Optical imaging techniques that provide free space, label free imaging are powerful tools in obtaining structural and biochemical information in biological samples. To date, most of the optical imaging technologies create images with a specific contrast and require multimodality integration to add additional contrast. In this study, we demonstrate spectroscopic Thermo-elastic Optical Coherence Tomography (TE-OCT) as a potential tool in tissue identification. TE-OCT creates images based on two different forms of contrast: optical reflectance and thermo-elastic deformation. TE-OCT uses short laser pulses to induce thermo-elastic tissue deformation and measures the resulting surface displacement using phase-sensitive OCT. In this work we characterized the relation between thermo-elastic displacement and optical absorption, excitation, fluence and illumination area. The experimental results were validated with a 2-dimensional analytical model. Using spectroscopic TE-OCT, the thermo-elastic spectra of elastic phantoms and tissue components in coronary arteries were extracted. Specific tissue components, particularly lipid, an important biomarker for identifying atherosclerotic lesions, can be identified in the TE-OCT spectral response. As a label-free, free-space, dual-contrast, all-optical imaging technique, spectroscopic TE-OCT holds promise for biomedical research and clinical pathology diagnosis.