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Tempeh

Easy Tempeh Stir Fry

This easy, tasty, and nutrient-dense Tempeh Stir Fry recipe is packed with plant-based protein and takes less than 30 minutes to get on the table. Make this healthy and flavorful gluten-free dish a part of your weekly meal plan to please the whole family!

Jump to:
  • Why You’ll Love This Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • How to Make Stir-Fried Tempeh
  • Optional Variations
  • Expert Tips
  • Storing and Reheating
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More delicious vegan recipes
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Reviews

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

If you’re a fan of simple recipes, you’re going to LOVE this flavorful Tempeh Stir Fry. It is:

  • Easy to make. It’s a simple process of cooking the tempeh before mixing in fresh veggies and a creamy, flavorful peanut sauce.
  • Wholesome & healthy. This is a well-balanced meal with lots of vegetables, protein, and flavor that will go great on top of your favorite grain or noodles.
  • Takes less than 30 minutes to make. Stir-fries are a great weeknight dinner option because they are super fast! This recipe has a great Asian-inspired flavor profile coming from ginger, rice vinegar, and tamari.
  • Totally customizable. Feel free to swap or add in your favorite vegetables or toppings and to adjust the spice level to your own preference. 

If this stir fry is calling your name, you’ll also love the flavors in my Tofu Green Bean Stir Fry and Teriyaki Tofu.

For more information on tempeh, check out my Best Tempeh Recipes & Why Tempeh is Amazing post.

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Ingredients

This simple tempeh stir fry recipe requires fewer than 10 easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:

This tempeh stir fry contains simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store or Asian market. Stir fry recipes typically contain vegetables as well as a protein source. They are also tossed with a sauce that brings all of the flavors together. 

  • Tempeh – Make sure you purchase a tempeh block that is organic and non-GMO for the best quality possible. 
  • Fresh cut vegetables – You can use what I suggest (broccoli, carrots, and peppers) or you could use your favorite vegetables here. The most popular stir fry vegetables are garlic, onion, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and even asparagus. If you don’t want to use fresh veggies, you can substitute frozen ones.
  • Oil (optional) – Oil will help char the vegetables and give them a great texture. Coconut oil will pair well with the flavors of this stir fry, but you could also use avocado or olive oil. If you’re not using oil, you can steam the tempeh instead.

Making homemade stir fry sauce is the best way to keep this dish healthy. Store-bought sauce often contains processed ingredients, lots of added sugars, preservatives, and other items that aren’t great for our health. Luckily, it’s really easy to make your own using simple ingredients:

  • Ginger – Ginger adds pop of spicy freshness in the stir fry. If using fresh, try using this trick to peel it using the back of a spoon! Otherwise, you can find tubes or bottles of ginger paste, or use dried ginger powder instead.
  • Garlic – This classic stir fry ingredient pairs well with all of the vegetables and protein. 
  • Rice Vinegar – The vinegar gives the stir fry some much needed acidity. You could also use apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice instead. 
  • Tamari – Adds a salty umami flavor. Feel free to use soy sauce if you are not gluten free. If soy is off the menu, try coconut aminos instead.
  • Peanut Butter – It’s best to use creamy peanut butter for this sauce. You can also use cashew butter or almond butter. If you’re nut free, use your favorite seed butter such as tahini or sunflower seed butter. 
  • Maple Syrup – Use for a hint of sweetness and to balance out the tangy, salty, and spicy flavors. You can easily swap in agave nectar if you prefer. 
  • Chili garlic sauce – This gives the sauce a touch of heat. Feel free to add as little or as much as you like. Other options include sambal oelek or sriracha.

How to Make Stir-Fried Tempeh

Whip up this easy stir fry in no time without marinating or steaming the tempeh beforehand! If you’re craving extra-flavorful tempeh, follow my instructions on marinating tempeh to infused deep layers of Asian-inspired flavors.

*If you are extra sensitive to the bitterness of tempeh, I do recommend you steam it for 10 minutes first.

You’ll need a large skillet with oil to saute your chopped ingredients while separately blending the sauce ingredients. Here’s how it’s done:

Prepare the tempeh: Cook your tempeh in a hot skillet with heated oil for a few minutes on each side.

