Crispy Sesame Tempeh Recipe | Feasting At Home

This Crispy Sesame Tempeh recipe is easy, flavorful, and has the best texture! Create a healthy vegan bowl with brown rice and veggies and dinner is good to go!

crispy sesame tempeh in bowl with rice and raw veggies, sliced avocado, topped with sesame seeds.

We’ve been sticking to our plant-based January reset, and this tempeh recipe has been so helpful! Crispy Sesame Tempeh is cooked in a pan on the stovetop with tasty umami flavors, in a sticky soy-based sauce. Vegan and gluten-free adaptable, we pile it over brown rice and veggies with an optional creamy sauce.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh, if unfamiliar, is fermented soybeans that are compressed into a dense cake. High in plant-based protein and fiber, it’s a nice alternative to tofu. The challenge for some can be getting it to taste “good” to our Western taste buds. We’ll show you how to cook tempeh in a way that pleases the palate with a simple tip to “up” your tempeh game.

Why You’ll Love This

  1. Easy and versatile! This stove-top tempeh comes together quickly with a tasty umami sauce and can be served in a variety of ways. We enjoy it in a rice bowl!
  2. Healthy plant-based protein. One cup of tempeh has 31g of protein!
  3. Vegan and gluten-free adaptable. A comforting, hearty meal that meets dietary restrictions.

What you’ll need

ingredients for crispy sesame tempeh- tempeh block, veggies for the bowl, sauces like sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup.

How to make Crispy Sesame Tempeh

If making bowls, set rice to cook if using.

Simmer: Cut tempeh into ¾ inch cubes, place in a medium pot, and cover with water (just enough to reach the top of the tempeh). Add soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. This step softens the tempeh and helps remove bitterness.

Stir Fry Sauce: Whisk the sesame stir fry sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it by the stove. 

Steam: After the tempeh has simmered for 10 minutes, feel free to steam broccoli florets overtop of the tempeh. If the pot needs a little more liquid, add more water (again to the level of the tempeh), place the broccoli florets over the tempeh, cover, and steam for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is tender-crisp. Using tongs, remove the broccoli and set it aside. Drain the tempeh and pat dry.

Crisp: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Season the oil with salt and pepper. Carefully add the tempeh to the seasoned oil and brown each side until deeply golden. Pour in the sesame sauce, reducing by half. It will thicken as it reduces. Turn heat off and taste and adjust salt and heat level.

Assemble the bowls: Divide rice among bowls and top with steamed broccoli and any other veggies.

assembling rice bowl with brown rice, shredded carrots and cabbage, sliced bell pepper, and steamed broccoli.

Divide the crispy tempeh. Sprinkle with scallions and spoon the bowl with this optional creamy tahini-soy sauce!

Tahini soy sauce

Peanut sauce works great on top too. A squeeze of lime juice adds a bit of extra flavor.

Serving Suggestion

Create a healthy bowl with:

  • Jasmine Rice, brown rice or Forbidden Black Rice
  • Steamed broccoli or cauliflower
  • Grated cabbage, carrots or beets
  • Avocado
  • Bell pepper or cucumbers
  • Scallions or cilantro
  • Drizzle with the Creamy Tahini Soy Sauce!
rice bowl with raw veggies, sliced avocado, and crispy sesame tempeh piled on top, garnished with sesame seeds.

Expert Tips

  1. Simmering tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented product, so it naturally contains a sour, slightly bitter flavor, which can throw some people off. To mask this, simmer in flavorful broth or a mixture of water and soy sauce or tamari. The umami from the soy or broth will help balance that sour flavor adding depth and the simmering will tenderize the tempeh.
  2. Steaming tempeh: Steaming tempeh is another great option. Steaming tempeh before marinating it can soften it up a bit, allowing the flavors from a marinade to penetrate better. A good choice if you are going to bake tempeh in a marinade, or if you are marinating overnight.

