Don’t have time to cook but want something delicious? This marinated tempeh bowl is for you! It’s smothered in a simple sesame peanut sauce, sautéed until crispy and even vegan. It’s gluten free, perfect for meal prep, and ready in under 30 minutes.
Are you team tempeh or tofu? Maybe neither?! Either way, both tempeh and tofu are pretty bland foods on their own, but I’ve finally mastered the art of spicing them up!
The key? A killer sauce. One that specifically involves soy sauce, peanut butter and sesame oil. Those three ingredients are among my most used in my pantry!
TBH a good sauce is the key to any good recipe, but these three ingredients together could make absolutely anything taste good.
We all know I love sesame anything, and this marinated tempeh recipe is no exception. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make and (almost) completely hands off. Try my peanut cauliflower next!
Tofu vs. Tempeh
Tempeh uses whole soybeans that have been fermented into a more firm and dense “cake.” Tofu on the other hand is made from pressed and condensed soy milk that is formed into solid almost sponge like blocks.
Both tempeh and tofu contain high amounts of protein but they have very different tastes and textures.
Tofu is much spongier and can be more fragile whereas tempeh is very dense with a slight tangier flavor.
You are welcome to use either tofu or tempeh in this recipe, or even chicken or chickpeas if you don’t like either!
How to make peanut tempeh
This recipe is super simple. Maybe too simple?! No such thing if you ask me. First, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
Cut the tempeh into squares, cut each square into triangles. You can cut it into any shape you want, but I find triangles work best for this recipe.
Add the tempeh to a bowl and coat with half of the sauce. Let sit for about 20 minutes to marinate. Toss it halfway through to ensure the sauce is coating every side.
Marinating tempeh isn’t 100% necessary, but it does ensure it’s as flavorful as possible. Additionally, steaming tempeh before marinating can help remove some of the bitterness. I don’t mind the bitter (oddly enough), but I steaming for about 10 minutes before marinating can be helpful for the best flavor.
The longer you let it marinate, the more flavorful it becomes, but even just 20 minutes helps a lot. If you can, let it marinate overnight to really get the flavor inside of the tempeh.
While the tempeh is marinating, steam the broccoli and prepare the rice. I like to use a rice cooker and steamer basket for the broccoli to make life easier.
Once the tempeh is finished marinating, heat a medium pan with 1-2 tbsp of oil over low/medium heat and add the tempeh in.
Let simmer until the sauce starts to darken and thicken slightly, then add in half of the other half of the sauce (save the other bit for drizzling on top of the bowls).
Simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the tempeh to absorb the flavor. Flip halfway to ensure it is evenly cooked and doesn’t burn.
Assemble the bowls with a bed of rice and top with the tempeh, broccoli and an extra drizzle of the peanut sauce.
How to store
Once cooked, this tempeh recipe will last in the fridge for about 3-5 days. You can store the rice, tempeh and broccoli all together and drizzle on top some extra sauce so nothing dries out.
If you love to meal prep (or just love sauces like I do), make a double (or even triple) batch of the sesame peanut sauce and save it for other recipes throughout the week.
It’s great on chickpeas, chicken, salmon, or roasted vegetables. The sauce will keep for about a week in an air tight container.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use tofu instead?
The tempeh can be subbed for extra firm tofu if you prefer. If you do use tofu, you’ll just want to cook it for a bit longer so it gets nice and crispy on the outside.
Can I use almond butter?
The peanut butter can be subbed for any other nut or seed butter if you have allergies, but this will of course change the flavor slightly. I have made this recipe with almond butter and it is still delicious!
Can I make this a stir fry?
Yes, love that idea! I suggest stir frying (instead of steaming) your broccoli along with some carrots, bell pepper, onion, cabbage or whatever else you like with a bit of sesame oil.
Then, serve that with the tempeh and rice.
More recipes you’ll love!
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Marinated Sesame Peanut Tempeh Recipe
by: claire cary
- 1 block/package of tempeh 8 ounces
- 1 cup cooked rice I like using my cilantro lime rice
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- ¼ cup chopped scallions for garnish
- Optional: 1/2 avocado
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- Whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
- Cut the tempeh into squares, cut each square into triangles.
- Add the tempeh to a bowl and coat with half of the sauce. Let sit for about 15 minutes to marinate. Toss it halfway through to ensure the sauce is coating every side.
- While the tempeh is marinating, steam the broccoli and prepare the rice. I like to use a rice cooker and steamer basket for the broccoli to make life easier.
- Once the tempeh is finished marinating, heat a medium pan with 1-2 tbsp of oil over low/medium heat and add the tempeh in.
- Let simmer until the sauce starts to darken, then add in half of the other half of the sauce (save the other bit for drizzling on top of the bowls).
- Simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the tempeh to absorb the flavor. Flip halfway to ensure it is evenly cooked.
- Assemble the bowls with a bed of rice and top with the tempeh, broccoli and an extra drizzle of the peanut sauce.
Made these tonight to go with my vegetarian stir fry. They were delicious!
Claire Cary says
Perfect! So happy you enjoyed.
I have never left a review on a recipe but I haven’t even finished eating and tan here to post one! this is INCREDIBLE and sooo easy!! Will absolutely become a weekly staple. Thank you!!!
Claire Cary says
Thanks so much Heidi, that means a lot!
Nan Clute says
I am basically vegan (plus seafood). My husband not so much, although since I am the main cook around here, he eats what I put In front of him. We both were absolutely thrilled with this dinner! Easy. Delicious. Repeatable. Healthy. Thank you!
Claire Cary says
Amazing! Love when everyone is happy 🙂
Quick, easy and delicious!
This recipe is yummy! It’s simple and easy to make, not taking up too much time. It’s a good choice for meal prepping because you can make a lot in one sitting. 😊 And it’s GOOOOD.
Jeanne Santillan says
I made this twice now. It seemed so easy and I had all the ingredients on hand. First time with firm tofu; second time with tempeh. Both good, but tempeh was even tastier. Keeper recipe!
Although we are a plant-based family, I had never really made much tempeh before but this recipe inspired me to give tempeh a try. And I’m so glad I did! The sesame peanut sauce is a WINNER! You could make it and put it on anything and it would be amazing! This recipe comes together so quickly, is so tasty and is so versatile! I had 3 tempeh blocks and so tripled the recipe and I’m so glad I did so we have leftovers for tomorrow 🙌🏼. This is yummier and healthier than takeaway!
I made this recipe for dinner yesterday night and it was delicious!! I paired it with broccoli and rice like the recipe recommended and it was a wonderful and easy weeknight meal. I didn’t have any limes on me so I just substituted the lime with apple cider vinegar and it still turned out great!
Claire Cary says
Perfect! Glad the ACV worked as a sub!
My presentation was not at all like yours, but wow, what flavor! This is my new favorite. So much zing for so little effort. Thank you!
Tried this recipe for the first time last night. The sauce was so tasty and I really enjoyed the marinated tempeh. I did steam the tempeh for about 15 minutes, cooled and then marinated over night. Will definitely be making it again.
Claire Cary says
Sounds perfect! So happy you enjoyed it!