Make the sauce: While the tempeh is cooking, blend all your sauce ingredients together until it’s nice and smooth. 

Stir fry the vegetables: Add the vegetables to the pan along with about ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook until the veggies are cooked through. 

Toss with sauce: Remove the lid and add the tempeh back into the pan with the veggies. Pour the sauce over the stir fry, stir, and cook for a few minutes to incorporate the flavors. When it’s ready, serve over a bed of rice, quinoa, or noodles while it’s hot.

Optional Variations

Stir-fries are one of my favorite meals because they are so versatile! Oftentimes, my stir-fries end up being refrigerator cleansers, using up any bits, bobs, or wilty veggies that need using.

For this recipe, just make sure to have 4 cups of chopped vegetables. Use whatever veggies you have on hand; they can be fresh or frozen. Try:

  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • peppers
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • cabbage
  • mini corn
  • snow peas
  • snap peas
  • green onions
  • etc.

Feel free to make it extra spicy by adding more chili garlic sauce, or add extra cloves of garlic. You can also play with how you serve your stir fry. Try pairing it with noodles, brown rice, or quinoa.

Expert Tips

Making this tempeh stir fry is a breeze, but if you’re new to the stir fry game, I have some tips for you.

  • While the best pan to use for stir-fries is a traditional wok, I don’t have one and you might not either. If you don’t, a large skillet or pan will work. 
  • Be sure to set up your mise en place ahead of time. Once you start the stir fry process, it is hard to try and keep prepping the vegetables.
  • Make sure the vegetables and tempeh are roughly the same size so they cook evenly. 
  • If you’re using any vegetables that cook quickly, add them in towards the end to prevent them from overcooking. 
  • If you can make the sauce ahead of time, it will be even more flavorful as it has time for the flavors to marry together. Be sure to add a little water if the sauce thickens in the fridge.
  • If you’re not using oil in this recipe, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes instead of frying it.

Meal Prep Tips

This stir fry can be also used for meal prep. Here are some steps you can do to prepare the dish ahead of time:

  • Chop the veggies in advance (or just use frozen bagged veggies) and keep them in sealed containers in the fridge. You can also steam them in advance if you want!
  • Blend the sauce together and store it in the fridge. If it thickens up, add a little water.
  • Make your base of rice, noodles, or quinoa ahead of time. 

If you follow these steps on your meal prep day, this weeknight-friendly tempeh stir fry will be on the table in a flash!

Storing and Reheating

Store any leftover stir fry in individual airtight glass containers. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The best way to reheat stir fry is exactly the way it was cooked. Heat a small amount of oil (or water) in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté everything until warmed through. You can also use the microwave if you’re eating this as your packed lunch.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions that come up when trying out a vegan stir fry recipe.

How do you cook pre-packaged tempeh?

Tempeh is first prepared by steaming. Follow my instructions on how to prepare tempeh for cooking here.

Should I steam or boil the tempeh before stir frying?

I don’t think most people will need to steam or boil the tempeh, especially if you’re used to tempeh. BUT if you’re very sensitive to the slight bitterness of tempeh or are just getting used to the taste of it, I recommend steaming it for 10 minutes prior to cooking. (see link in question above)

How long do I need to cook tempeh for?

Depending on how you prepare your tempeh, you can expect to need to cook it for between 10-20 minutes.

How do you keep vegetables from getting soggy in stir fry?

The best way to keep vegetables from getting soggy in stir fry is by cooking them over high heat to make sure they don’t steam too long and become mushy. 

Also, make sure that you add the quicker cooking vegetables (such as snap peas) into the pan last so they don’t overcook. 

What should I serve this stir fry with?

A few options are brown rice, white rice, quinoa, rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, or other noodles of your choice.

Which noodles are vegan and gluten-free?

Rice noodles or buckwheat noodles are almost always vegan and gluten-free. Look for “egg” in the ingredient list and don’t buy those. Always check your labels! 

Do I need to marinate the tempeh beforehand?

For this recipe, you don’t need to marinate the tempeh. The cooking and the sauce will make it very flavorful, however, if you’d like to marinate the tempeh beforehand, check out my Tempeh Marinade post.

Can I use frozen veggies for this stir fry?

Yes! Just be sure to use about 4 cups and cook until veggies are done to your liking.

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