Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with Pumpkin Rice

Tips and tricks for cooking with tempeh, plus a delicious recipe for maple balsamic tempeh bowls with creamy pumpkin rice and steamed broccoli.

Well folks, I think I’ve done it… I’ve found the best tempeh recipe!

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with creamy pumpkin rice and steamed broccoli

Here she is, in all her marinated glory, on a bed of pumpkin coconut rice with a little steamed broccoli and hemp parmesan on the side.

In all seriousness, this recipe starts with my maple balsamic marinated tempeh, which is absolute tempeh PERFECTION. Isaac said that it’s his favorite tempeh recipe I’ve ever made and it’s definitely one of my favorites as well. Marinating the tempeh for a few hours in a maple balsamic glaze gives the tempeh a sweet, savory and absolutely delectable sauce that thickens up as you pan sauté it. Paired with a bowl of pumpkin rice and broccoli, it’s a meal fit for a queen (or king).

I’m basically obsessed and want to eat it for every meal… which actually happened a couple weeks ago.

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with creamy pumpkin rice and steamed broccoli

So let’s talk about tempeh for a sec. Have you tried it? Do you love it?

I’m always surprised when I talk to folks who haven’t tried tempeh yet (eschpeially those that are vegan/vegetarian). You guys are missing out! Let me break down the tempeh basics for those that new to tempeh.

What is Tempeh?

Well, it’s a plant-based protein made of cooked soybeans (think edamame) that have been fermented. The fermentation process binds the soybeans into a cake/patty, which is what you’ll find at your local grocery store. It’s similar to tofu, however there are some differences – tempeh is less processed, fermented, has a stronger flavor and has a bit more texture. The flavor is usually described as nutty or earthy, but there are different varieties with subtle taste differences. I’ve tried a ton of different tempeh varieties and Lightlife is definitely my favorite for a few reasons: it’s organic, gmo-free and easy to find a mainstream stores. I gravitate towards the Three Grain variety because it is the mildest in terms of taste, but I like the Original, Garden Veggie, Wild Rice and Flax too!

Sautéing Maple Balsamic Tempeh

Packaged tempeh is pre-cooked so you can easily enjoy it right from the package (on sandwiches, salads, etc), but for extra flavor I highly recommend marinating it ahead of time. Another option is to steam it before eating. Steaming for about 12-15 minutes before using it in your recipe mellows the flavor and makes it even more digestible. I find the extra step of steaming unnecessary so I just marinate it with a good sauce (usually for a couple hours or overnight) and cook it up either by pan-sautéing or baking it. Like tofu, tempeh absorbs a ton of flavor from it’s marinade!

Sautéing Maple Balsamic Tempeh

Added benefits: tempeh is fermented and has a fungus called rhizopus oligosporus which produces an antibiotic that is effective against certain bacterias. The protein and nutrients in the soybeans are easier to digest after the fermentation process and tempeh is less likely to cause gas or indigestion. Always a plus, amirite?

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with creamy pumpkin rice and steamed broccoli

I personally love cooking with tempeh because it cooks up quickly (perfect for weeknight meals), easily takes on whatever seasonings you’re using and it’s loaded with protein (1 cup = 31 grams).

Want to Try it for Yourself?

You’re in luck because I have a ton of easy tempeh recipes already here on EBF for you and as I mentioned, the recipe I’m sharing today is one of my absolute favorites. And it’s SO easy. You simply marinate your tempeh (anywhere from 1-24 hours depending on how much time you have). Cook your rice with coconut milk and pumpkin. While the rice is cooking, sauté your tempeh and steam some broccoli. Put everything together for one epic bowl meal and enjoy. I have a feeling that once you try this dish you’ll fall in love with tempeh and want to make it again and again!

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls with creamy pumpkin rice and steamed broccoli.

More Tempeh Recipes You’ll Love:

If you try these maple balsamic tempeh bowls please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below with how they turn out for you! Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers. 

Print
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Bowl of yellow rice with tempeh and broccoli.

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A comforting fall meal with maple balsamic tempeh, pumpkin coconut rice and steamed broccoli.


Ingredients

  • 16 oz (2 packages) of Lightlife tempeh
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tamari
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • hemp parmesan, for topping

Pumpkin Rice

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white rice
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Remove tempeh from package and chop into small triangles by cutting the tempeh in half width-wise. Cut each half in a star pattern to get 16 mini triangles per package of tempeh, 32 triangles total.
  2. Marinate tempeh: In a small bowl combine maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, tamari, 2 teaspoons oil and minced garlic. Add tempeh triangles into a shallow dish with a large surface area, pour maple balsamic marinade over the tempeh, toss to coat and let tempeh marinate in the fridge for 1 – 24 hours. Stir the mixture a couple times while marinating, if possible.
  3. Cook rice: Once tempeh has marinated, start cooking the rice by combining the coconut milk, vegetable broth, pumpkin, rice and sea salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow rice to simmer until the liquid is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once cooked, stir, cover and set aside until the tempeh and broccoli are ready as well.
  4. Cook tempeh: While the rice is cooking, pan-glaze the tempeh by heating 1 Tablespoon avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the tempeh (without pouring the marinade in) and cook until golden brown on each side, allowing 4-5 minutes per side. Pour the maple balsamic marinade into the pan with the tempeh and simmer another 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced creating a glaze on the tempeh. Toss the tempeh a couple times during this process.
  5. Cook broccoli: Steam broccoli.
  6. Make bowls for serving: compile bowls by starting with a base of pumpkin rice. Top each bowl with pan-glazed tempeh and steamed broccoli. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top each bowl with hemp parmesan, if using.

