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seasonal indonesian-inspired tempeh & veggie stir-fry

by Jackie Newgent  |  December 21, 2017  |  5 Comments

Seasonal Indonesian-Inspired Tempeh Stir-Fry

I played a little party game when creating this recipe. Fun, fun! This month’s Recipe Redux theme was “Grab a Book and Cook”—and the goal was to makeover a recipe found on any combination of page “2017.” So, I grabbed my nearest cookbook, which was the 2005 edition of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries, and turned to page 102. There I found the instructions for Stir-Fried Mushrooms, Spring Leaves and Lemon Grass. That provided loose inspiration for this “tasteovers by jackie” recipe.

I transformed the concept of a spring stir-fried veggie dish into a seasonally-versatile stir-fried vegan entrée. You’ll find an Indonesian flavor twist as well as the addition of tempeh for a plant-based protein boost.

I used to love takeout stir-fry. Now, I’m way more into it when I make it myself. And I’m way into this Meatless Monday-friendly stir-fry right now. Hope you will be, too. Happy 2018!

seasonal indonesian-inspired tempeh & veggie stir-fry

Seasonal Indonesian-Inspired Tempeh Stir-Fry

Yield: 4 servings (1 1/2 cups stir-fry each)


Stir-Fry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small hot chili pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup organic applesauce with no added sugar (or 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons fruit-sweetened ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons naturally-brewed tamari (reduced-sodium or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, large dice
  • 4 cups fresh seasonal veggies or veggie mixture, such as broccoli florets
  • 2 large or 3 medium red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded, julienned
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish



  1. To make the Stir-Fry Sauce: Fully heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the hot pepper and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the applesauce, ketchup, tamari, vinegar, ginger, and broth and reduce sauce mixture to slightly thicken to desired consistency, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside. (Note: This stir-fry sauce can be made in advance and chilled.)
  2. To make the Stir-Fry: Fully heat the avocado oil in a wok over high heat. Add the tempeh and onion and stir-fry until the tempeh is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the seasonal veggies (such as broccoli), bell peppers, and garlic and stir-fry until the vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture, scallions, and peanuts and stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the stir-fry to a large bowl—or serve directly from the wok. Generously garnish with cilantro. Enjoy as is or with cooked brown rice. Or try with Sticky Coconut Couscous (see recipe).


Per serving (without Sticky Coconut Couscous): 340 calories, 20g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 860mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 6g dietary fiber, 10g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 19g protein


Sticky Coconut Couscous

  • 1 cup dry whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 cup coconut milk, or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (optional)
  1. Prepare the couscous in boiling water according to package directions.
  2. Immediately stir in desired amount of coconut milk and sea salt. Fluff with a fork. (Note: For a stickier consistency, stir in additional coconut milk.)
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, if desired, and serve. Makes 4 servings.


The “Before” Version

Loosely inspired by Stir-Fried Mushrooms, Spring Leaves and Lemon Grass (from pages 100 & 102 in the 2005 edition of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.


Tasteover Tips

  • Get sweetness naturally in an Asian-style sauce by using unsweetened applesauce
  • Add a seasonal touch whenever possible, giving a recipe new life throughout the year
  • For a protein boost, try tempeh to keep a stir-fry 100% plant-based
  • For extra texture, finish with nuts for crunch
  • For extra aromatic goodness, finish with fresh cilantro leaves




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  1. I love love love reading all of Nigel Slater’s cookbooks, but am not sure I’ve actually made a recipe from any of them. What a great way to make a “tasteover!” 🙂

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I’m totally with you re: Nigel Slater’s cookbooks. They do inspire me, even if I don’t actually make his recipes!