Easy Vegan Sweet-and-Sour Tempeh

Sweet-sour tempeh with red uchi kuri squash and rice

Westend61/Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
309 Calories
13g Fat
41g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 309
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 822mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 10g
Calcium 81mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sweet-and-sour dishes are always popular at Chinese restaurants, but they typically contain meat, poultry, or seafood and are out for vegetarians and vegans. This recipe is the perfect solution.

It's made with tempeh simmered with pineapples and peppers in an easy homemade sauce of tangy vinegar and sugar. Serve it on its own or over rice, Israeli couscous, or a  whole grain

This is just one recipe. There are so many more ways to use versatile tempeh—tacos, teriyaki, chili, gyros, barbecue—as a meat substitute, you'll never get bored.


  • For the Tempeh:
  • 1 (8- to 10-ounce) package tempeh (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pineapple chunks (with juice reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (cider or white)
  • 1 tablespoon ​cornstarch​
  • 1 green or red bell pepper (cut into 1-inch squares)
  • 1 yellow or white onion (chopped)

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Tempeh

  1. Gather the tempeh ingredients.

  2. In a skillet, braise the tempeh in vegetable broth and soy sauce for 10 minutes to soften it.

  3. Remove from pan and reserve the braising liquid for the sweet-and-sour sauce.

  4. In a separate skillet, saute the tempeh in olive oil over medium-high heat until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the sauce ingredients.

  2. Combined the reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch with the reserved braising liquid in a saucepan, stirring to mix well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring constantly.

  3. Add the peppers and onions to the sauce and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened.

  4. Reduce the heat, add the braised tempeh cubes, pineapple chunks, and simmer until heated through.

  5. Serve over rice, another whole grain, or couscous.

More About Tempeh

Tempeh is a soy food that is high in protein and is often used as a meat substitute. Although tempeh is made from soy, it has an entirely different taste than tofu. Tempeh has a  nutty flavor before taking on the flavor of the dish it's used in whereas tofu is typically tasteless before taking on other flavors. 

Tofu crumbles easily and tempeh has a firm texture. The soybeans in tempeh are kept whole and pressed together while those in tofu are ground. If you are avoiding soy, tempeh also can be found made with black beans or chickpeas.

Most tempeh brands have added grains, such as barley, and are therefore not gluten-free, so make sure you check the label or make your own tempeh.