  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 462
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 52g
  • Fiber: 14g
  • Protein: 27g

Keywords: tempeh bowls

This recipe was created as part of the Lightlife Blogger Ambassador Program. Thank you for supporting the brands that make EBF possible. 

This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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    55 comments
    1. Becca
      October 23, 2020 AT 6:37 pm

      I made this yesterday & it was so good, so easy, & so cheap!!!! All of your vegetarian & vegan recipes are flawless. Thanks for sharing them!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 24, 2020 AT 3:58 pm

        Ahh thank you, Becca! That makes me so happy to hear. 🙂 I’m so glad this recipe was a hit! Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!

    2. Gracie
      October 14, 2020 AT 7:38 pm

      Amazing! So easy and delicious.

    3. Saadia
      August 19, 2020 AT 12:29 am

      Absolutely Delicious!

    4. Lily Tobyz
      May 29, 2020 AT 5:14 am

      Tempeh is my native food from java, Indonesia, it is a way different than the one sold it here in the US market. If you want to try the original and authentic tempe recipes , please let me know.

      Cheers,

      Lily

    5. Alicia
      April 22, 2020 AT 8:23 am

      I made this over the weekend, and I have to agree that this is the best tempeh recipe I’ve ever tasted. I’ve had various tempeh recipes over the past 40 years, and this one blew me away. Make sure you make the rice to go with it – so creamy and delicious, and it balances perfectly with the marinade. I teach cooking classes, and this one is going to be the next meal I make for my class. I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and I am constantly encouraging my clients to include more plant-based meals into their diet. This is a delicious way to accomplish that. Thank you, Brittany for creating this incredible meal!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 23, 2020 AT 1:15 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Alicia!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. 🙂 Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. It’s super helpful to other readers, so I really appreciate it!

    6. Megan
      March 16, 2020 AT 3:23 pm

      mmmhmm!! This recipe is so delicious! And the pumpkin rice is to die for!! Super easy too 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 17, 2020 AT 1:31 pm

        Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Megan!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for trying it and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I really appreciate it. <3

    7. Kimberly Munroe
      February 12, 2020 AT 1:16 pm

      Tried to make it with brown rice and even after 30 minutes of simmering the rice hadn’t absorbed enough liquid.
      That being said the flavours were so good!
      Think next time I’ll ad in a bit of water or extra broth to help the brown rice get to the perfect texture. 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 12, 2020 AT 8:27 pm

        Rice can definitely be finicky! I know brown rice cooks differently than white rice, so I’d just make sure to follow the instructions on the package 🙂 I am glad that you enjoyed this recipe though!! And thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!

    8. Cid
      February 6, 2020 AT 7:10 pm

      OMG!!! I could drink that marinade!! Absolutely delicious!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 6, 2020 AT 11:14 pm

        Ahh yay!! That makes me so happy to hear, Cid! I’m so glad you loved it. Thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it! <3

    9. Gina
      February 3, 2020 AT 8:01 pm

      5 stars!! sorry forgot to rate it with my review!! sooooooo good!!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 4, 2020 AT 12:03 am

        Ahh yay!! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit with you, Gina! Thanks for leaving a comment and star rating. I sooo appreciate it. <3

    10. Gina
      February 3, 2020 AT 8:00 pm

      Oh my GOD!! This simply is the BEST thing ever!! Seriously delicious..I am completely addicted. I marinated the tempeh overnight. I sliced in logs just for ease and I only had wild rice mix and it came out sooooooo yummmyyy!! Thanks for this recipe – it is a keeper!!

    11. Hannah
      January 9, 2020 AT 8:11 pm

      This looks so delicious! I have been looking for recipes to make ahead for work lunches later in the week. I am new to cooking with tofu and over soy products.
      Would this be a good recipe to make a day or two in advance?
      Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 10, 2020 AT 8:14 pm

        Hey Hannah! Yes, you could definitely make this ahead of time to take with you to work for lunches. Definitely come back and let me know what you think of this dish if you try it. 🙂

    12. Jessica
      November 5, 2019 AT 6:21 pm

      Considering my husband and I usually end up eating an entire packet of tempeh in one dinner, this seems like a lot of maple syrup (ie, sugar). Do you think the recipe would suffer from halving the syrup? Would we need to replace it with something, like increasing the balsamic or adding broth? Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 6, 2019 AT 10:32 am

        Hey Jessica. You could certainly try with less maple syrup! It’s so delicious as the recipe is written though and I haven’t tried it with less so I’m not 100% sure how it would affect the flavor. Let me know if you decide to experiment and how it turns out.

