Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls
Published Sep 04, 2023, Updated Oct 05, 2023
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These maple balsamic tempeh bowls pair creamy pumpkin rice with maple balsamic tempeh and steamed broccoli for the perfect comforting fall meal. Vegan + gluten-free.
Well folks, I think I’ve done it… I’ve found the best tempeh recipe! In all seriousness, this tempeh bowl recipe starts with my maple balsamic marinated tempeh, which is served over a bed of pumpkin rice with a steamed broccoli. The combo is absolute perfection!
I’m basically obsessed and want to eat it for every meal. I can’t wait for you to try it!
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a plant-based protein (1 cup = 31 grams of protein!) made of cooked soybeans (think edamame) that have been fermented. The fermentation process binds the soybeans into a cake/patty.
Tempeh is 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 brand! It’s organic, gmo-free and easy to find a mainstream stores.
Since tempeh is fermented it 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?
- tempeh – the main source of protein in this dish! Marinating the tempeh for a few hours in the maple balsamic glaze gives the tempeh a sweet, savory and absolutely delectable sauce that thickens up as you pan sauté it. My favorite brand of tempeh is Lightlife.
- maple syrup and balsamic vinegar – a match made in heaven, offering a delectable balance of sweetness and tanginess to the tempeh.
- oil – avocado oil or olive oil for the marinade and to cook the tempeh.
- tamari – adds a deep, umami flavor that enhances the marinade. Feel free to use soy sauce or coconut aminos instead.
- garlic – offers a burst of flavor to the tempeh.
- broccoli – adding a nice crunch and a dose of green goodness to the bowl. Feel free to swap the broccoli with other veggies of choice if you want. Some other good options would be asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach zucchini or cauliflower.
- pumpkin rice – an innovative and creamy combination of light coconut milk, vegetable broth, canned pumpkin, white rice and a pinch of sea salt. This rice blend brings autumn flavors and a creamy texture that pairs perfectly with the tangy tempeh. If you’re not a white rice fan you can use another grain like brown rice or quinoa. Just note that the cook time and liquid amount might vary depending on the type of grain.
How to Make Tempeh Bowls
Prep tempeh: Remove tempeh from its package and chop into small triangles.
Marinate tempeh: In a shallow bowl whisk together the marinade. Place the tempeh triangles in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them. Toss gently to ensure each piece is well-coated. Refrigerate and let the marinate for anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours. For best flavor infusion, stir the tempeh in its marinade a few times during this period.
Make pumpkin rice: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, vegetable broth, canned pumpkin, white rice and a pinch of sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is tender. After cooking, give it a quick stir, then set aside.
Cook tempeh: While your rice is simmering cook the tempeh by heating 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place the tempeh triangles in the skillet, making sure not to add the marinade just yet. Cook the tempeh until it’s golden brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side. Then, pour the reserved marinade over the tempeh and let it simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes. The marinade will reduce during this time and create a glaze over the tempeh. Ensure you toss the tempeh a few times to coat evenly.
Steam broccoli: While the tempeh is cooking, steam your broccoli until it’s tender.
Assemble bowls: To serve, add a base of the creamy pumpkin rice in each bowl. Top with the tempeh and freshly steamed broccoli. Season with salt and pepper as per your preference. For an optional crunch factor sprinkle pepitas over the top and enjoy!
How to Store Leftovers
Before storing let everything cool. Store the tempeh, pumpkin rice and broccoli in separate airtight containers to maintain texture and flavor. Everything should last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To reheat, microwave or warm in a skillet. Add a splash of water to the rice if dry. Add toppings like pepitas fresh during serving.
More Tempeh Recipes to Try
- BBQ Tempeh
- Tempeh Burgers
- Garlic Tempeh and Broccoli
- Curried Tempeh Salad
- Kung Pao Tempeh
- Tempeh Tikka Masala
- Sweet and Sour Tempeh
- Maple Mustard Tempeh
- Tempeh Meal Prep Bowls
Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup white rice
- pinch of sea salt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- While tempeh is cooking steam your broccoli.
- Assemble 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 pepitas, if using.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.