This easy tempeh stir fry recipe is perfect for a healthy meatless meal that’s ready in about 20 minutes!

Close up overhead view of a bowl of a vegetable tempeh stir fry over rice. There are sesame seeds and chopped green onions scattered around the stir fry.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Have you ever tried tempeh? It’s a delicious source of plant-based protein that’s perfect for vegetarian stir fries!

This recipe features crispy tempeh with broccoli, onion and carrot in a yummy stir sauce served over rice for a healthy, satisfying meal. It’s family-friendly, easy to make and packed with nutrition!

Throw this easy stir fry together for a weeknight dinner and enjoy the leftovers reheated for lunch the next day.

Recipe Highlights

  • Vegan, gluten-free and can be peanut-free.
  • High in protein and fibre!
  • Comes together in under 30 minutes.
  • Great for using up leftover grains and vegetables.
  • Use the stir fry sauce recipe for any stir fry.
  • Makes yummy leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Easy to customize.
  • Perfect for healthy meal prep.
  • High in protein and fibre!
Close up of a wooden spoon resting in a skillet of stir fry with tempeh cubes and vegetables.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is similar to tofu but it’s made from fermented whole soybeans that are pressed into a firm cake. It has a nutty, earthy taste and chewy, meaty texture.

It’s also fairly low in fat with some carbohydrates and a good amount of plant-based protein and other nutrients, and since it’s fermented, it provides some gut-friendly probiotics.

Ingredient Notes

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

All the ingredients for a vegetarian tempeh stir fry recipe with homemade stir fry sauce gathered in bowls and labelled with text. The ingredient list can be found in the corresponding article.

For the Stir Fry Sauce

The sauce recipe is super easy to make, gluten-free and vegan, and perfect for all your stir fry creations. You’ll need just a few pantry ingredients:

  • Tamari: You can use soy sauce or gluten-free tamari.
  • Rice Vinegar: Use seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar.
  • Maple Syrup: Can be substituted with honey or agave syrup.
  • Peanut Butter: Use natural peanut butter or substitute almond butter.
  • Sesame Oil: This is for flavour so not to be substituted with another oil.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: You can use any chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek or sriracha.
  • Ginger: Use ground ginger or you can substitute 2 tsp grated fresh ginger.
  • Garlic: Use whole garlic or you can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder.
  • Cornstarch: For thickeneing.

For the Stir Fry

The stir fry is made with tempeh, of course, along with broccoli, onion, bell pepper and carrot but you can use more or fewer veggies, mix and match with other stir fry-friendly vegetables or even double the tempeh and simplify the veggies!

  • Tempeh: You’ll need 1 roughly 8 oz package of plain tempeh (not seasoned or flavoured).
  • Bell Pepper: Any colour of bell pepper works but I suggest red bell pepper.
  • Other Veggies: The recipe calls for broccoli, carrot and onion but we’ll cover some other options for stir fry veggies below.
  • Green Onion: We’ll use some green onions (scallions) in the stir fry as well as for garnish.
  • Oil: Use your choice of cooking oil (olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, etc.).

You can enjoy the stir fry on its own but it is suggested to serve the stir fry over rice and topped with sesame seeds and scallions.

Step-by-Step Instructions

This recipe is super easy to put together and consists of 4 simple steps: whisk the sauce, fry the tempeh, stir fry the veggies and mix everything up!

Let’s go over the steps with a quick visual reference so that when you start cooking you’ll know exactly what you’re doing. You’ll find the full written and printable recipe at the end of the post.

Step 1: Make the Sauce

Add all of the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk until fully combined. Set it aside for now.

Stir fry sauce mixed up in a small glass mixing bowl with a whisk resting in the bowl.

Step 3: Cook the Tempeh

In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the cubed tempeh and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Turn the cubes over occasionally until you’ve browned them on all sides.

Remove the tempeh from the pan and set it aside on a plate for now.

Quick Note: If you want to simplify the recipe and do for example, just tempeh and scallions, add the sauce and scallions now and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened. I would as much as double the tempeh in this case.

Crispy cubes of tempeh in a skillet cooking on a small hot plate.

Step 3: Stir Fry the Veggies

Heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil plus 2 tbsp of water in the same pan. Be careful if the pan is still hot because the oil may spatter!

