Japanese Tempeh Skillet Recipe

This Japanese Tempeh Skillet recipe is hearty, filling and downright delicious!

Not too long ago, I signed up for a six-month, online, plant-based culinary program. It was truly the most wonderful experience I’ve had with cooking classes and I loved every moment of it! (Well, except for one pain-in-the-rear assignment. But there’s always one, isn’t there?) I learned so much!

A side view of this Japanese Tempeh Skillet shows the tempeh , carrots, purple cabbage and green onions if bright, vibrant colors against a white plate.

One of our assignments was to take a recipe from a specific cuisine and use the same main ingredients to create a recipe from a different cuisine. This was the happy result of that assignment!


  • Tempeh originated in Indonesia.
  • It’s made of soy. (Buy organic to avoid GMO’s!)
  • It’s super high in plant-based protein.
  • High in fiber and vitamins thanks to the whole soy bean being used and fermented.

This Japanese Tempeh Skillet sits on a white, rectangular plate with black chopsticks placed across it diagonally.


When you first open a package of tempeh, it looks pretty odd, and if you eat it straight out of the package, you will be sorely disappointed. Here’s what to do with tempeh:

  • Place the tempeh in a pot that fits the size of the block of tempeh, and just barely cover it with vegetable broth (typically 2-3 cups depending). Simmer for about 15 minutes to soften and flavor the tempeh. Then you can cut it and cook it.
  • Slice it into thin strips like bacon. Season and fry or bake. It’s the plant-based version of bacon!
  • Chop it into bite-sized squares (like in this recipe) and use in stir fry in place of meats.
  • Marinate larger portions to replace a piece of meat on your dinner plate.
  • Crumble into soups and stews, again to add plant-based protein and texture.

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A side view of this Japanese Tempeh Skillet shows the tempeh , carrots, purple cabbage and green onions if bright, vibrant colors against a white plate.

Japanese Tempeh Skillet

This delicious dish is wonderful by itself, but can also be served over rice or even bean thread pasta!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 175kcal


  • Large Skillet


  • 1 block organic tempeh
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (no sugar added)
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced Japanese sweet potato
  • ½ cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup diced white onions
  • 1 cup finely sliced purple cabbage
  • 4 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. minced, fresh ginger
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp. tamari


  • In a medium pot that will fit the block of tempeh, combine the tempeh and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. When done, dice into small cubes and set aside. (Discard the liquid or keep it for cooking rice to serve with this dish)
  • In a large skillet, warm the oil and then add the diced potatoes and sliced carrots. Adjust heat to medium high and cook for 10-15 minute until the vegetables have a nice, golden color to them.
  • Add in the onions and tempeh and continue sauteing for about 3 minutes. The pan will be getting pretty dry and that's okay. Do NOT add any more oil.
  • Add the cabbage, garlic, ginger and mushrooms, then give it a quick stir. The pan should be very dry.
  • Now deglaze with the mirin and tamari.
  • Stir for a few minutes to coat everything in the glaze.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1043mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10247IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

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