This one-skillet sautéed tempeh is served in a creamy, peppery, and rich mushroom coconut sauce. It's garlicky, savory, and so flavorful! One of my favorite tempeh recipes!
Temperatures are still cold, and there is nothing better than a rich, earthy, and filling one-pan meal to warm us up!
📘 What is Tempeh
Tempeh is an Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. As opposed to tofu, tempeh is prepared from whole soybeans, that are bound together by a white mold called "Rhizopus oligosporus" growing between each bean.
Tempeh is nutrient-dense, healthy, and packed with protein! With that being said, let's jump straight into the recipe!
🥣 How to Make this Tempeh Recipe
Here is what you will need:
- Tempeh - You can use soybean tempeh, black bean tempeh, or even chickpea tempeh!
- Soy sauce - For saltiness and a ton of flavor. Use tamari if you want to make this recipe gluten-free.
- Maple syrup - To balance the saltiness and the earthy flavor of the tempeh.
- Onion and garlic - These will bring a natural sweetness to the sauce.
- Mushrooms - I used a combination of different mushrooms here (king oysters, oysters, and fresh shiitakes), but it works with all kinds of mushrooms. Use what you have on hand, cremini mushrooms will work perfectly.
- Coconut milk - For creaminess, use full-fat coconut milk, or you can substitute with cashew cream.
- Ground black pepper - Its pungent and woody flavors go perfectly with the mushrooms and tempeh.
- Cornstarch - To help thicken the sauce.
Marinate the Tempeh
Start by cutting the tempeh into bite-size cubes. Then, marinate it in a combination of soy sauce, maple syrup, and garlic for at least 30 minutes. Feel free to prepare it the night before and let the tempeh marinate overnight.
Next, sauté the tempeh with the marinade until almost no liquid remains and it starts to brown.
To make the mushroom sauce, sauté onions, and garlic until the onions start to caramelize. Browning the onions will add extra flavor and natural sweetness to the sauce.
Then, add the mushrooms and sauté until cooked, about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are cooked, deglaze the skillet with soy sauce to add umami.
Finally, for richness and creaminess, pour in full-fat coconut milk. I chose to dilute the coconut milk with water; otherwise, I found the coconut to be overpowering.
Sprinkle with a generous pinch of ground black pepper, some chopped cilantro, and it's ready to serve!
- If you want to give the sauce a beige/orange color, stir in a teaspoon of saté or chili oil. You could also use annatto oil to sauté the aromatics, which will also add color without adding any spiciness.
- To make this recipe coconut-free, substitute the coconut milk with cashew cream or your favorite plant-based cream.
- If you are having trouble digesting onions, you can substitute it with shallots.
The nutty flavor of tempeh goes so well with the umami-packed mushroom sauce. Serve this tempeh over a bed of rice, or with noodles for a filling and cozy dinner!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Update January 2022: Photos and post have been improved.
Tempeh in Creamy Mushroom Coconut Sauce
- 7 ounces tempeh (soybean, black bean, or chickpea tempeh)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 and ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- optional: 1 teaspoon cornstarch diluted in 1 tablespoon water to thicken the sauce
- for topping: cilantro, parsley, ground black pepper
- Cut the tempeh into 1-inch cubes and place them in a deep plate or baking dish. In a small bowl, prepare the marinade by combining the soy sauce, maple syrup, and garlic. Pour the marinade over the tempeh and stir to coat. Let the tempeh marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Once the tempeh has marinated, heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the tempeh with the marinade and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tempeh has absorbs the marinade and starts to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and fry until golden brown. Next, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and start to brown.
- Deglaze the skillet with the soy sauce. Add the maple syrup, ground black pepper, salt, coconut milk, and water. Stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. If you want to thicken the sauce, add the diluted cornstarch.
- Add the sautéed tempeh to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve on top of rice or noodles and top with chopped cilantro!
- Tempeh and the sauce will stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Omg, yes please! This recipe sounds amazing and your photos are great.
Thanks so much Tori 🙂
This was very simple and delicious, also without the maple syrup 😋
This is so random but so delicious!!! I didn’t know what to expect but i love it!!!!! Even fed my dad who isn’t vegan and he enjoyed it!!!
