Smoky Tempeh Burrito Bowls

Tempeh and I have a rocky relationship. By that, I mean I try to like it, but I can’t.

Recent changes have been made, but (big but). It’s great news! It’s good news, guys!

I tried mixing tempeh into other things and steaming it, but the texture or taste was not to my liking. When I asked my friend Laura about her favorite method, she said sauteing.

It was on my list to try, but I am so happy she suggested it. Steaming your tempeh (in a basket) for 10-15 minutes is the key, as I now know. Then sauté and season. The seasoning is a 5-ingredient, smoky red chipotle paste.

Tempeh – Origin

Fun fact: Tempeh was first produced in Indonesia, either Central Java or East Java, around 1800.

Tempeh is fermented soy made from dehulled, cooked soybeans. They are then inoculated, packed, and incubated until the mycelium binds the beans together.

This fermentation process is a bit strange, but it makes nutrients available to the body. Tempeh is also rich in prebiotics, which are known to improve gut health. The iron and calcium in tempeh are also great for your health.



  • 1 cup brown rice uncooked + water to cook
  • If the beans are not salted, you can add some salt.
  • Cumin powder, 1/2 tsp


  • Ten ounces of tempeh (GF*/cubed, if you want to be sure).
  • 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil


  • 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • Half a large white onion, diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced (each clove yields 1 Tbsp).
  • One 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Add 1 Tbsp of adobo to 1 chipotle (in a can // or add 1 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp, depending on your preferred spice).


  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Red cabbage thinly sliced
  • Hot sauce


  • Start using the method from Saveur for fluffy brown rice (not at all sticky)! Start it now for a 45-minute meal.
  • Add 1 inch of water in a large pan and bring to a simmer. Insert the steamer basket, and then top it with the tempeh. Cover and steam for 15 minutes. This will soften the texture and, most importantly, remove some of the bitterness. Once steamed, cube the potatoes and set them aside.
  • Heat a medium metal or cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add oil and onions once the skillet is hot. Cook with frequent stirring until slightly browned and soft – about 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, adobo, and chipotle. Heat until bubbly. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3-4 mins.
  • Pour a smooth, completely homogeneous sauce, and transfer the sauce to a high-speed blender. If you prefer a chunkier texture, pulse the sauce and leave a little surface. (I like mine smooth). Add a pinch of adobo or salt to the sauce if you want it hotter.
  • Stirring occasionally will help to thicken and intensify the sauce.
  • Add black beans into a small pan and heat on medium heat. Reduce heat once it starts to bubble, then add cumin and a pinch of sea salt and stir. Then, reduce the heat to low/simmer. To get a refried bean texture, use the back of a spoon to mash until it becomes thick and paste-like (I left my beans whole).
  • Once hot, add oil and the cubed (steamed) tempeh to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed (steamed tempeh) and crisp and brown all sides. This should take about 6-8 minutes in total. Add the tempeh to the sauce and gently stir to coat.
  • Cover the pot with a lid to let flavors blend for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer on low heat until ready to serve.
  • Divide the rice, beans, and vegetables into 2-3 bowls. Add lime juice and cilantro to garnish (optional).
  • Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

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