Add all of the veggies, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes to steam. Remove the lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are bright and tender.

Stir fried broccoli, bell pepper, onion and broccoli cooking in a skillet.

Step 3: Finish Stir Fry

Add the tempeh back to the pan along with the stir fry sauce. Cook it up for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and everything is coated in sauce.

A vegetarian stir fry with tempeh, broccoli, bell pepper and onion in a skillet. There is a small dish of chopped green onions in the background.t

Serve your stir fry over rice and garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. For more heat, drizzle with Sriracha or sambal oelek!

An angled view of a bowl of tempeh and vegetable stir fry with brown rice, topped with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Notes & Tips

  1. Take your time getting a nice crisp on the tempeh so it holds its texture once you add it back into the stir fry.
  2. Cut all your veggies roughly the same size for an even cooking time.
  3. Make sure you have all the veggies, sauce and tempeh ready to go before starting to cook. It goes fairly quickly once you start cooking.
  4. If you want it saucier, reduce the veggies to 2 cups. You can also do something like double the tempeh and just use green onions, broccoli or bell pepper, or even just tempeh! Sometimes I like to do just tempeh and scallions with the sauce and serve it over rice.
Close up of a cube of browned, crispy tempeh in a bowl of vegetable tempeh stir fry with brown rice.

FAQ’s

What vegetables can I use in a stir fry?

Mix and match from: green beans, carrot, mushrooms, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas, snow peas, and baby corn.

Is tempeh stir fry gluten-free?

Yes. The recipe is gluten-free as written just make sure you use gluten-free tamari and not soy sauce.

Can I use tofu instead of tempeh?

Yes. To use tofu instead of tempeh, press and cube the tofu then proceed with the recipe.

Can I make this recipe peanut-free?

Yes. Use almond butter instead of peanut butter to make the recipe peanut-free.

Sauce Variations

If you want to try this recipe with other sauces, here are some great options:

Overhead view of a bowl of tempeh and vegetable stir fry with brown rice, sesame seeds and scallions. Only half of the bowl is in view showing mainly the stir fry portion with the brown rice just out of frame.

Serving Notes

  • For a low-carb stir fry, serve over cauliflower rice or alongside this cabbage “rice”.
  • As an alternative to rice, it can also be served over quinoa or your choice of noodles such as rice noodles, soba noodles or ramen.

Storing Instructions

  • Let cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or stovetop in a pan until heated through. I prefer it reheated in a pan with a bit of oil or water.

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Close up of a cube of browned, crispy tempeh in a bowl of vegetable tempeh stir fry with brown rice.

Tempeh Stir Fry Recipe

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Save Recipe

Description

This easy tempeh stir fry is ready in 20 minutes for a healthy and tasty vegetarian dinner! 


Ingredients

Scale

For the Stir Fry Sauce

For the Stir Fry

  • 1 8oz pkg tempeh, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 3 cups broccoli florets (150 g)
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into thin half-moons (150 g)
  • 1 small white onion, chopped (100 g/1 cup)
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp water

For Serving


Instructions

  1. Make the Stir Fry Sauce: Add all of the stir fry sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk until fully combined. 
  2. Cook the Tempeh: Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and cook for 7-8 minutes, flipping the cubes occasionally until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan.
  3. Stir Fry the Veggies: Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil to the same pan along with 2 tbsp of water. Be careful as the oil may spatter if the pan is still hot. Add most of the green onions (reserve some for topping), broccoli, carrot, onion and bell pepper. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes to steam. Uncover and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are tender. 
  4. Finish Stir Fry: Add the sauce to the pan and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the tempeh and stir to combine and coat in the sauce.
  5. Serve: Serve your stir fry over your choice of rice and topped with sesame seeds and the remaining green onion.

Notes

Store leftover stir fry in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition facts do not include rice for serving.

For simple stir-fried tempeh that’s saucier, use as much as double the tempeh and reduce the veggies to 1-2 cups. I’d suggest just using 1-2 cups broccoli, 1 bunch of scallions or a combination of broccoli and scallions.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of stir fry
  • Calories: 292
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 17 g

Keywords: tempeh stir fry

Originally published May 5, 2019.