Healthy vegan sweet and sour tempeh and noodles stir-fry

Whole Foods Plant Based Sweet-and-Sour Sauce Tempeh Stir-Fry Recipe, with Noodles and Fresh Vegetables (No-Oil)

This is a healthy, plant-based sweet and sour vegetable and tempeh stir-fry recipe.  The recipe uses commonly found ingredients, so you can make your own homemade sweet and sour sauce easily in a blender.  The sauce thickens in the heat from your wok or skillet and tastes delicious.

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If you work quickly, you can have this recipe ready in under 40 minutes.

This tempeh stir-fry recipe goes well with rice or noodles, you choose!

Easy Tempeh Dinner Recipe, with Homemade Sweet and Sour Stir-fry Sauce – instead of Tempeh Marinade

Sweet and sour sauce complements tempeh nicely.  There is a generous amount of sauce in this recipe, and it’s a familiar flavour for many.

Cooking the tempeh in the sauce replaces the need for a marinade.

What Does Tempeh Taste Like?

Tempeh can be an aquired taste for some, it has a strong, bitter flavour that takes getting used to.  Many children aren’t fans of it.

Tofu is mild tasting, tempeh is strong tasting.  Tofu is softer and more wet, tempeh is chewy and nutty in texture, tempeh can even be quite dry, almost powdery.

I am still looking for good complementary flavours for tempeh.

This recipe is nice, because the sweet sauce, with some saltyness, counters the bitter tempeh.

If you are worried you’ll have guests who might not enjoy the tempeh, you could substitute tofu, or use half tempeh and half tofu.  When you serve the meal, give the kids the tofu, and the adults the tempeh.  This is what we do in our home.

If you can get your kids accustomed to tempeh early, they will be healthier for it.

Health Benefits and Tempeh Nutrition – Vitamin K2

There are some important reasons to include tempeh in your regular diet.

Tempeh, because it is a fermented food, is a source of vitamin K2, and also provides prebiotics for our microbiome bacteria to thrive on.

T. Colin Campbell outlines 6 Facts about Vitamin K and the Plant Based Diet, pointing out that there are two types of vitamin K.

K1 is easy to get from many plants, but K2 is not.  K2 is made by bacteria, and can be found in most tempeh.

Where to Buy Tempeh?

Check the refrigerated section of your local food store.  Perhaps with the produce, or in the health food aisle.  Should be near the tofu.

Tempeh is sold in bricks usually, and must be kept refrigerated.

How to Cook Tempeh in a Stir fry?

This recipe is fat free, you can simply stir-fry sliced tempeh strips in an empty wok for a few minutes with soya sauce to brown and flavour it.  See full recipe below.

What is Tempeh made of?

Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans and usually rice. Tempeh or tempe is a traditional Javanese food (from Java Indonesia) made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. A fungus, Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae, is used in the fermentation process and is also known as tempeh starter.

What does Tempeh look like?

It looks like a nutty light brown super firm tofu:

Fresh Tempeh

Homemade Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) Sweet and Sour Sauce 

With vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, soya sauce, a sweetener, cornstarch, and a can of pineapple, it’s easy to make your own sweet and sour sauce in your blender.

Rather than eating store bought sweet and sour sauce, with strange tasting preservatives, make one with fresh ingredients and your favourite vinegar to enjoy bursting flavours.

Serve with Noodles or Rice

We ate this recently with nice wide wheat based noodles.  They were quick cooking, in about 5 minutes.  Even though they aren’t fully whole grain, I really like them, and my tummy does too, with this fiber filled meal.


vegan no-oil sweet and sour stir-fry with tempeh
WFPB Pumpkin Pie
WFPB Vegan Sweet and Sour Tempeh Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Tempeh and Vegetables Stir-Fry WFPB No-Oil

Plant based whole foods (WFPB) sweet and sour vegetable and tempeh stir-fry with a homemade sauce. Sweeter sauces go with tempeh, which can sometimes taste bitter. This sauce is a nice consistency, and you can make in your blender. Serve the stir-fry over noodles or rice.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, healthy vegan, low fat vegan
Servings 6 people
Calories 475 kcal


  • Wok or Skillet
  • Blender
  • Pasta or Rice Pot

Instructions and Ingredients

Start your favourite rice to cook (we like whole grain basamati) or see later instruction timing if you are boiling noodles.

Chop the veggies and tempeh. Put all the vegetables that need to be washed in a large colander, for rinsing. Set that aside for now.

  • 3 cups green beans about 2 large handfuls, chopped into bite size lengths
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots sliced into thin sticks
  • 1 cup zucchini sliced into 2 inch sticks
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 jalapeno fresh, or 1/8 tsp dried chili pepper. Thinly sliced rounds in half.
  • 1 cup canned pineapple pieces, reserve the juice for the sauce.
  • 350 g tempeh slice thinly, in 1.5 inch longs approx

Prep the sauce: add the following Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients to your blender:

  • 3 tbsp light soya sauce if you can find one that is for a soup base, it will be a lighter brown, and not as salty. That works well. If not, regular soya sauce is fine too.
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice from the canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup pineapple pieces canned
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger powdered, or a thumb and a half sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil if you are serving with noodles. But, don't add the noodles to the water until later.

  • 365 g wide noodles

Add the chopped Tempeh, 1/2 cup water plus 2 tbsp soy sauce to the wok, heat to med-high, stirring the tempeh to coat.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Rinse the chopped veggies with water, then add to the wok, the water will help them to not stick.

  • No oil is required. Stir frequently and cook the vegetables uncovered.

Turn on the blender and blend the sauce ingredients until smooth.

  • Taste test the sauce, make sure there is enough garlic and ginger for your liking. If it is too thick add 1/4 cup water or more pineapple juice.

Add sauce to wok - Reduce heat to medium low, stir / toss frequently.

  • Once the vegetables are half cooked (you can tell because the onions are soft, but the larger veggies are still crunchy to a fork), add the blended sauce to the wok/skillet.

This is a good time to add the noodles to the boiling water.

  • Remember to stir the noodles too.

When the stir-fry sauce starts to bubble it will thicken.

  • Cook for 5-7 more minutes after bubbling, or until the vegetables are just cooked, and still somewhat crisp.
    Do not overcook or they will be sad and soggy.

Serve over top of noodles or rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy your masterpiece!


    Tofu can be substituted for the tempeh. 


    Nutrition Facts
    Sweet and Sour Tempeh and Vegetables Stir-Fry WFPB No-Oil
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 475 Calories from Fat 81
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 9g14%
    Saturated Fat 1g6%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat 2g
    Sodium 1678mg73%
    Potassium 868mg25%
    Carbohydrates 82g27%
    Fiber 8g33%
    Sugar 28g31%
    Protein 25g50%
    Vitamin A 6151IU123%
    Vitamin C 85mg103%
    Calcium 138mg14%
    Iron 4mg22%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Keyword no-oil stir-fry, tempeh, tempeh stir-fry, vegan green beans, vegan stir-fry, wfpb sweet and sour sauce
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