Eating a primarily plant-based diet can leave you wanting more when it comes to some cuisines. Chinese food is one of them. Except for Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Chinese veggie dishes are a bit of a drag. It’s either a ton of greasy noodles with broccoli or a soggy tofu dish. I don’t mind a good Vegetable Chow Mein, but it’s hard to come by. That being the case, I rarely enjoy Chinese food. Instead, I tend to experiment at home re-creating the great flavor of Chinese food using tempeh.
This Kung Pao Tempeh was inspired by this recipe using chickpeas. I subbed the chickpeas for tempeh and gave it my own twist. It was delicious. I find that many people think it’s the meat that makes a dish taste good. This is a prime example of how that is not always the case. It’s not the meat that makes this dish delicious, it’s the Kung Pao sauce. Master the sauce and you can have Kung Pao anything.
Tempeh is a great way to experiment with Asian-inspired flavors because it soaks up the sauce so well. If you’re looking for more recipes, try one of these. Tempeh is much more meat-like in texture than tofu and a lot healthier. It also soaks up the delicious flavor that makes Chinese food so good!
Kung Pao Tempeh
- 8 oz tempeh
- 1/2 cup tamari soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil
- 2 tsp agave nectar or honey
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch
- 2 scallions sliced
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
Place a small colander or steamer basket over a small pot of boiling water. Slice tempeh into 4 pieces and place in steamer basket. Steam for about 10 minutes.
While the tempeh is steaming, whisk together the tamari, ginger, agave, garlic, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl.
Slice the tempeh into bite size chunks and add to the marinade. Let it marinate for as long as you can (at least 10 minutes).
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add the tempeh. Cook, tossing around a bit so they don't stick, until golden brown.
While tempeh is cooking, whisk the cornstarch into the remaining marinade and add it to the pan, along with the peppers, red pepper flakes, and peanuts. Stir gently (tempeh will crumble if you don't) and serve over rice. Garnish with scallions.
Don’t forget, you can eat tons more clean food just like this on my Nourish:21 Days of Clean Eating program that starts April 13th. Learn more about it below.