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 maple balsamic tempeh 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.

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Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls


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. 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. 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. 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 mixture 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. Steam broccoli and 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.

Nutrition

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

More Tempeh Recipes You’ll Love:

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

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    37 comments
  1. 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!

    • 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.

  2. 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!

    • 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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!

    • 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! 🙂

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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! 🙂

  9. 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! 🙂

  10. This looks SO GOOD! Also thanks so much for including nutritional info! quick question about that…do the numbers include one serving of the whole recipe (ie rice, tempeh, and broccoli) or are they for one serving of the tempeh.

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

  11. Looks lovely, I especially love that you paired it with coconut-pumpkin rice and broccoli, pumpkin and broccoli being 2 of my favourite veggies! I have a package of tempeh at home, can’t wait to try this recipe for a quick weeknight dinner! Thanks 🙂

  12. Recipe looks awesome! I enjoyed the last EBF tempeh recipe I tried. Also thanks for the tip to marinate tempeh (and tofu)… never tried that but see where it should give great results.

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