Tangled Tempeh Bowls

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This vegan protein bowl is the product of much testing. If you have ever tried making tempeh, you know how finicky it can be. After many adjustments, the result of this recipe is a fresh, flavourful salad topped with marinated tempeh and an Asian-fusion dressing. I hope you enjoy these tried and true Tangled Tempeh Bowls!

What is tempeh?

Traditional tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It originated in Indonesia, but is now (thankfully) globally accessible. I first tried it in Ubud – a town on the island of Bali – while travelling throughout Southeast Asia. I snapped the picture below after trying the tempeh on the top right of my plate. It was one of the best meals I had ever had.

Indonesian food on white plate.

The process of tempeh production includes cleaning the soybeans, boiling/soaking them, removing the hull (seed coating), treating them with Rhizopus oligosporus (the starter culture/fungus that holds it all together), packaging it and finally fermenting the final product for up to 2 days (1). That’s it! Just kidding – it is a wild and labourious process.

Tempeh is packed with plant-based protein, as well as vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 (2). Most tempeh is gluten-free, but there are a few brands that include other grains in their product. So make sure to double check the label before you use it.

How to cook tempeh

Some of you might be asking: “can I eat raw tempeh?” Technically yes; uncooked tempeh is okay to consume. However, it has a bitter tastes and chalky texture when it is uncooked.

Many tempeh recipes have you boil or steam it first. This is done to help eliminate the bitter flavour, soften its texture and increase its absorbency. The trick is to boil or steam it for at least 10 minutes before baking or pan-frying it.

Tempeh tastes great with a variety of marinades and flavours, such as tamari/soy, peanut or tahini sauces. It also pairs well with other vegetables and grains such as carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, broccoli, brown rice and quinoa.

How to prepare Tangled Tempeh Bowls

Close-up of bowl with zucchini, carrots, pepper, herbs and tempeh.

What you’ll need:

  • Tempeh
  • Zucchini, carrots, bell pepper, avocado or your other favourite veggies!
  • Fresh basil or cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Tamari
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Sriracha
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger

First, preheat the oven to 400°F.

While that is heating up, cut the tempeh into slices or cubes. Place it into a medium-sized saucepan and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat the tempeh dry with a clean towel. This step helps remove some of the bitter flavour of the tempeh. It may seem like a tedious task but it makes a big difference!

Whisk the marinade ingredients (tamari, olive oil, maple syrup, sriracha, garlic and ginger) in a small bowl. After that, place the tempeh into a shallow glass baking dish, and pour the marinade over the tempeh. Toss it to ensure the tempeh is coated. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the tempeh pieces and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients (tamari, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup and sriracha). Assemble two bowls with equal parts zucchini, carrots, pepper, avocado and basil. Drizzle with dressing and top with cooked tempeh. Enjoy!

Leftovers

These bowls taste best if served immediately, but also make for delicious leftovers. They stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


As always, if you have any questions, comments or substitutions that you have tried, please comment and rate this post. I appreciate any feedback and would love to hear how you enjoyed your Tangled Tempeh Bowls!

Are you looking for more meal ideas? Find more recipes here!

Two tempeh bowls with zucchini, shredded carrots, sliced yellow pepper, avocado and basil. Props include small bowl with yellow bell pepper to the top right, and half of an avocado to the bottom.

Tangled Tempeh Bowls

Becca Harris, BA, BASc, MHSc(c)
Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
This fresh and flavourful bowl is topped with perfectly cooked tempeh and an Asian-fusion dressing. The tempeh cooking method used optimizes the texture and taste of this plant-based protein.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Asian Fusion
Servings 2
Calories 665 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pack tempeh (8 oz)

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha

Veggie bowl

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized (can use spring mix lettuce instead)
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded or spiralized
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut tempeh into slices or cubes.
  • Put tempeh into a medium-sized saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat tempeh dry with a clean towel.
    This helps remove some of the bitter flavour of the tempeh. It may seem like a tedious task but it makes a big difference!
  • Whisk all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place tempeh into a shallow glass baking dish, and pour marinade over the tempeh. Toss to ensure it is all covered.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the tempeh pieces and place back into the oven for 10 more minutes.
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  • Assemble two bowls with equal parts zucchini, carrots, pepper, avocado and basil. Drizzle with dressing and top with cooked tempeh.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Tastes best if served immediately, but also makes for delicious leftovers. Stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Keyword dairy-free, dinner, easy recipe, gluten-free, healthy bowl, lunch, plant-based, quick, tempeh, vegan

Join the Conversation

  1. Elizabeth says:

    5 stars
    first time cooking with tempeh, won’t be the last! so tasty!

    1. thenutritionjunky says:

      Thanks, ELizabeth! I am so glad you enjoyed the tempeh. Isn’t it such a flavourful bowl!?

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