Sesame Garlic Noodles with Broccoli, Basil & Crispy Tempeh

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 7 votes

Sesame garlic noodles are an easy, delicious vegan main. Ready in 25 minutes! Saucy noodles, fresh vegetables, and crispy tempeh for protein.

An overhead shot of garlic sesame noodles on a white platter. The dish also features broccoli florets and chopped herbs.
An overhead shot of a bowl of noodles with slices of tempeh and cooked broccoli pieces.
A 3/4 angle shot of some Thai basil plants in an herb garden.
An overhead shot of a head of broccoli being trimmed.
An up close shot of dry whole grain noodles.
A 3/4 angle shot of a garlic sesame sauce being whisked up on a black bowl.

I love how simple these sesame garlic noodles are to make! The crispy slices of tempeh that we add for protein are simply seared ahead of time in a skillet. The noodles and broccoli cook together. And the sauce is simply whisked in a bowl and added at the end. Easy!

The six ingredient sauce is tamari-based and super flavourful. We add a bit of lime juice, garlic, sesame oil, and a hint of maple syrup to balance everything out. I whisk it together, pour it over the noodles, cooked broccoli, and plenty of chopped herbs, and it’s done!

More Delicious Tempeh Recipes

What I love most about this recipe is that you could easily make it year-round. It’s also super dependable as a weeknight dinner that lots of folks will love. I know that not everyone is the hugest fan of tempeh, and I get that! You could definitely substitute some seared tofu cubes or other protein of your choice.

If you love cilantro, it would also be delicious in this recipe! Honestly the whole dish is quite flexible if you keep the noodles, veg, and sauce intact. Everything else can be freestyled to your liking!

A 3/4 angle shot of some leaves of basil in a stoneware bowl.
An overhead shot of pieces of tempeh being browned in a skillet.
An overhead shot of broccoli and noodles being cooked in the same saucepan.
An overhead shot of garlic sesame noodles on a white platter. The dish also features broccoli florets and chopped herbs.

Sesame Garlic Noodles with Broccoli, Basil & Crispy Tempeh

Sesame garlic noodles are an easy, delicious vegan main. Ready in 25 minutes! Saucy noodles, fresh vegetables, and crispy tempeh for protein.
5 from 7 votes
garlic sesame noodles with broccoli, basil & crispy tempeh (#vegan, quick and healthy) - The First Mess
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6


Sesame Garlic Sauce Ingredients

  • ¼ cup gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus extra
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil (I used a hot-toasted one with chilies)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated with a Microplane grater
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus extra for garnish

Noodles, Tempeh Etc.

  • ¾ lb noodles of choice
  • 4 cups small broccoli florets (from roughly 1 bunch of broccoli)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 8 oz (227) grams tempeh, sliced ½ inch thick
  • handful of Thai basil leaves, sliced (or regular basil if you have it!)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


  • Use any noodles you like for this. I went with a simple spelt-base noodle that I had on hand, but you could also do buckwheat soba, edamame/mung bean fettuccine, brown rice noodles… spiralized raw zucchini even! If you go for traditional cooked/grain-based noodles, just be mindful of the cook time on the package, and drop the broccoli in when there’s about 3 minutes left with the cooking time.
  • A note on the tempeh too: generally I think tempeh is best when it’s first steamed and then seared/roasted. If you’re open to frying the tempeh in a decent amount of oil (as I describe in this recipe), you can skip the steaming and go straight to browning.


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. Set aside.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions, dropping the broccoli florets into the pot when there’s 3 minutes left. Drain the noodles and broccoli.
  • While the noodles and broccoli are cooking, heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place the tempeh slices in the pan in a single layer. Let the first side brown thoroughly. Flip the slices over and let the other side brown. Season the tempeh with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime juice.
  • In a large bowl, toss the noodles, broccoli, tempeh, Thai basil, green onions, and sesame garlic sauce together until everything is evenly mixed. Garnish the sesame garlic noodles with some extra sesame seeds and serve!
A head on shot of a platter of noodles and broccoli garnished with herbs

10/08/2016 (Last Updated 25/10/2022)
Posted in: autumn, broccoli, earthy, gluten free, gluten free option, main course, nut free, quick, salty, side dish, summer, tempeh, umami, vegan


5 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Recipe Rating

  • Erin

    5 stars
    This recipe has been part of our regular rotation for a long time. Great flavour and wonderful for lunch the next day. I’m looking forward to it tonight!

  • Alina

    5 stars
    I am *lazy* so I used frozen broccoli. I also didn’t have noodles, so I tossed the broccoli and tempeh in the sauce and then served it over rice. It was great!