Glad you liked it Alexa 😉
Another great recipe I tried and loved!
Easy and incredibly tasty.
I would love to buy a cookbook from you. Even the "worst" recipes I tried from your blog were 4 stars and really good.
If there are any plans to publish a cookbook, please let me know. 🙂
I'm so happy to hear that Ian! 🙂
No plans yet, but if I do you will know about it!
Just curious.... are the amounts correct? 2T is not a lot to marinade a pond of tempeh, and also what is it that is making the coconut so orange in the photo? I want to make this but will it turn out like the pic? Thanks!
I found this amount of marinade to be enough, but feel free to increase it if you want.
Regarding the color, the coconut milk takes the color of the sautéed mushrooms and onions, so it gives it that beige color. You should end up with the same color.
Thank you! I made this last week and it came out great! It didn't
look like your gorgeous photo, but it still tasted amazing 🙂
We had his last night and it is such a lively simple recipe yet so tasty! Served it will brown rice and steamed veggies with sesame seeds. Thanks so much Thomas!
You're welcome Rachel!
Thanks for your rating 🙂
1 pound was way too much, had to adjust all of the other ingredients as well. I think this recipe is for 8oz package of tempeh
Very yummy. I have roasted the temphe before adding it to the sauce and also added some spicy . Thank you for another great recipe, my non vegan guests really liked it. Was also the first time they tried temphe.
Awesome! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
This recipe is restaurant worthy! So good that I made the mushroom sauce just for chickpea pasta a few days later. I love the coconut flavor so I don't add any water. Will make this again and again!
Thanks Linda! 🙂 Glad you liked it!
This was absolutely delicious. My husband and son said this was the best tempeh that I've ever made. The only things I did differently was steam the cubed tempeh before marinating (it makes the tempeh less bitter and helps it absorb the marinade better) and I doubled the liquid measurements of the marinade, but kept the garlic amount the same. So good! I think we are going to be making this again this weekend. Thank you for sharing!
Oh thank you so much for your feedback Theresa! 😀
I'm so happy to hear your family liked it!
I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I did double the sauce and marinade based on other reviews. I served it with brown rice and asparagus, but I think it would also be wonderful with Brussels sprouts. My husband and daughter loved it too. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks so much for your feedback Alexandra! 🙂
Wow. This recipe surprised me in the best way. It looked delicious (your photos are gorgeous) but I was concerned there might not be enough flavor given the small amount of seasonings. But I was wrong to be skeptical - this was fantastic! Looking forward to leftovers of this for lunch. 🙂
Mushrooms add a ton of flavor 🙂 Thanks for your feedback Amber!
this looks and sounds amazing! can you please confirm if you used canned coconut milk or the kind that comes in the carton? also, unsweetened or classic? thank you!
I used canned coconut milk, unsweetened, full-fat.
Loved this even more than I thought I would! Avoiding sugar so only used about 1 tsp of maple syrup for whole recipe & roasted my mushrooms with olive oil, more garlic, herbs and lemon to give a more chewy texture and added a heap of arugula at the end - so good! I also only used about 1/2 pound of tempeh and kept sauce at same amount. So glad I gave it a try, will make again - thanks for another wonderful recipe!
Thanks for sharing your tweaks, glad to hear you liked the recipe 🙂
OMG, this recipe tastes AMAZING!! The flavors of everything went so well together! I served it over cracked Freekeh and my husband said this was one of his favorite tempeh recipes (one mine too)! Thanks for sharing this recipe, Im already looking forward to making it again!!
Thanks so much for your feedback Courtney 🙂
I made this recipe so good . Mine came out brown not sure why
Thanks for your feedback, color might change depending on the mushrooms used and type of soy sauce.
Everything I love love love in a recipe - tempeh, mushrooms, coconut!!
The only thing I changed was used only 250g of tempeh, which seemed just about right for the amount of sauce. Everything else I followed as per the recipe.
I think the creamy coconut sauce is versatile enough that it can be used in other dishes as well as a pasta sauce, which I am going to try.
This is the second recipe I have tried from you, and I will be trying more. Thank you for your amazing recipes!
