Tempeh Burrito Bowls

$7.27 recipe / $1.82 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.86 from 7 votes
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New day, new burrito bowl! Seriously though, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of burrito bowls, or run out of fun variations on the burrito bowl theme. This week I made my burrito bowls vegetarian style with crumbled tempeh seasoned with southwest spices, roasted sweet potatoes, creamy avocado, sweet corn, thinly sliced spicy jalapeños, and just a light drizzle of sour cream. These Tempeh Burrito Bowls are meal prep ready and completely customizable, so read on for all my ideas for substitutions and add-ins!

Tempeh Burrito Bowls

Close up overhead view of a Tempeh Burrito Bowl on a yellow background and an avocado on the side.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a vegetarian product made out of fermented soy beans, or other beans and grains (several soy-free varieties are widely available now). It’s an awesome meat alternative because it has a pleasantly firm texture, is full of protein, and fiber. Tempeh has a mild flavor on its own, so it takes marinades, sauces, and seasonings well, making it extremely versatile. If you’re not a fan of the soft, gelatinous texture of tofu, tempeh may be a better fit for you.

Customize Your Tempeh Burrito Bowls

Burrito bowls by nature are extremely customizable. You can make these bowls as basic or as fancy as needed to fit your budget or flavor preferences. While testing this recipe I did a super simplified version with just rice, the seasoned tempeh, salsa, and cheese, and it was awesome! I decided to get a little more fancy for the final product, but you could even go further by using Cilantro Lime Rice, or a Lime Crema instead of plain sour cream. Here are some more toppings you can add to or in place of what I used:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Bell peppers (fresh, roasted, or grilled)
  • Black Beans
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Grilled zucchini
  • Pickled red onions
  • Fresh squeezed lime
  • Or any other topping you like on tacos, nachos, or burritos


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Tempeh Burrito Bowls

4.86 from 7 votes
Spiced and crumbled tempeh makes a fast and easy alternative to beef in these Tempeh Burrito Bowls. Customize the toppings to be vegetarian or vegan! 
Overhead view of a tempeh burrito bowl with a black fork digging in, an avocado on the side.
Servings 4
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 35 mins

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 sweet potato (about 1 lb.) ($1.47)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)

Seasoned Tempeh*

  • 8 oz. tempeh ($2.49)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.05)
  • 2 tsp chili powder ($0.20)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)

Bowl Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice ($0.47)
  • 1/2 cup salsa ($0.50)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed ($0.30)
  • 1 jalapeño ($0.18)
  • 1 avocado ($1.19)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream ($0.11)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then toss to coat. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Once roasted, set aside.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the seasoned tempeh. Crumble the brick of tempeh into a skillet. Add the water, oil, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Stir briefly to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer. Let the tempeh simmer, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes total, or until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce.
  • While the tempeh is simmering, slice the avocado and jalapeño. 
  • To build the bowls, place 1 cup cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl. Divide the seasoned tempeh, roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and avocado between all four bowls. Top each bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of salsa, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, and a few slices of jalapeño. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*If you don't have the individual spices, a store-bought taco seasoning packet can be used in their place.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 561.88kcalCarbohydrates: 71.28gProtein: 19.03gFat: 24.25gSodium: 1133.5mgFiber: 10.58g
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Love burrito bowls? Check out my other burrito bowl recipes: Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep, BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls, Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls.

Close up front view of Tempeh Burrito Bowls with a fork scooping up a bite.

Step by Step Photos

Cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, coated in oil, and ready to be roasted.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice a sweet potato (about 1 pound) into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, then toss until the cubes are coated in oil. Add a pinch of salt, then roast for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Set the roasted sweet potatoes aside.

Tempeh in the package.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the tempeh. Tempeh comes in a sort of “brick” like this, but we’ll be crumbling it so that it resembles ground meat. You’ll need one 8oz. package of tempeh.

Crumbled tempeh in the skillet

Use your hands to crumble the tempeh into a skillet. Tempeh is fairly soft, so it should crumble easily.

Spices tomato paste and water with tempeh in a skillet

Also add 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp cooking oil, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Stir everything briefly to combine. You’ll be stirring more as it cooks, so the tomato paste doesn’t need to be completely incorporated at this point. Just make sure the spices are well distributed.

Simmered Taco Tempeh in the skillet

Place a lid on the skillet and place it over medium heat. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer. Let the tempeh simmer, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes total or until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce like in the photo above. 