    • Laura Wright

      Love your lazy remix! Sounds great to me :)

  • Jessie

    5 stars
    I am always on the hunt for nutritious meals I can easily add to my meal prep rotation and this is definitely going on the list! I also recently became obsessed with tempeh so obviously I love this. It was super easy to make with most of the ingredients being pantry staples in my house. I used an 8oz bag of shirataki spaghetti which was perfect for an Asian style recipe and cut the calories down immensely. Since it wasn’t quite 3/4 lb I just increased the broccoli. Only other changes I made was adding some lime zest to the sauce for an extra lime kick, and I didn’t have any green onion so I actually cooked down a sliced sweet onion in oil and added that in, if you love onions then definitely add that step! And then I fried the tempeh in the same pan as the onions so it’d get more of that good flavor. I don’t think I’d change a thing! Oh I also didn’t have anything but dried basil on hand so I omitted that. I got three good servings out of this! Dinner tonight and 2 easy work lunches.

  • Brenda Nejedlo

    5 stars
    This recipe was so easy and yielded a delicious result! This is good hot or cold, and for serving a put a little bit of chili crisp on it. Next time I think I’ll marinade the tempeh and then put it in the air fryer to use a bit less oil. I cut the tempeh into strips and then steamed it over a simmering pot of water for about 8-10 minutes. The tempeh did not fall apart, as I thought it might. I think it was easier to cut then steam the tempeh as opposed to steaming then cutting. Thank you for a wonderful easy recipe.

  • Dees

    This recipe is definitely a winner in my family. 

  • Chelsea

    This recipe has become a regular in my household. Delicious, simple, quick to put together and easy to take leftovers to work because its amazing both hot and cold. Thanks!

  • Lindsey

    This was so easy and so good! whipped up quick with some thai basil from the back yard for an awesome lunch.

  • Ella

    Just made this, YUM! I used soba noodles and stirred them in with the tempeh and sauce.

  • Lily

    Thanks for this recipe! Made it with rice noodles and was really happy with how it turned out (so was my boyfriend who doesn’t love eating vegetarian). I’ve never tried steaming and then searing tempeh, but I like the sound of it. Do you have any tips for this?

  • Jen

    Somehow I have all these ingredients on hand! Thank you so much!

  • Katherine

    I made this last night!- delicious and easy! I might make a bit more sauce to use on the leftovers tonight. Yum!

  • Meredith Youngson | Earth & Oven

    This recipe was so delicious! The dressing ratios were right on point (salty nutty tangy with a bit of sweet) and I loved blanching the broccoli with the noods to make it super quick. Thanks Laura!

  • Mado

    Love the recipes, pix are gorgeous. Do us a favor, however, and increase your font size. It’s a deterrent.

  • Julie

    I usually don’t like tempeh much unless it’s in a dragon bowl at a restaurant.
    Well… I LOVED THIS DISH! Thank you!

  • Agnes {Cashew Kitchen}

    I’m totally with you on the instagram stories thing. Whenever something requires my attention repeatedly throughout the day I feel easily overwhelmed. I’ve never been good at updating things often in general, and whenever I have an ongoing conversation with a friend on, say, Messenger, I like to wait for a day or so before answering. Because falling into that spiral of constant back-and-forth communication stressed me out for some reason. I’ve always preferred to work on my things in solitude, only to pop out every once in a while and publish it. In between I keep a pretty low profile.

    And regarding the recipe here, it sounds like exactly the kind of things I enjoy! Tempeh pairs so well with noodles, and broccoli is always a favorite :-) And the dusky light here is simply gorgeous!

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout

    I feel like you are always so articulate about these things! I really love and appreciate your honesty here. I feel like as a pretty small and new blogger and I am always trying to play catch up, and social media is such a big part of that, but something that also creates stress/envy/bad vibes. I am going to make a big effort to listen to myself more! Thanks, Laura! <3

  • Adrienne

    Ah, such a relief to hear other people feel the same was about social media apps! I actually deleted Twitter about a month ago, I was only keeping it because I thought I was supposed to and then felt guilty when I never used it. How silly! I haven’t used Snapchat for my company and probably won’t be using Instagram stories. It just doesn’t sit well with me. Like you said ” A lot of this has to do with being a sensitive person that’s easily overstimulated.” I totally agree.


  • Cassie

    I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful the photos are! I agree that Instagram can be addicting and a bit toxic if you abuse its algorithmic structure. The scenario of “if it doesn’t add, it subtracts” is definitely true!

  • Leah

    Thanks so much for this yummy recipe. Made it last night and we loved it. My 5 year old ate every bite!