Thanks for your feedback Lainey! I really appreciate it 🙂
Exactly, the sauce is also amazing with noodles!
Fantastic recipe. So tasty. Definitely a keeper.
Thanks Lin! 🙂
I’m wondering if it’s supposed to be a full 16 ounces of tempeh?? It seemed like so much tempeh and looking your pics, yours looks like about an 8 ounce package. I made it and there’s not much sauce at all once the 16 ounces soaked it all up. Good flavor sauce though!
I just re-checked the recipe, and it's actually 8 ounces of tempeh. I made a typo when doubling the recipe, sorry about that!
This was very good! Definitely a keeper in this household:) Doubled the sauce but did add the cornstarch and let it reduce down some! Served with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes and more onion and mushrooms!
So glad to hear you liked this tempeh Kelli! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
I love this recipe and have now made it a few times. That said, I cannot seem to achieve that beautiful red-ish/orange color in the photos. Do you have any suggestions? Is there a special oil you cook with or a certain ingredient that would cause that color to occur?
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!
Thanks for your feedback William. The brown/orange color comes from the mushrooms and soy sauce. It's more of a light orange/beige. You may want to try using different mushrooms, here I used some fresh shiitakes and oyster mushrooms, that might have contributed to the color of the sauce.
This is absolutely delicious! Great combination of flavors. We love it and it has become one of our favorite meals! Thank you very much for sharing it!
Thanks so much Susie!
A previous review called this “restaurant quality” and I whole heartedly agree. Delicious! I followed the advice of another review and used *less water/ more coconut milk. Thank you for putting this out into the world*~*~*
Thanks for your feedback 🙂
Thank you so much, Thomas! This was a huge hit! I love sinking my teeth into the combination of tempeh and mushrooms. I doubled the sauce and added 2 cups chopped veggies.
Thanks for your feedback Alicia! 🙂
Looks good, but curious to know what was added to make the photos looks so bright. Makes it looks Spicey. Not of the ingredients listed would do that. Filter? Frank's Red hot?
I would recommend checking the Tips section of the post. I am adding a teaspoon of saté to add spiciness and a subtle orange color.
Thanks Thomas; this was delicious! It was a quick dinner, even though I made cashew cream instead of using coconut. Also made my tempeh pieces very small for extra marinade goodness.
Thanks for your feedback and rating! I'm sure cashew cream makes a great substitute!
I am making this recipe to eat tomorrow so marinating the tempeh longer but wondered if you mined the garlic for the marinate? Your recipe didn’t say,
Yes, it is minced garlic. I updated the recipe, thanks for the heads up!
I made this with cashew cream but otherwise followed the recipe and the sauce was delicous! I mean REALLY delicous - I could eat this all the time! I did have loads of cashew cream left so will look for some other great recipes. Thanks!
Glad you liked the recipe Jen, thanks for your feedback! 🙂
I cooked the tempeh in spicy sesame oil and it was a nice touch of flavor. My dish looked browner than this but was delicious! As suggested, I used corn starch to thicken.
My only other comment is - I couldn't find info on how high the heat should be when cooking.
I can't wait to make this again!
Thanks for your feedback Tina 🙂 Medium heat should be good.
Thank you for the recipe Thomas. It was very delicious. I love tempeh.
Glad you liked the recipe, Emily!
This was really yummy! I chopped up too many mushrooms so ended up doubling the water and coconut. I could have tripped it, it was so good!
I've been cooking nothing but Vietnamese food since I found your blog a week ago. It's the best resource I've found. Glad I ventured off today. But tomorrow, I will be making pho!
I can see that! ^^ I'm happy you are enjoying the Vietnamese recipes, hope you will like Pho as well 😉
The Student-turned-Doctor @ Food for Dissertating
This was great! The flavor profile has the feel of going with everything. I had it with some noodles, and it was so, so satisfying. But I would also have loved it with rice and stir-fried veggies. It's a really versatile recipe.
I'm happy to hear you liked the sauce, thanks for your feedback!
I made this last night. It didn’t turn out very red like the picture but was still tasty. I added extra satay sauce to add a bit of spice. I also grated some ginger over the top which added some fun.
Glad you liked the recipe Alex!