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!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating




85 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!