Tempeh being scooped onto a bowl of rice

Now it’s time to begin to build the tempeh burrito bowls. Add about 1 cup cooked rice to each bowl. Divide the seasoned tempeh between each bowl.

Add Vegetables to Tempeh and rice in bowl

Also divide the roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and avocado between the bowls.

Salsa being spooned onto a tempeh burrito bowl with sliced jalapeños on the side

Top each bowl with a few slices of jalapeño, a tablespoon or two of salsa…

Finished Tempeh Burrito Bowl, topped with sour cream.

And finish with a drizzle or dollop of sour cream. Enjoy the tempeh burrito bowl immediately, or refrigerate for later.

Overhead view of a finished tempeh burrito bowl on a yellow background with a black and white napkin and an avocado on the side.

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  1. I probably have a bit of an uncommon relationship with tempeh – I actually love the flavor of it and eat it lightly seasoned. I also prefer it cut into cubes rather than crumbles. I tried this recipe as-is and I liked it OK, but was a bit disappointed by the flavors and textures. A lot of non-descript soft texture with my mouth somehow not knowing the difference between the rice and the tempeh – somehow a ton of spices but not much flavor to speak of. I ended up liking cold leftovers better than when the dish was warm, and added some ranch dressing and more salsa to get the flavors going. If I did it over again, I would cube the tempeh and saute it in olive oil with salt and a little cumin, then add a squeeze of lime and chipoltle ranch dressing to the bowl, or make another flavorful dressing like cilantro lime crema and use a healthy portion of that instead of the seasoning on the tempeh. I would also add some crunch like shaved iceberg and/or tortilla strips and leave out the fresh jalapeno – too hot for me!

  2. So good, filling, and nutritious! I made this with cilantro lime rice and some quick pickled red onion, and the combo is perfect. I did up the veggie factor, I roasted 2 sweet potatoes and a head of broccoli to go with it. This is also one of my first times cooking with tempeh and I was a bit nervous, I’m super unfamiliar with it, but it turned out AMAZING. I could seriously eat this for lunch every day for a month and never get tired of it

  3. I was wondering would i be able to freeze the tempe after cooking it and if so how long can it stay in the freezer?

    1. Unfortunately I haven’t tried freezing tempeh, so I’m not sure how that will hold up, but the rest of the ingredients should be fine with freezing (minus the sour cream)!

    2. I buy my tempeh frozen already, so I would say there shouldn’t be an issue with it freezing it after cooking it if wasn’t frozen when you bought it…

  4. Really tasty, we heated up canned corn in a skillet. Also Trader Joe’s everything but the elote seasoning!

  5. This was again an amazing recipe. My potatoes took a bit longer to cook. The rest was perfect. The flavors work so well together! Thank you! 

  6. We almost made it with regular potatoes but ended up following the recipe as written — luckily because the sweet potatoes really add something to it. This is one of my favorite recipes here. So delicious, satisfying and colorful.

  7. Absolutely DELICIOUS!! Honestly the best burrito bowl I’ve ever had. So excited to eat lunch every day this week lol

    1. Do you know why yours didn’t turn out so good? Constructive criticism can be helpful to other people trying these recipes.

  8. If you use taco seasoning mix would you use a similar about (~5 tsp if I am adding right?) or a different amount? And I assume you would still use tomato paste? Thanks!

    1. 5 tsp would be too much. I would use more like 2.5 tsp, or 1 Tbsp. :) Yes, I would still use the tomato paste.

  9. the key to tempeh is just slamming it with seasoning, and this is a perfect example of that! I had made a pot of your golden rice earlier in the week, so that was great to use in these bowls. Thank you!

  10. I have frozen cubed sweet potatoes. Would that work for roasting? (for the life of me I can’t cut a sweet potato, it is maddening). Thanks for all of the good recipes!

    1. I’m not sure, I’ve never actually tried to roast previously frozen sweet potatoes! I’m not sure what happens to the texture of them if frozen before being cooked.

  11. I am so excited about this version of a bowl! I have some TJ Mexican corn in the freezer … and always always black beans for me 😀

  12. Love when you post a recipe that uses things I already have! Tempeh and corn in the freezer, sweet potato and salsa in the pantry, black beans from the slow cooker, peppers in the fridge and avocado in the fruit bowl. What a great meal prep for the week.