It’s only been two days since the Vegetarian Challenge ended, but my stomach is already like, “Whoa girl, take it easy. I thought I told you before not to change things up so suddenly!” Fair enough, stomach. Here is some high-fiber bean-filled goodness to make it up to you. I saw that tempeh was on sale today, so I took the opportunity to make this recipe for Sesame Tempeh Bowls that I’ve had waiting in the wings.
This is basically the same recipe as my Easy Sesame Chicken, but it’s even easier because I didn’t bother coating the tempeh in any sort of egg wash. Just a quick simmer in water to plump it up, then the sauce goes in, and you’re DONE. If you’re looking for the easiest of easy meal preps, this is it.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a compressed cake of fermented soy beans. It sounds a little weird, but I promise it’s awesome. It has a fairly neutral taste (a slight bitterness, if anything) and it absorbs the flavor of whatever sauce you pour over top. It’s a fantastic source of plant-based protein, fiber, and other nutrients, and has a much more firm texture than tofu. Because it is more firm, I find it works better than tofu for stir fry.
Frozen Broccoli is My Friend
I used frozen broccoli florets for these bowls because they’re just so easy. I simply let them thaw and add them to the bowls. Frozen broccoli is blanched before freezing, so they’re already partially cooked. They’ll finish cooking when I reheat my meal prep. If you prefer to use fresh, simply steam or boil them for a few minutes, or just until al dente.
Meal Prep It!
I packed my Tempeh Sesame Bowls into individual containers so I could eat them over the next few days. The bowls will stay good in your refrigerator for about four days.
Sesame Tempeh Bowls
- 1/4 cup soy sauce ($0.24)
- 2 Tbsp water ($0.00)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil ($0.33)
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar ($0.12)
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds ($0.08)
- 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.2)
- 8 oz. tempeh ($2.50)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.11)
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice* ($0.70)
- 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($2.26)
- Begin by mixing together the sesame sauce. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, grated ginger, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.
- Cut the brick of tempeh into 8 squares, then cut each square diagonally into a triangle. Turn each triangle on its side and slice it in half so you have two thinner triangles. To achieve the proper tempeh to sauce ratio, you don't want thick pieces.
- Place the tempeh in a large skillet and add 1/2 cup water. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and let the tempeh simmer until all of the water evaporates (about 5-8 minutes). Flip the tempeh a couple times as it simmers.
- Once the water has evaporated, turn the heat down to medium and pour in the sesame sauce. The skillet will still be quite hot, so the sauce may begin to thicken immediately. Stir the tempeh in the sauce until the sauce has thickened (1-2 minutes), then remove it from the heat immediately to prevent further evaporation and thickening.
- To build the bowls, place one cup of rice in each dish, top with 1/4 of the sesame tempeh, 1/4 of the broccoli florets, and a sprinkle of green onion.
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How to Make Sesame Tempeh Bowls – Step by Step Photos
Begin by making the sesame sauce. In a medium bowl stir together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, about 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, and 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch. Stir them together until the cornstarch is dissolved, then set the sauce aside.
Cut the brick of tempeh into 8 squares, then cut each square diagonally into triangles…
Then turn each triangle on its side and slice it in half to make two thinner triangles. You want thin pieces to get the sauce to tempeh ratio right.
Place the tempeh in a large skillet and add 1/2 cup water. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and let the tempeh simmer until all of the water is evaporated (about 5-8 minutes). Flip the tempeh a couple of times as it simmers. Simmering the tempeh makes it a bit more tender.
Once the tempeh has simmered and all of the water has evaporated, turn the heat down to medium and add the sesame sauce.
The sesame sauce will begin to thicken as it heats, so stir the tempeh in the sauce for 1-2 minutes, or just until thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat as soon as it has thickened or else the water will continue to evaporate and the sauce will become too thick.
Now you have delicious sesame tempeh that only took about 10 minutes!
To build the bowls place one cup cooked rice in each dish and top with 1/4 of the sesame tempeh and the sauce. Add 1/4 of the broccoli florets on the side, and sprinkle a few sliced green onions over top. Finished!
I packed mine up in meal prep containers for the week! You can find these Pyrex 3-cup Rectangle Glass Meal Prep Containers in my Amazon Shop.
What a great easy meal! I missed the part about cutting the tempeh triangles in half to make them thinner (oops), but I added some steamed broccoli so it ended up still being just the right amount of sauce. I only used 1 tbsp of coconut sugar and served it over riced cauliflower for a super easy and delicious lunch!
This was delicious. It also landed itself well to prepping beforehand. I made the base (quinoa instead of rice) ahead of time as well as the sauce and just stuck it in the fridge until I was ready to cook. I didn’t have broccoli, so I sauteed napa cabbage and bell peppers. I added a large spoonful of gochujang to the sauce for a little kick, which was perfect. My friends who I cooked for loved it. I already bought two more blocks of tempeh so I can make a double recipe next time.
This was delicious! My first time making tempeh and we loved it. Thank you 🙏
I’ve made this a lot of times with tofu and it’s one of my favorite recipes.
Today I tried it with tempah for the first time. I like vegetarian foods but I was very skeptical from the moment I opened the package. I was worried I’d ruined my week’s worth of lunches because it smelled weird. I cooked as directed and I can’t taste the tempah AT ALL. Even my husband, who generally hates things like tofu and fake meat, said it was good and he would be willing to eat it.
Give tempah a chance!
Really flavorful and easy.
This was the first time I have ever had tempeh. The sauce on this recipe is fire. It has just the right viscosity. It is sticky and dark and sweet. It pairs well with rice and jazzes up the broccoli. I don’t think I would ever crave tempeh, but I would certainly consider making this dish again as a meal-prep for lunches. It is stupid easy to prepare. I like the one comment about putting the broccoli right in the pan with the tempeh. I will probably do that next time.
Can’t wait to try your delicious recipe. I make my own tempeh and find bitterness develops with age. Day one it’s mushroomy fragrant and that fades over a week to a bitter taste so eating it quickly is best
I am a really good cook and always make delicious food, but this recipe was horrible. I couldn’t eat it. Not sure if it was because I used guar gum instead of cornstarch but it was too thick with not enough fluid. The garlic didn’t have time to cook down and there was no instruction for how to cook or add the broccolini. 0/10
Yes, guar gum is very different from cornstarch so you’ll get very different results. Regarding the broccoli, here is the text from the blog post: “I used frozen broccoli florets for these bowls because they’re just so easy. I simply let them thaw and add them to the bowls. Frozen broccoli is blanched before freezing, so they’re already partially cooked. They’ll finish cooking when I reheat my meal prep. If you prefer to use fresh, simply steam or boil them for a few minutes, or just until al dente.”
Perhaps you should remove your negative review when you didn’t follow the recipe?