Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls

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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!

A white bowl with maple balsamic tempeh, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin rice.

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?

Ingredients measured out to make Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls: tamari, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepitas, tempeh, maple syrup, garlic, vegetable broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, broccoli, white rice and sea salt.

Ingredients Needed

  • 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.
Collage of four photos showing pumpkin rice being made in a pot, and maple balsamic tempeh being cooked in a pan.

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!

Two bowls with maple balsamic tempeh, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin rice.

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

Be sure to check out all of the tempeh recipes as well as the full collection of vegan recipes!

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4.60 from 44 votes

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls

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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients  

  • 16 oz (2 packages) Lightlife tempeh
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons tamari
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • pepitas, for topping

Pumpkin Rice

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white rice
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions 

  • 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.
    Raw tempeh on a wooden cutting board, cut into triangles.
  • 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.
    Tempeh cut into triangles marinating in a rectangular dish.
  • 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.
    Cooked pumpkin rice in a large white pot.
  • 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.
    Maple balsamic cooked tempeh in a skillet.
  • While tempeh is cooking steam your broccoli.
    Broccoli florets in a metal colander.
  • 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.
    A white bowl with maple balsamic tempeh, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 852mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 19g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tempeh bowls
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




85 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. I’ve had really good luck with steaming the tempeh before cooking and subsequently coating it in sauce. I find that it absorbs even better.

  3. 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 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Stella. The rice and broccoli make this such a delicious meal but the tempeh really steals the show. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out for you!

  4. I made your tempeh butternut squash bowl a few weeks back and LOVED it! I’ll have to give this a try as well 🙂

    1. Oh yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the tempeh butternut squash bowl. If you liked that I know you’ll like this one too!

  5. 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!

    1. I definitely think it will work with brown rice. You’ll just need to cook the rice longer. Probably about 45 minutes! Let me know if you try it.

  6. 5 stars
    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! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    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! 🙂

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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. 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! 🙂

  11. 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. 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.

  12. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    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. 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. 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.

  15. 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. 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. 🙂

  16. 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!!

    1. 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

    1. 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

  17. 5 stars
    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. 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!

    1. 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

  18. 5 stars
    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. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 5 stars
    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. 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!

  21. 5 stars
    Wow!! This recipe is so flavorful, yet so simple to make. I was skeptical to try the pumpkin rice at fist since I’m not big on pumpkin in savory recipes, but this was mind blowing! Creamy and somehow cheesy? It reminds me of those cheesy bagged rice sides my mom used to make for dinner, but whole food and better 🙂

    1. Woo! That makes me so happy to hear, Haley!! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit. Thanks for giving it a try and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. It means the world to me. 🙂

  22. 5 stars
    This was fabulous! Best tempeh recipe yet. My bf loved it and believe me that says a lot since he is not a vegetarian and hard core meat eater. I used 1 package of tempeh and I used all the marinade so if i did the 16oz you recommended, I would have to add more to make the marinade. I made the rice in the rice cooker and those measurements did not work, I should have adjusted so it was 2 cups of the ingredients. I will be making this recipe again!

    1. I’m so glad you and your boyfriend loved this recipe, Anna! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  23. 5 stars
    This was my first time cooking tempeh and your detailed directions made it so easy to follow! The combination of flavors in this bowl come together so nicely and it’s an all around awesome dish! Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried it with brown rice, but I would just follow the instructions on the packaging and do 1/2 broth and 1/2 coconut milk for the liquid. 🙂 Let me know if you try it!

  24. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I was a little skeptical with the rice and pumpkin combo, but it didn’t disappoint. 🙂 Can’t wait to make this again!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear this recipe was a hit, Liza. Thanks for the review + star rating as well. I really appreciate it!

  25. 5 stars
    I don’t usually comment on blogger recipes, but I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! Followed the recipe exactly and marinated the tempeh for 24 hours. I also don’t care a lot for tempeh, but the flavors in this dish are amazing. The smell while it was cooking made me eat a couple of pieces out of the pan before it finished. The only change I might make is to the rice. The pumpkin flavor was very mild, so next time I think I will double the amount. Thanks for a creative and delicious meal!

    1. Woo! So happy to hear this recipe was a success, Tara. Thanks so much for making it and coming back to leave a review and star rating. It means so much to me!

      1. I added 2 tablespoons of Brittany’s pumpkin spice blend and that brought the pumpkin flavor up without adding the bulk of double pumpkin purée which is think would make the rice gloopy unless you added more liquid.

        1. Oh this sounds great! Glad you’re loving this recipe and it turned out amazing for you! Thanks so much for sharing your review + star rating, I truly appreciate it!

  26. 5 stars
    This was so delicious. I made the marinade as written except I used balsamic fig as that’s what I had. I marinated for 2 hours and wish I did more it was so flavorful. The rice I happened to have a jar of Trader Joe’s pumpkin bisque on hand and I just added a bit of that to the rice and was very satisfied with the results. My 19 month old even scarfed it down!

    1. Woo! So glad to hear it was a hit with your family, Julie. Thanks for leaving a review, it means so much to me!

  27. 5 stars
    loved this and the pumpkin rice wow. loved the rice so much made another lot and added 1/2 tsp of ginger and garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of thai red curry paste yummo

    1. Yum! So glad you’re enjoying this recipe, Jo! I love the additions you made, thanks for sharing!

  28. My husband can’t eat soy, but would love this recipe. Is there another option like chicken to use instead?

    1. Hi Abby, I haven’t tried this recipe with anything except for tempeh, but there are soy-free versions that might work. Let me know if you try it!

    1. Perfect! I am excited to hear that you are loving this recipe, Gina. Thank you for your review + star rating, I so appreciate it!

  29. Hey, I noticed you drizzled a little something over top of the bowl for your photo, and I’m just curious what is that? is that a bit of the leftover glaze/marinade or something else?

    1. Yes! It is topped with some of the remaining glaze. Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you enjoy it!

  30. This recipe looks so good but I can’t have soybean products. If I substituted diced chicken breast……do you think that would work well with the marinade?

    1. Hi Melissa – I haven’t tried this recipe with anything except for tempeh, but there are soy-free versions that might work. Let me know if you try it!

  31. Big fan of EBF recipes over here. 🙌 Quick question – can the coconut milk be substituted for any other kind of milk? Almond? Cow’s? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Megan – Sure you can use another milk, but just to note, the rice won’t be as creamy and won’t have that distinct coconut flavor. You could also just use water and/or broth. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

    1. This is so great to hear, glad you are enjoying this recipe. Thank you for your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!