This page contains some affiliate links. Please review my disclosure policy.

For a fully plant-based meal in one, whip up these crispy tempeh bowls with spicy turmeric rice topped with a tahini and tamari dressing. Filling, full of veggies and protein and a meal the whole family will love.

By now you guys know I don’t follow any specific diet. If I don’t eat something it’s because I don’t like the taste but there’s really only 3 foods that fall into that category: frozen peas, toasted buckwheat and any random obscured animal part. Yes, for real. Those are the only 3! I used to be such a picky eater but I’ve really come a long way in expanding my food preferences and opening my palate.

That being said, we try really hard to eat plant-forward in our house. What is plant-forward? Honestly, I don’t really know but in my opinion it’s letting veggies and plant-based foods be the star of your meal. We generally prefer to eat this way for two reasons: 1) it’s more affordable and 2) it’s better for the planet. That being said, I’ve tried being fully vegan and it does not work for me. Within a month I was craving a filet mignon for every meal! But we still try to keep the majority of our dinners each week vegan. And I’m not gonna lie, it requires a lot of creativity.

Luckily, I run a food + wellness blog so creativity is the name of the game! That’s why you’ve been seeing more plant-based and vegan recipes around here and that won’t be changing any time soon. These crispy tempeh bowls with spicy turmeric rice are currently topping the list of favorites!


What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional indonesian soy product. To make tempeh, soybeans are cooked and fermented then packed into a brick-like cake. Tempeh is high in both fiber and protein making it a great plant-based meat alternative. The texture is a little crunchy and the taste is tangy and nutty. It’s a great option if you want the health benefits and protein from soy but don’t like the texture of tofu.

I personally prefer the Lightlife brand but Trader Joe’s makes an affordable 3-grain version – it just isn’t gluten-free!

How to Make Crispy Tempeh

My favorite way to eat tempeh is to make it super crispy! It’s a fairly simple process but does require a few ingredients and steps.

Like most soy products, tempeh is a great sponge for flavor. I always start by marinating my tempeh is a mixture of garlic, maple syrup and tamari. I then add tapioca starch. This helps to crisp up the tempeh when you cook in on the stove-top. Feel free to sub arrowroot or cornstarch if that’s what you have.

Start by heating up a shallow pan with olive oil. Make sure it gets super hot. Add your strips of tempeh and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and dark brown around the edges. Then you’re ready to eat!

How to Make Spicy Turmeric Rice

We eat so much rice around here so I’m always trying to keep it interesting. One of my favorite ways to spice things up (pun intented!) is to add spices while cooking your rice. It really helps the flavors infuse into the rice.

My personal preference is medium grain brown rice but you can use whatever rice you prefer. Just add the spices while it’s cooking and that’s it! You have spicy turmeric rice ready to go.

Easy Substitutions:

– You can easily sub tofu for tempeh if you prefer the texture of tempeh

Swap in whatever veggies you prefer. I recommend sticking with similar textures i.e. broccoli or cauliflower for broccolini

– You can use other types of rice but adjust cooking time accordingly or substitute with a different grain

– If you don’t have or like tahini you can sub other types of nut or seed butter


Crispy Tempeh Bowls with Spicy Turmeric Rice

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

For a fully plant-based meal in one, whip up these crispy tempeh bowls with spicy turmeric rice topped with a tahini and tamari dressing. Filling, full of veggies and protein and a meal the whole family will love.

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Diet: Vegan



For the spicy turmeric rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups veggie stock (or water)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (less or more depending on spice preference)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the tempeh + veggies:

  • 1 block tempeh, cut into horizontal strips
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch (arrowroot or cornstarch work too)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced + divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head broccolini, ends trimmed
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

For the tamari-tahini sauce:

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 12 tbsp water


  1. Bring stock or water to a boil
  2. Add rice, olive oil and spices and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove top and fluff up rice.
  3. While rice is cooking, prep tempeh by combining maple syrup, tamari, tapioca starch and 1 minced garlic clove in a large bowl. Add in tempeh to coat and let sit to marinate.
  4. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add broccolini and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
  5. Add in remaining 1 garlic clove and cook for 1-2 minutes and fully coat veggies.
  6. Remove veggies from heat and add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Individually place each strip of tempeh down onto the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then using tongs flip each strip and cook for 2-3 minutes on other side. Remove from heat.
  8. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until preferred sauce consistency is reached.
  9. Divide rice into bowls and top with veggies and tempeh. Drizzle with sauce.
  10. Serve immediately or store all ingredients in separate containers for up to 3 days.

Like this recipe? Here are a few others you might enjoy:

Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. This was really delicious! Everything worked really well together. I ran out of broccoli so I used onions and mushrooms instead, definitely would recommend for a nice umami kick! I will definitely be making again.

  2. I have never commented on a recipe before but I feel compelled to say how delicious this was! It was the first time I’ve made tempeh and it far exceeded all expectations. Each item was amazing on its own and together it was this perfect symphony of flavours. I used beet tahini which made my sauce a gorgeous pink colour, to boot. After this, I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to plain rice!

    1. Erin! I’m so happy to hear this. I absolutely love this recipe and I’m thrilled you’ve enjoyed it as well!