and discard the core.
  7. Cut 1-inch pieces of the fruit, not much bigger than the cubes of tempeh.
  8. Peel the onion. Cut about the onion into 1-inch wedges, separating the layers.
  9. Heat the grill to medium-high. Thread the skewers, alternating onion, pineapple and tempeh, beginning and ending with an onion slice.
  10. Pour satay sauce over the kebabs. Grill the kebabs 18 to 20 minutes. Turn them occasionally, brushing with peanut sauce several times, as needed. There should be dark grill marks on the pineapple and tempeh.
  11. Serve hot with steamed brown rise or quinoa and plenty of peanut satay sauce.
Recipe Notes
  • You can use light or regular coconut milk in the can. Not the coconut milk beverage.
  • The ingredient list calls for a whole pineapple, but you will need only half. Cut the extra fruit into pieces for smoothies, fruit salad or snacks.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak them in water at least 30 minutes to keep them from burning on the grill. Leave at least 2 inches of skewer unthreaded on one end for easy handling.


  • Tempeh is new to me and I have really enjoyed it the few times I tried it. GREG Reply · 26 May, 2014

  • Why yes, you MAY tempt me with these skewers and peanut sauce. Absolutely, 100% yes. Reply · 28 May, 2014

  • Hi Letty,
    I am so delighted that you shared this delectable tempeh recipe with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Blog Hop. I am so happy to make an amazing new “blogging” friend! Your recipe for tempeh kababs is going to be the centerpiece of my next dinner party! Reply · 9 June, 2014

  • […] Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce from lettyskitchen […] Reply · 9 June, 2014

  • Amy Hawks

    Can you marinate over night? Having people over and want to prep as much as possible day before. Reply · 12 May, 2017

    • Amy, Absolutely you can marinate the tempeh overnight! In fact I will add that note to the recipe!
      Thank you! Reply · 12 May, 2017

  • We had these for dinner tonight and it was a perfect start to the weekend! So delicious. Thanks for sharing! Reply · 16 June, 2017

  • […] You might also want to try Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs with Peanut Satay Sauce. […] Reply · 12 January, 2018

  • […] Vegan Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs – Letty’s Kitchen […] Reply · 26 February, 2018

  • Ashley

    These sound delicious! Where’s the note for the light coconut milk you mention? Reply · 28 May, 2018

    • Thank you Ashley. You can use light or regular coconut milk in the can. Not the coconut milk beverage. (Thanks for catching that the note wasn’t there!) Reply · 28 May, 2018

  • […] Vegan Tempeh and Pineapple Kebabs – Letty’s Kitchen […] Reply · 29 May, 2018

  • Wera

    Hi! Can I fry it on the regular pan instead of grilling the skewers? Reply · 13 October, 2019

    • I’ve never done it but I bet it it will be a success. I’d say heat 1 to 2 tablespoons in the skillet first. Thinking about this, why don’t you skip the skewers and pan-sauté the tempeh, pineapple and onion? When golden, serve over rice with the satay sauce. Reply · 13 October, 2019

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