Health Benefits of Tempeh

  1. Plant-based protein: Tempeh is an excellent source of plant-based protein to help support muscle growth and repair. Read more about the protein content in tempeh here.
  2. High in dietary fiber: Tempeh is high in dietary fiber that helps maintain a healthy gut microbiota and contributes to a feeling of fullness. The impacts of high-fiber foods on digestion are well-documented.
  3. Great source of calcium: Tempeh is a good source of calcium, especially important for those following a plant-based diet. Adequate calcium intake is vital for maintaining bone density and strength. This study outlines the role of calcium in bone health.
  4. Rich in isoflavones: Tempeh contains Isoflavones, plant compounds that can mimic estrogen in the body, potentially reducing the risk of certain cancers, alleviating menopausal symptoms, and contributing to heart health. Discover the effects of isoflavones on health here.
  5. A good source of probiotics and prebiotics: Since tempeh is fermented, it offers probiotics that support a diverse gut microbiome. Its not-digestible fibers promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Learn about the role of prebiotics in gut health.
  6. Supports heart health: Some studies suggest that the intake of soy protein, such as that found in tempeh, may help lower cholesterol levels, thereby contributing to heart health. Explore the potential cholesterol-lowering effects of tempeh.

FAQs

What is tempeh made out of?

Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans. After the fermentation process, the soybeans are bound together into a cake using mycelium.

Where do I buy tempeh?

You can find tempeh at most grocery stores near other plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. It is usually next to the tofu.

Do you need to boil tempeh before frying?

Not necessarily, but it helps tremendously in softening its bitter flavor. Simmering or steaming the tempeh will improve the flavor and help the tempeh absorb your sauce.

Can you cook tempeh without killing the probiotics?

Yes! As long as the internal temperature of the tempeh doesn’t get too hot, the probiotics will remain on the inside. This is why we do not exceed medium heat.

chopsticks holding up a piece of crispy sesame tempeh over a rice bowl with tempeh, raw veggies, rice, and avocado, garnished with sesame seeds.

Give the Crispy Sesame Tempeh a try this week and let me know what you think!

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Description

This Crispy Sesame Tempeh recipe is easy, flavorful, and has the best texture! Create a healthy vegan bowl with brown rice and veggies and dinner is good to go!


 Tempeh

Sticky Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce

Optional Bowl Ingredients:

Optional Creamy Tahini Soy Sauce!


  1. Set rice to cook if using.
  2. Simmer: Cut tempeh into ¾ inch cubes, place in a medium pot, and cover with water (just enough to reach the top of the tempeh). Add soy sauce and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir Fry Sauce: Whisk together the Sticky Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set by the stove. 
  4. Steam: After the tempeh has simmered for 10 minutes, feel free to steam broccoli florets overtop of the tempeh.  If the pot needs a little more liquid, add more water (again to the level of the tempeh), place the broccoli florets over the tempeh, cover, and steam for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is tender-crisp.  Using tongs, remove the broccoli and set it aside. Drain the tempeh and pat dry.
  5. Crisp: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil  over medium heat. Season the oil with salt and pepper. Carefully add the tempeh to the seasoned oil and brown each side until deeply golden. Take your time here!  Pour in the sauce, reducing by half, spooning the sauce over the tempeh. It will thicken as it reduces. Turn heat off and taste and adjust salt level and heat level to your taste. 
  6. Assemble: Divide rice among bowls and top with steamed broccoli and any other veggies. Divide tempeh. Sprinkle with scallions and spoon with optional Soy Joy Sauce! 


Notes

Creamy Sauce: To make the Creamy Tahini Soy sauce, just whisk everything together in a small bowl. If the sauce is “separating”, it is just in an “awkward” stage, just keep whisking, and it will eventually grow out of it and become smooth. 

Extra Crispy: Dredge tempeh in cornstarch right before searing in the seasoned oil. Once tempeh is crispy, remove it from the pan. Pour in the sauce, and reduce. Toss tempeh with sauce at the very end, no more than 30 seconds. 

 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 ounces crispy tempeh
  • Calories: 324
  • Sugar: 7.6 g
  • Sodium: 544.9 mg
  • Fat: 15.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.8 g
  • Fiber: 10.2 g
  • Protein: 23.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: tempeh recipe, best tempeh recipe, tempeh recipes, tempeh bowl, crispy tempeh, sesame tempeh

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