Tempeh is one of our family’s favorite plant-based proteins since it is packed with fiber too! Make this easy sticky tempeh bowl recipe on the stovetop in just 30 minutes; perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
If you are in need of some new weeknight dinner options, I hope you’ll love this sticky tempeh bowl! Tempeh is one of our family’s favorite plant-based proteins since it is so easy to cook and just as versatile as a block of tofu. (We make this bbq tempeh recipe on repeat.) All you need to do for these bowls is to brown the tempeh and then toss it in your thickened sauce before building your bowls.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- 30 Minute Meal: as a mom with an active toddler, I don’t have a lot of spare time to spend in the kitchen so having a quick and easy vegan dish like this tempeh bowl recipe is great.
- Scalable: this easy recipe makes enough for 2-3 but you can double up the tempeh and sauce ingredients to serve a crowd.
- Diet & Allergen Friendly: this sticky ginger tempeh recipe is vegan, dairy free, egg free, and gluten free (when using gluten free tempeh and tamari).
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Tempeh: we love this protein packed ingredient made from fermented soybeans for quick and easy dinner recipes like this one! (Even my toddler likes tempeh for dinner.) You can find it in the refrigerator section in the grocery store near the tofu and other plant-based proteins. If you aren’t a fan of tempeh you can use cubed tofu, chopped seitan, or rehydrated soy curls instead.
- Soy Sauce: the base of the sticky sauce; adds salty and umami flavor. We like to use a reduced sodium soy sauce in our house. If you want to make this gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.
- Ginger & Garlic: build more Asian-inspired flavors into the yummy sauce that coats the tempeh. I prefer to use fresh ginger and garlic, but you can substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder and ground ginger.
- Maple Syrup: I like to use maple syrup to sweeten and thicken the sauce, but you can use an equal amount of brown sugar or coconut sugar.
- Broccoli: love the color and flavor of broccoli in these bowls, but you can use other veggies depending on what you have in your fridge. Both fresh and frozen broccoli work in this recipe.
- Rice: serve your sticky tempeh over rice (either white or brown) or your favorite grain.
Step by Step
Step One: Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat and crumble the tempeh into small pieces directly into the pan. Saute until tempeh is golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Step Two: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch and water) until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water.
Step Three: Add the sauce to a frying pan or medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until is starts to bubble and then stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened. Stir in the browned tempeh pieces and toss to coat in the sauce.
Step Four: In a separate skillet, sauté the broccoli in oil until crisp tender. Prepare 2-3 servings of rice for the bowls and then assemble! Top your vegan tempeh bowls with sliced green onions and sesame seeds. You can also add a squeeze of lime juice when serving.
- Steam the Tempeh: Some people find that tempeh has a bitter taste to it. If you are sensitive to it, you can get rid of the bitterness by steaming your tempeh before cooking it. However, the sweetness in the sauce for this recipe balances out any bitterness so you can likely skip the steaming step.
- Mix and Match Veggies: I like to pair this sticky tempeh with broccoli, but feel free to substitute anything else you may have on hand. Some great veggie options include: bok choy, cauliflower, zucchini/summer squash, bell peppers & onion, or green beans.
- Save Time: meal prep the rice in advance or use frozen rice or minute rice to reduce cooking time.
Yes, tempeh is made with fermented soy beans so it is generally gluten free. However, some brands add grains or other ingredients that may contain gluten to the tempeh. Just double check the label to make sure it is gluten free.
Both tofu and tempeh are both made from soybeans and can be great sources of plant-based protein. Tofu is made from soybean milk while tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Since tempeh still includes the whole bean, it is much higher in fiber than tofu.
Tempeh is best served with a flavorful sauce or seasoned with spices. It it great served in stir fry dishes like this one as well as wraps, salads, tacos, casseroles and more.
- Fridge: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop or a couple of minutes in the microwave.
- Freezer: You can freeze each component of the bowl (tempeh, rice, broccoli) separately and then reheat OR you can store it combined in one dish in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.
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Sticky Tempeh Bowls
For the Sticky Sauce:
For the Bowls:
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Cooked rice (3 servings)
For the Tempeh
- Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the tempeh into bite sized pieces into the pan. Saute until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
For the Sticky Sauce
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger).
- Add the cornstarch and water to a small dish and whisk together.
- Add the sauce ingredients to the same skillet you used for the tempeh and heat until it starts to bubble gently. Stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook stirring frequently, until thickened. Add the tempeh and toss to coat in the sauce. Set aside.
For the Bowls
- Saute the broccoli in a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until crisp tender. Cook your rice.
- Assemble your bowls- dividing the rice, broccoli, and tempeh between 3 bowls.
- Garlic & Ginger: if you don’t have fresh, use 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon ground ginger instead.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop or a couple of minutes in the microwave. You can freeze each component of the bowl (tempeh, rice, broccoli) separately OR store it combined in one dish for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Nutrition facts do not include rice.