This simple almond butter tempeh stir fry is one of the best ways to use tempeh if you’re new to it! The recipe uses simple cooking methods (all on the stovetop) and one large sauté pan plus a bowl for whisking up the delicious tempeh stir fry sauce. Easy, tasty, and ready in about 40 minutes! The flavourful ginger and garlic almond butter sauce reminds me of this delicious sticky ginger tempeh recipe–more plant-based protein inspiration for you :)
All about tempeh:
- Tempeh is a fermented “cake” made from cooked soybeans (and other grains) 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 the phytic acid in the soybeans which correspondingly enables better digestion of the starches.
- It is thought that tempeh-making became an accidental byproduct of tofu making, which was introduced by Chinese immigrants to the island of Java during the 17th century.
- I do not recommend eating tempeh straight from the package. It can have a bitter taste! For this sautéed tempeh, I recommend boiling or steaming it for 10 minutes first. I do this with most of my tempeh recipes.
- Tempeh is usually a very dense, compacted cake–not a ton of textured surface area to work in flavour! To make it taste good in this healthy tempeh stir fry, I recommend slicing it super thin after boiling. This evens the ratio of tempeh to sauce, which boosts flavour!
I used Logan Petit Lot’s roasted almond butter with sea salt in these photos. I would describe the texture as between smooth and crunchy. Roasted and smooth is great here. We add a bit of water to loosen up the sauce. Depending on your almond butter, you may need to add more or less. The resulting sauce should be quite punchy with flavour and fluid. I also recommend roasted sunflower seed butter or even peanut butter in this recipe as substitutes.
I know folks will ask: I think tofu would work great here as well! Just slice the same amount of firm tofu into similarly small pieces and brown it up nice in the pan. If you. feel like an extra step, I’d toss the tofu with cornstarch/arrowroot and lots of salt and pepper first. This will give you some extra crispy potential.
Almond Butter Tempeh Stir Fry
Almond Butter Stir Fry Sauce
- ¼ cup smooth almond butter
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated with a microplane
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated with a microplane
- 2 tablespoons Tamari
- 1 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as sriracha
- ¼ cup water, plus extra
Tempeh Stir Fry
- 8 ounces (227 grams) tempeh, cut into quarters
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 green onions, sliced
- chopped cilantro, optional
- cooked rice, for serving
- I like to serve this simply with brown rice. Noodles or any other grain that you like will also work.
- Use vegetables that you like and have on hand! Broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper are my go-tos for stir fries, but pretty much anything will work—snap peas, green beans, cauliflower, chopped cabbage etc.
- You can also chuck all of the sauce ingredients in a blender if you like! No need to finely grate the ginger and garlic with this method.
- I think tofu would work great here as well! Just slice the same amount of firm tofu into similarly small pieces and brown it up nice in the pan. If you. feel like an extra step, I’d toss the tofu with cornstarch/arrowroot and lots of salt and pepper first. This will give you some extra crispy potential.
- Make the almond butter sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, ginger, garlic, Tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar, lime juice, and hot sauce. Give this a quick whisk. Add the water and begin to slowly whisk it in to combine. Once the sauce starts coming together, whisk more vigorously. Give the sauce a taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (more Tamari, vinegar etc). It should be pretty intense tasting and quite fluid! Set aside.
- Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and place the tempeh pieces in. Cover the pieces with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh, let it cool, and then slice thinly. Discard the water and wipe out the pan.
- Set the large sauté pan back over medium high heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl it around. Add the sliced tempeh to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Let it sear/brown on one side and then stir/flip the pieces around. Let the tempeh sear and brown on the other side, this will take about 5-6 minutes total. Keep stirring throughout the process.
- Transfer the browned tempeh to a plate and return the sauté pan to the stove. Pour in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and swirl it around. Add the carrot and bell pepper slices to the pan. Sauté until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the broccoli to the pan and a splash of water. Place a lid on top and cook until broccoli is slightly tender and bright green, about 3-4 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
- Add the tempeh back to the pan and pour the almond butter sauce in, stirring until everything is heated through. Add the green onions and cilantro (if using).
- Serve the almond butter tempeh stir fry immediately with cooked rice, noodles, or other carb of your choice.