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lebanese tempeh and bell pepper rice bowl

by Jackie Newgent  |  January 5, 2022  |  3 Comments

bowl with lebanese tempeh and bell pepper and rice

My comfort food is middle eastern (or at least middle eastern-inspired) cuisine, like this delicious Lebanese tempeh and bell pepper rice bowl. That’s mostly because it brings back so many wonderful memories of my Lebanese mother and my favorite dishes that I grew up eating.

mixture of lebanese tempeh and bell peppers

However, this aromatic dish is not traditional. And my mother would have never ever put tempeh into any of her Lebanese dishes. But all of the main flavors here – cinnamon, lemon, and mint — are exactly what she used and taught me how to cook with. I adore this delightful flavor trio.

skillet with lebanese tempeh and bell peppers

How to make

There are three parts to this middle eastern-style bowl of yum: the sauteed tempeh and bell peppers; the minty lemon rice; and the optional toppings. (Hint: You can prepare the rice and optional toppings in advance, if you like.)

To make it, you’ll sauté a mixture of tempeh, bell peppers (choose any color!), olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper until browned. It’s kind of like a stir-fry.

bowl with lebanese tempeh and bell pepper

You’ll serve that over cooked brown rice which you’ll flavor with olive oil, lemon juice, pan-toasted pine nuts (for nutty crunch!), chopped mint, and sea salt. Then you’ll squirt this bowl of goodness with lemon wedges for bright flavor and garnish if you like, such as with a sauce, fresh mint leaves, extra pine nuts, or pomegranate arils.

bowl with lebanese rice

Sauce it up

While you don’t need to top your lebanese tempeh and bell pepper rice bowl with sauce, I recommend it for bonus scrumptiousness. My favorite sauce to drizzle on top is lemony-tahini sauce. You can find one version of it HERE. Though for the one you see here, I went with zhoug (spicy cilantro sauce). If you’re lucky, you may be able to find zhoug at a local market. Otherwise, it’s pretty simple to make for drizzling onto this bowl of goodness. Think of the sauce kind of like a cheese-free, nut-free pesto that’s based on cilantro instead of basil. See the NOTES section for my simplified recipe.

bowl with lebanese tempeh and bell pepper and rice with zhoug

And there’s one more saucy topping option you might enjoy … a plant-based tzatziki. Check THIS out for inspiration. Mmm!

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bowl with lebanese tempeh and bell pepper and rice

lebanese tempeh and bell pepper rice bowl

  • Author: Jackie Newgent
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Category: Main dish
  • Cuisine: Middle eastern
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

My comfort food is middle eastern (or at least middle eastern-inspired) cuisine, like this delicious Lebanese tempeh and bell pepper rice bowl. That’s mostly because it brings back so many wonderful memories of my Lebanese mother and my favorite dishes that I grew up eating.

However, this aromatic dish is not traditional. And my mother would have never ever put tempeh into any of her Lebanese dishes. But all of the main flavors here – cinnamon, lemon, and mint — are exactly what she used and taught me how to cook with. I adore this delightful flavor trio.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2/3 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 8 ounces organic tempeh, cut into at least 16 cubes*
  • 2 large bell peppers, any colors, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, pan-toasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • Optional toppings: zhoug (see Notes below), plant-based tzatziki, or tahini sauce; mint leaves or sliced scallions; pan-toasted sliced almonds or more pine nuts; pomegranate arils

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together the tempeh and bell peppers with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until evenly coated. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the cinnamon, black pepper, and cumin and toss to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large deep skillet or wok over medium-high. Add the tempeh-pepper mixture and sauté until tempeh and peppers are browned (caramelized), about 8 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Stir the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, pine nuts, and chopped mint into the cooked rice.
  5. In a large serving bowl or three individual bowls, serve the tempeh and peppers over the rice. Squirt with the lemon wedges and garnish as desired.

Notes

*PREFER AN ALTERNATIVE TO TEMPEH? Try extra-firm organic tofu cubes, breaded plant-based chick’n nuggets, or mild Italian plant-based sausage “coins.”

WANT TO TOP YOUR BOWL WITH ZHOUG? Here’s how I generally make it. Blend together 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, 2 large garlic cloves, 1 small jalapeno with seeds, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and several pinches of ground cardamom to taste, while drizzling in extra-virgin olive oil (at least 1/2 cup) until you reach desired consistency. You won’t use all of this zhoug for this Lebanese bowl – but you will want to use it regularly on other dishes!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 480
  • Sugar: 5g includes 0g added sugars
  • Sodium: 790mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: lebanese cuisine, tempeh, plant-based bowl, vegan bowl, vegetarian bowl, plant-based comfort, grain bowl

Would you like to try other Lebanese or middle eastern-inspired recipes? Then please enjoy my lebanese breakfast scramble with pita chips (see recipe HERE), lebanese salad with lemony tahini dressing and za’atar pita chips (see recipe HERE), toasted stuffed hummus and roasted cucumber pita sandwich (see recipe HERE), and grilled eggplant gyros with fresh tzatziki (see recipe HERE).

bowl with lebanese tempeh and bell pepper and rice with fork

 

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  1. Your blog is impressive, thanks to the quality of your recipes & other content.
    Thanks for sharing this content. This was very helpful for me. i love indian spices.