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Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

You guys asked for high-protein and soy-free tempeh? It’s here! Introducing Black Bean Tempeh!

This 3-ingredient black bean tempeh is just as delicious as the original soybean one. It’s nutty, holds together perfectly, and is great for soy-free recipes! Did I mention it becomes insanely delicious once marinated and cooked?

Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

I’m sharing two methods to make it: with or without an Instant Pot. The IP method requires less active time and is a bit easier to make, plus you don’t have to soak the beans the night before, as opposed to the stovetop method. Both methods yield the exact same result, though. What’s great about black bean tempeh is that you don’t have to peel the beans!

Ingredients For Black Bean Tempeh

Making black bean tempeh requires only 3 ingredients:

  • Dry black beans: Obviously, they make the base. Black beans are not only high in protein, but they are also high in fiber, which is good for digestion. If you can’t find black beans, use adzukis beans.
  • Tempeh starter: It comes in powder form and is essential to this recipe. Also called Rhizopus Oligosporus, this mold binds all the beans together into a firm white loaf.
  • White vinegar: It helps lower the PH and prevents bad mold from growing.

You start by soaking the black beans overnight (or not if you have an Instant Pot!), then cook them until just tender. You don’t want the beans to be overcooked or undercooked.

Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

Once your beans are cooked, drain and transfer to a clean kitchen towel. Let it dry at room temperature for 20-25 minutes. This step is essential as too much moisture would cause bad mold and/or no mold growing.

Next, place the beans in a large bowl and add the white vinegar, which will lower the PH and create the perfect environment for the mold to grow. Sprinkle the mold and mix well before transferring it to a freezer bag. You are almost done!

The final step is to let it incubate in the Instant Pot on yogurt mode or in an oven with the light on. Depending on the temperature, the tempeh should be ready in 36-48 hours. The ideal temperature is around 86°F (30°C). It takes quite a bit of time before seeing white mold, but once it has started to appear, it covers the beans in just a few hours!

Personally, I saw the first few spots of white mold after about 30 hours. The tempeh was then fully covered after approximately 48 hours.

Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

While this black bean tempeh might not be as appetizing as soy tempeh because of its dark color, it’s equally delicious! It can be marinated and then baked or fried! You can use this tempeh as a substitute for soy tempeh in any recipe!

If you are looking for tempeh recipes, check out this Smoky Tempeh Black Bean Burgers, Dan Dan Noodles with Tempeh Scramble, or these Peanut & Sesame Tempeh Skewers!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)
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Recipe
Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

Black Bean Tempeh (Soy-Free!)

5 from 9 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
3-Ingredient homemade tempeh that is soy-free! Made from black beans, it's easy to make and is just as delicious as soy tempeh!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Cook Time : 50 minutes
Incubation Time : 2 days
Total Time : 2 days 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 1 Loaf (about 400 grams)
Calories 193 kcal

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

Instant Pot:

  • Wash the black beans under cold water and drain. Place them in the Instant Pot liner and cover with the 3 cups water. Cover with the lid, set the valve to the SEAL position, and pressure cook on manual for 30 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and drain the beans.

Stovetop:

  • Soak the black beans in cold water overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  • The next day, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with about 5 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Let it boil for about 10 minutes, then lower the heat, cover and let simmer for about 50 minutes. Test the beans from time to time to make sure they are not under or overcooked.
  • Drain the beans.

Next:

  • Place a clean kitchen towel on a large baking sheet. Transfer the drained beans to the kitchen towel and spread into an even layer. Let the beans drain and dry for 20-25 minutes.
  • Place the black beans in a large bowl, add the white rice vinegar, and stir until all the beans are "coated" with the vinegar. Sprinkle the tempeh starter and mix until well dissolved.
  • Use a thin chopstick or skewer to prick small holes in a small freezer bag (I used a 7×8-inch bag) at about 1-inch intervals.
  • Transfer the beans to the bag and fold the rest of the bag over the beans to keep it tight. It's important that the beans are tightly packed.
  • If you haven't already, wash the liner of your Instant Pot. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom and top with the steam rack. Place the bag on the rack. Cover with the lid.
  • Press the Yogurt button 3 times to set it to “Less” mode. Set the timer for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, touch the bag of beans; it should now produce its own heat. If it's cold, set the Instant Pot on yogurt mode for another 10 hours. Let incubate for at least another 24 hours with the lid on.
  • After 48 hours, your tempeh should be ready! The beans should be bound together into a firm loaf.
  • You can now transfer to the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 7 days. Use like soybean tempeh: marinade, fry, bake, sautée, etc!