  • Adina

    I am in full support of stepping back from Instagram!!! I love everything you said. I feel like Instagram can take over your entire day, business, and life if you try to keep up with it. Keep being you! I love it, I will definitely be checking in on your blog. Thanks for the quality content and REALness.

  • Sarah | Well and Full

    I’ve never heard that before, but I love it – “If it doesn’t add, it subtracts.” Very wise words. I’ve been slowly moving away from instagram as it’s really been stressing me out (i.e. hashtags, how many followers I have, etc), and I never got into snapchat in the first place. It doesn’t add, so it subtracts! :p

  • Natasha

    Hi! loved your thoughts about the Instagram and snapchat stories! I think we are molding into a society that tries to force everyone into maintaining an online presence, which can be rewarding but takes us away from the real stuff happening in the moment! A reminder to visit the present moment more often. :) The noodles look great!

  • Joyce @ Sun Diego Eats

    This is the kind of thing I like to make an obscene amount of and eat for lunch everyday. Tamari + citrus + maple syrup is the BEST dressing for nearly everything.

    And for me my Snapchat is private/for friends so I don’t mind Instagram stories so I can post food content there and save bee filter face/excessive cat pictures for my snaps!


    Your photo skills are amazing…wow! This recipe looks delicious…can’t wait to try.

  • valentina | sweet kabocha

    1. I wasn’t able to use Snapchat, Instagram is so easy that I share some little videos and “backstage” shots, but I try to not overdo, since I think it can be a double-edged sword – I unfollowed some accounts because they post a new story every 30 minutes and they’re pretty boring.
    2. Your photos are more stunning than ever!
    3. These noodles, gosh *___*


  • Allyson

    I’m stealing your “if it doesn’t add, subtract” mantra. I haven’t tried Instagram stories yet and I’m not particularly interested. It seems like all of our technology is moving in the assumption that we want to be connected 24 hours a day, when really it’s quickly becoming (at least for me) just one more thing to keep up with. Ugh.

    In noodle news, these look excellent. I imagine this would be excellent with soba.

  • Ashley

    Frankly, I think the Snapchat/IG Stories-like apps encourage anxiety & compulsion by creating a false sense of urgency relating toward checking social media: If you don’t check regularly, you might miss something! I am severely disappointed in the lack of ethics among gaming & app developers, who are more interested in creating technology that people “won’t be able to live without” in order to increase their bottom line, instead of creating technology that actually enhances people’s lives.

  • Jessie Snyder

    I feel you on those Instagram stories, and appreciate you honest thoughts here Laura <3. As someone who is also really sensitive to overstimulation too, trying to figure out the SM balance personally + professionally is really tough. But you are encouraging me to go with my gut here, thank you! And this noodle dish sounds innnnncredible girl! Broccoli is my favorite, and I love what you've done with that tempeh ;). Hugs and cheers to less screen time – xo

  • Jessica

    I feel exactly the same, it’s too much! Not into Instagram stories at all. The more time I feel forced on one app, the more time I end up away from it. Spending too much time looking into others lives and not in my own, and it just doesn’t feel right. Loving this noodle bowl :)

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker

    I feel these feels so hard right now! Once I get done watching Snapchat, I feel like I have to move onto Stories..then there’s regular Insta, then Facebook..ahhh!! I need to start giving up on a few and just chilling on the screen time :) In love with those noodles chica, that broccoli is calling my name!

  • Michelle @ Hummingbird High

    dude, i am not a fan of how all these stupid social media apps are turning out. i’m barely on instagram anymore, it stresses me out way too much. and if i’m being honest, it all looks the same now? it’s hard to find people who are truly innovating and inspiring. sigh. can we all go back to just blogging??

  • Alys

    Holy cow this is like all my fav ingredients in one recipe! Amazing!

  • Anya

    SO many good points you make here, Laura! We just started getting into the groove of things with Snapchat, and then Stories came out, and now we are kind of at a loss :) And I do find those apps taking up way too much time. What I like about them is getting the ‘raw,’ unfiltered view into the lives of people I admire over the internet, and I do think it might make readers feel more connected as well.
    Anyways, these noodles look amazing! Never seen tempeh captured in a more appetizing way.

  • Clémentine

    Thanks Laura for the words on Instagram & co… I’m also trying currently to check only once a day and maybe not scrolling through the whole feed thread as I followed more people/restaurants recently…

    Same for this kind of noodle dish is exactly what I will go for if I feel lazy, craving for comfort food and that it seems that my fridge has nothing to offer! It turned out to be always a nice and yummy surprise!

  • Dawn

    Excellent. I have a packet of tempeh in the fridge too. Yum!

  • Julia @ HappyFoods

    Never eaten tempeh but looking at this dish I feel like running to our local shop to have a look if they sell it so I could make it!