    13. Chrissy
      April 14, 2019 AT 7:52 pm

      I keep this recipe on an open tab in my phone at all times—it has become my go-to tempeh recipe! So simple, utterly delicious! Love the caramely glaze the tempeh takes on once you pour the marinade in the skillet.. Dreamy! Thank you so much!

    14. Jill
      January 27, 2019 AT 4:24 pm

      Can this be made without the oil? What could I substitute?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2019 AT 9:58 am

        Hi Jill. I haven’t tried it without the oil so I’m not 100% sure. I think it would be easy to remove the oil from the marinade without affecting the recipe results too much. For pan sautéing the tempeh, I think you could use vegetable broth instead of the oil. You might need more than 2 Tablespoons of the broth because it will likely evaporate quickly. Let me know if you try it without the oil. 🙂

    15. Kristin
      October 2, 2018 AT 7:59 pm

      This was one of the best recipes I’ve made! I’ve been a vegetarian (vegan) for 20 years now, and Mac and cheese has always been something I miss. This reminded me of a spin on mac and cheese. And even better my meat eater boyfriend was asking for more! So yummy.

    16. Kirsten
      September 23, 2018 AT 8:48 pm

      This looks delicious! Any idea if it would work with cauliflower rice and how the ratios would be adjusted? Thanks!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 24, 2018 AT 11:22 am

        hmmm.. good question! I haven’t tried the recipe with cauliflower rice but I love the idea. I would assume you’d need less coconut milk because the cauli rice won’t be soaking up any of the liquid like the rice does (it might actual release water). Let me know if you experiment with it.

    17. Kimberly Cullinan
      September 11, 2018 AT 3:52 pm

      I’m not the best in the kitchen, but if a recipe is detailed I can usually follow it. One detail missing from your recipe:for the Whate of white rice do you use? Long grain, short grain, basmati, Jasmine?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 11, 2018 AT 4:59 pm

        Good question! I used long grain white rice. Hope this helps and enjoy the recipe.

    18. Regina
      April 19, 2018 AT 11:14 pm

      Hi Brittany! I absolutely love tempeh and have experimented a lot with different ingredients to give it flavor. I tried this combination a little while ago, but didn’t marinate it beforehand. I’ll definitely try this out. Also, would you be able to substitute brown rice for white rice?

      Thanks so much!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 20, 2018 AT 10:11 am

        This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy tempeh. And marinating makes a big difference! You can totally do brown rice instead of white rice, but it will likely take double the time to cook. White rice is usually 15-20 minutes and brown rice is usually about 40 minutes. Let me know if you try the recipe! 🙂

    19. Faina
      September 27, 2017 AT 6:16 pm

      This looks amazing! One question: can the pumpkin rice be made in a rice cooker?

    20. Sara
      September 22, 2017 AT 8:19 pm

      I made the tempeh for dinner. It was great. I threw in some frozen green beans at the end. I will definitely make it again. Thank you

    21. Missy
      September 19, 2017 AT 1:38 pm

      Yummy will try this soon! As a college student, I have a lot of instant brown rice, can that be used?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 20, 2017 AT 10:18 pm

        Sure!!

    22. Colleen
      September 18, 2017 AT 5:03 pm

      Could I try this with quinoa? Would I have to change the amounts of pumpkin/coconut/broth?

    23. Billy
      July 26, 2017 AT 1:34 pm

      Okay this looks so delicious! I love tempeh and have been trying to compile a list of yummy recipes to make on the regular.. this definitely makes the cut! thank you for sharing! can’t wait to try it at home and report back with my results!

    24. Kristen
      December 21, 2016 AT 7:27 pm

      Oh, I forgot to say that the Hemp Parmesan is deeelish! A little goes a long way. It packs a mighty flavorful punch.

      I also wanted to add that the next time I make this, I’m going to try just breaking up the tempeh before marinading. Then, I’ll cook it like a scramble. I’ll put the rice on the bottom, small chops of broccoli, then the tempeh. Stir it together and sprinkle some hemp parmesan on top. A little of everything in every bite appeals to me with this dish! I found the triangles a nice aesthetic, but not necessary for an everyday meal.

      Thanks again! 🙂

    25. Kristen
      December 21, 2016 AT 7:15 pm

      Yummy! This recipe is going in my permanent book. I know I’ll make this many times! I don’t think I’ll put the pan on medium-high the next time I make this — Things got too brown/black too quickly. I put the tempeh in the marinade with the full intention of making it the next night, but it’s a busy time of year and it’s sat a few days. Nothing wrong with that other than that there is less liquid to make into that scrumptious glaze. I’m thinking I might put the broccoli in the same pan (once it’s cooked) so that it, too, can get some of that glaze on it. Wonderful recipe. Great flavors. Thank you! 🙂

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