Notes

If you don’t have an Instant Pot for the incubation: Place the tempeh bag on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 20 hours at 86°F (30°C). My oven can go to a low temperature, but if yours can’t, just let the oven light on or use a dehydrator set at around 86°F. Be aware the incubation time can take longer if the temperature is too low.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25 of a loaf | Calories: 193 kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.2 g | Protein: 12.2 g | Fat: 0.8 g | Fiber: 8.6 g | Sugar: 1.2 g
Course : Condiment, Main Course
Cuisine : Asian, Indonesian
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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60 Comments

  1. This didn’t work for me – I’m wondering if it was because I used apple cider vinegar? I also used the oven on very low heat – perhap it needed more than the 24 hrs? There was the faint beginnnings of a mold.

    1. I doubt it is because of the apple cider vinegar. Well depending on the temperature and ambient humidity the incubation time can vary. Sometimes it can take longer, if you saw some mold growing then you should have left it for another 24 hours. Then the mold produces enough heat to continue growing without the oven on.

    2. Hi Sylvia,

      Only the light of the oven is needed, turning the oven on low heat is too hot for the mold.

    1. I have never tried but I’m not sure it would work. The high amount of salt could prevent the mold from growing.

    2. 5 stars
      Not tried with canned Black Beans, but canned Red beans work. Wash well and allow an extra day for the Mold to grow, Can not see a reason same won’t work for Black ones.

    1. This is an excellent way of making temper! The insta pot method works beautifully. No fail method!! I’ve even done this with red beans!!and

    1. 5 stars
      HI, I just did a 2 cups of dry beans batch and it gave me approx. 3 x 230g bags of tempeh. The recipe works perfectly well.

  2. I tried it and got mold growth, but when I tried to cut it, it fell apart. I did the whole beans and did not process or smash them. Ideas? Should I have let it culture longer? I have made regular tempeh with no problems.

    Thanks

  3. 5 stars
    Hi,
    Can you tell me if the black soya bean needs dehulling like the yellow soy bean please. It would be great if this laborious process could be missed out in the making of black bean tempeh.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Honestly it looks pretty beautifu the contrast between the white mold and the black beans
    But the most important thing is that you don’t have to dehulling the beans! Nobel prize

  5. Hello,
    any tips on how to cook this kind of tempeh? Mine came out perfect but after I baked it with little bit of soy sauce and tahini dressing (as I do with other kinds of tempeh), it was just so bitter and not tasty at all.

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Aneta,
      It’s not normal that your tempeh was bitter, something might have gone wrong during the fermentation.

  6. Hi I’m attempting your recipe today! Question how long do I keep it in the oven for with the light on? Also should I place it in something when I put it in the oven?

  7. Pingback: Instant Pot Adzuki Bean Tempeh | Meatless Makeovers
  8. i have had great success with soy beans and chickpeas. i have even made delis tempeh with pistachios and sunflower seeds. but my black bean tempeh never comes out right? it is always to loose (not enough mold growth)? i have been trying over and over for years. any suggestions? what am i doing wrong? all my other tempehs are awesome.

    1. That’s very hard to say, have you tried using a different brand of black beans?
      Also make sure your tempeh starter is still good.

  9. I made it and it tastes pretty plain bit good. Maybe it will taste better once I refrigerate it? Also what is the white mold supposed to feel like? It feels a little squishy to me and up close it looks like actual moss but it’s just white color? Is that ok? Is the white stuff supposed to be hard?

    1. The hard mold is not supposed to be hard but soft. If it has a “moss” texture, it’s probably because the mold didn’t grow enough. Maybe try incubating a bit longer next time.

  10. Hello Thomas, thank you for this recipe. I have always wanted to try tempeh but cannot consume soya. We love back beans, so this would be perfect.

