This quick maple mustard tempeh recipe is so flavourful! Protein-rich tempeh is coated in a sauce made with two types of mustard, maple syrup, white wine, shallots, garlic, thyme, miso, and lemon. This plant based main cooks up in 25 minutes and is simple to prepare.
Despite having a few tempeh recipes on here, I am extremely hot and cold on it! I find that it has to be aggressively seasoned and either seared/fried to the point of deep crispy-ness or heavily coated in sauce. This maple mustard tempeh that I’m sharing today falls into the latter category.
What even is tempeh?
If you’re wondering, tempeh is a fermented “cake” made from cooked soybeans (and sometimes other grains like rice or kamut) that have been inoculated with a fermentation starter. It’s been made and enjoyed in Indonesia for thousands of years. The fermentation process helps to break down phytic acid in the soybeans. It also enables better digestion of the starches. The end result has a lot of plant-based protein, an earthy/mushroom-like flavour, and a meaty and satisfying texture.
In this recipe, I steam cubes of tempeh first. This is a common first step to eliminate some of the bitter flavour that tempeh has. After that, I sear it in olive oil with some salt and pepper. Then, I sauté a flavour base of shallots, thyme, garlic, and ground chillies. I add the tempeh back in, some white wine. Then I completely douse those tempeh cubes with two types of mustard and maple syrup. We finish the sauce with a little arrowroot slurry to thicken, some miso for depth, and a squeeze of lemon.
The way this tangy, sweet, slightly spicy sauce just clings to the tempeh! It’s a thing of beauty. I love to serve this tempeh in grain bowls, on salads, or as a side to some roasted vegetables and potatoes. If you’re looking for more tempeh recipes, I’d recommend my Sticky Ginger Tempeh with Coconut Rice, The Best Marinated and Grilled Tempeh, and these Roasted Winter Bowls with BBQ Tempeh and Hemp Seed Ranch.
Maple Mustard Tempeh Recipe
- Steamer Basket
- 2 8-ounce packages of tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard or grainy mustard, or a mixture of both
- ¼ cup yellow mustard
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium shallot, small dice
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes or ground chillies
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon miso
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch/powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Fill a medium saucepan with about an inch of water. Cover and place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Place the tempeh pieces in a steamer basket and then transfer the steamer basket to the saucepan. Put the lid on top and steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Line a dinner plate with a clean kitchen towel and set it near the stove.
- While tempeh is steaming, in a medium bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, and maple syrup. Set aside.
- Turn the heat off under the steaming saucepan once the ten minutes are up. Using tongs, transfer the steamed tempeh pieces over to the towel-lined plate. Pat the pieces dry.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and swirl it around. Place all of the tempeh into the skillet in a single layer. Let the one side of the tempeh get nice and brown before stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Stir and flip the tempeh pieces over and season liberally with salt and pepper. Let the other side of the tempeh brown for another 3-4 minutes. If the pan is getting dry, add a little extra glug of olive oil.
- Once evenly browned, remove the towel from your dinner plate and transfer the tempeh back over to that plate. Return the skillet back to the stove over medium heat.
- Pour in the remaining olive oil and swirl it around. Add the shallots to the skillet. Saute the shallots until very soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if they’re starting to brown too fast. Add the chili flakes and thyme and cook for another full minute. Finally, add the garlic and cook for another full minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add all of the browned tempeh back into the skillet and give it a stir. Pour in the white wine. It should start boiling and bubbling immediately. Let the alcohol cook off for about 30 seconds. Then, pour the mustard and maple syrup mixture into the skillet and stir to coat the tempeh pieces. You want the sauce to be very lightly simmering at this point. Let it simmer away for about 2 minutes.
- In the same bowl that you had the mustard and maple in, whisk together the ¼ cup of water, miso, and arrowroot. Add this slurry into the skillet and stir to combine with the tempeh. Add the lemon juice and stir once more. The sauce should be sticky and clinging to the pieces of tempeh. If you find that the sauce has reduced too much, just add splashes of water into the skillet until you’re happy with the consistency.
- Serve the tempeh warm! I topped mine with extra thyme leaves, extra ground chillies and black pepper.
- This tempeh is great for serving in grain bowls, on salads, or as a side to some roasted vegetables and potatoes.
- I used ground Kashmiri chillies from Diaspora Co. here but any amount of regular red chili flakes that you can handle is great!
- I generally prefer 100% soy-based tempeh, but any type that you like will work here.
- Any white wine that you enjoy drinking is great! I used a local riesling.
- You can replace the white wine with vegetable stock! You may want a little bit more lemon juice at the end if you go this route.
- You can directly substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot.
- To make this soy-free, seek out a soy-free tempeh brand like Smiling Hara and use a chickpea or barley-based miso.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves for the tablespoon of fresh here.