Tempeh Turmeric Fried Rice

Rice and I have a long-standing love affair. My heart was broken when I realised that I needed to be predominantly Gluten Free because of my IBS, but I did a little research and found that I could still eat brown rice and basmati. Given it’s not the same as a giant bowl of sticky long grain Jasmine rice, but it does the trick. You could sit me down with a bowl of rice, some delicious sauce and call it a date, THAT’S how much I love rice, any kind of rice.

I would often whip up a bowl of the most basic egg fried rice for dinner when I don’t have the time to cook an entire meal. After doing this for years, I slowly started adding ingredients that had an array of nutritional benefits, such as kale, turmeric and ginger. Not only does this add a whole new range of flavour, but it made me feel a whole lot better about essentially eating a bowl of rice.

I’m attempting to move away from eggs, mainly because I’m deathly afraid of Listeriosis (yes, it’s still a thing), but also to move entirely towards a plant-based lifestyle. Instead of using eggs for this recipe we opted for something a little out of our comfort zone. Tempeh. Neither Kaeli, nor I had much experience cooking with it, but we followed the same principles we used when cooking tofu.

For those who don’t know the difference between the two – I didn’t, they’re both soy products right.
Well, yes, but they’re processed differently.


  • Traditionally tofu is made by curdling hot fresh soy milk – which is extracted from the ground soybeans after it’s been soaked – with a coagulant, such a nigari.
  • The curds are then drained and pressed into a block.
  • Tofu has a bland, and nutty flavour with a smooth and creamy texture.


  • Actually referred to as a tempeh cake. The cooked soybeans beans are fermented in a mould.
  • The fermented soybeans are pressed into a dense, chewy cake.
  • It’s a lot nuttier than tofu, with a firmer texture and stronger flavour.

Nutritionally tempeh has more protein and less fat and is generally considered healthier than tofu because it is less processed. However, please make sure you’re buying non-GMO products as soybeans are high on the GMO list of foods. After cooking tempeh for the first time, we realised it’s not for everyone. The flavour and texture is a lot more meat-like, and because it naturally has stronger flavours than tofu, using it as a neutral starting point isn’t as easy.

For this dish, however, we made sure to use tempeh as the hero ingredient, and marinaded it in strong flavours, complimenting well with flavours such as turmeric, garlic and lemon. All these ingredients are so simple to prepare and turns an ordinary bowl of rice turn into a standout dish that you’d want to share with everyone.

We used carrots and red bell peppers, but you could substitute these for any ingredients you have rolling around in your fridge such as mushrooms or courgettes. For those afraid of turmerics strong flavour, this recipe doesn’t call for much and you won’t even notice it’s flavour, but it still packs a good anti-inflammatory punch. I’ve gotten into the habit of adding turmeric to nearly all my foods because of it’s strong medicinal powers. It doesn’t have to be much, a little goes a long way.

The combination of flavours for this dish is warm, comforting and so good for you that you won’t want to turn to a standard bowl of rice again.


Serves 4

  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • 2tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 package of Tempeh, cut into 1cm Squares
  • 1/3 cup Tamari Sauce (Soy Sauce if not GF)
  • 2tsp Hot Sauce
  • 2Tbsp  Maple Syrup
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 Carrot, ribboned
  • 1 Red Pepper, finely chopped
  • A handful of Parsley, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  1. In a medium pot, add 2 cups of brown rice to 2 cups of boiling water. Add your turmeric and cook according to packaging instructions, usually about 20-30min, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold your chopped tempeh mix together your tamari sauce, ginger, half your lemon juice, hot sauce and maple syrup. Add your tempeh to this bowl and stir to cover all your tempeh in the juices. Set aside to marinate while your rice cooks, the longer the better.
  3. Place a medium-sized frying pan (that will hold all your rice) over medium heat and add your chopped red pepper, let cook for 2-3min, or until slightly cooked but still crunchy. Add your marinaded tempeh to the pan and fry until sauce has thickened and you have some nice colour on the tempeh, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Towards the end of cooking your tempeh, with 2 minutes remaining, add your ribboned carrots and kale. You want the kale to cook only slightly and want to keep the ribbons crunchy.
  5. Once your tempeh is cooked, drain your rice, and add all your rice to the tempeh pan, along with the rest of your lemon juice and stir to combine. Make sure to evenly distribute your vegetables and tempeh.
  6. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!