    I have everything ready. I would just like to know if we cook it on HIGH in the instant pot. I would expect that the beans would crack open quite a bit if we did. Is that ok? The beans in your picture look pretty intact.

    Did you mean ‘MEDIUM’ when you wrote to pressure cook on ‘MANUAL’? I don’t know of a ‘manual’ mode for my instant pot, so maybe I’m missing something.

    Many thanks! The tempeh starter has arrived and I can’t wait to give this a try.

  11. I made this and I think it came out nicely. My oven light turns off automatically after a few hours but my oven has a bread proofing setting which is great for keeping something at a low temperature for up to 12 hours. I let this stuff “cook” for about 48 hours.

    One concern I have, though, is that before cooking the tempeh, it smelled a little like alcohol, and after cooking, it had an alcoholic taste. I know alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation process but store-bought soy tempeh doesn’t have this. Is there a reason why this happened?

    1. Great!
      Regarding the alcoholic smell and taste, I’m afraid I never experienced this so I don’t know what went wrong. It should have a mushroomy/camembert smell.

  12. 5 stars
    I don’t know why I’m unable to reply to your comment so here’s a new one. What I didn’t state before was that when I first tried this recipe, I started by preheating my oven to 150°F, its lowest temperature, then let it cool a bit before I put the loaf inside. However, at least once more, maybe twice, during the 48 hours it cooked, I set the temperature to 150° again, then immediately turned off the oven. It wasn’t until at least 24 hours in that I discovered the bread proofing setting. I was reading online about what can cause the tempeh to smell or taste like alcohol. Apparently it’s either too high a temperature or too long a fermentation. Could have been some of both in this instance.

    I tried the recipe again, this time just on the bread proofing setting for two cycles, for a total of 24 hours. After that, I let it sit in the oven with no added heat for maybe another 12 hours. It holds together nicely and don’t smell or taste like alcohol! I threw away what was left of my old loaf, not much since I had forced myself to eat it even though it tasted funny. I cooked the new one with olive oil, liquid aminos, and minced garlic. Tastes great!

    I’m actually an omnivore, but aside from breakfast meats, I rarely cook meat. Now that I got the recipe right, next time I think I’ll make at least two loaves of this at once and freeze whatever I don’t readily use. I’ve had soy tempeh in place of my turkey sausage and it tasted really good, so I’ll try this with my breakfast sometime. I have a ton of black beans and pinto beans. I’ll see if it works with pinto beans.

    1. That’s interesting! Thanks for sharing Michelle, I’m sure it will help some readers having that kind of problem.
      Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  13. Hello, I’m trying out black bean tempeh (soy allergies) and struggling to get any myceliation whatsoever. I’m at hour 27 and no sign of activity yet. Your article above says you didn’t see anything either until hour 30; have you found this is typical of black bean tempeh? (All the recipes I’ve read say tempeh should have a nice healthy mycelium at hour 12, but maybe it’s because they’re using soybeans.)

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello,
      It really depends, sometimes I can see mold appearing after 30 hours, and sometimes it can take up to 48 hours, even with soybeans. The temperature and humidity of the beans can really affect the incubation time.

  14. 5 stars
    Je suis agréablement surprise par le nombre de recettes fantastiques, qu’on peut trouvé chez vous !!! C’est une grande ouverture vers un nouveau monde de dégustation. J’ai réalisé ce tempeh aux pois chiches, aux haricots noirs et j’aimerais beaucoup me lancer dans la culture de tempeh aux lentilles …
    Cela a été un grand succès pour tous ces essais, énormément appréciés.
    Dis-moi Thomas si tu as déjà fait avec des lentilles ?
    Je précise que j’ai deux Instant Pot, cela facilite la vie pour tout faire chez soi.
    Mille Mercis à toi

    1. Merci beaucoup Bosha ! 🙂
      Je n’ai pas encore testé le tempeh aux lentilles mais je suppose que la méthode est similaire au tempeh de pois chiches.
      Content que la recette de tempeh vous ait plu !

    1. I would then recommend using another method, like an oven, or find a warm place at around 90°F.