Tempeh Chow Mein

This recipe has been on the back burner for a while. I shared a version of this on Instagram back in January of this year and meant to put together a recipe sooner. I find myself getting side tracked often as a food blogger. There are seriously 1000+ recipes that I have in mind and sometimes can't figure which one to do next. All in due time! Fortunately, the time has come and I'm happy to add this to the recipe collection. It's a classic dish and a very welcome addition! It's absolutely delicious and I polished the whole thing off by the end of the day...yes, it was lunch and dinner...no leftovers. ;) You can keep this simple or go all out with a few extra vegetables if you like. If you're not a fan of tempeh, omit it altogether or add some cubed tofu instead. This simple chow mein can be ready for the dinner table in less than 30 minutes for your enjoyment.

Tempeh Chow Mein

For the tempeh, I used this three grain tempeh that is available locally. Tempeh is a great source of protein for the plant based eater. It contains 19 grams of protein per serving (4 oz.) and 13 grams of fiber. It's also an excellent source of manganese, copper, phosphorus and vitamin B2. If you can't find tempeh, this recipe will do just fine without it. For me, I have added the tempeh primarily for protein purposes but I do love the flavor as well. Tofu would work here too, just be sure to use extra firm so it doesn't fall apart while cooking. Or omit the tempeh/tofu altogether and make yourself a nice protein shake or smoothie later. 

The noodles I chose are a Japanese version of Chinese egg noodles, but without the eggs. Chuka soba noodles are great for soups, stir fry’s and cold noodles salads. They cook up fast, about 4 minutes, making things go a little quicker. They shouldn't be confused with the Japanese soba noodles that are tan colored, straight and made from buckwheat flour. Ingredients for the shuka soba noodles are: wheat, water, salt & turmeric. Those looking to go gluten free should use rice noodles or 100% soba noodles. If you're not gluten intolerant feel free to use any thin spaghetti noodles or vegan chow mein noodles. The chuka soba and chow mein noodles can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store, at your local Asian grocery stores or purchased online.

Tempeh Chow Mein

The vegetables here can vary to suit your taste. You can add in bean sprouts, sliced shitake mushrooms, green onions, broccoli florets, etc. Lots of cabbage is a must for me. I could just as well use a whole head of cabbage in this recipe but decided to only call for 1/2 head. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. 

Tempeh Chow Mein

Super easy to put together! Cook your noodles, rinse and set aside.

Tempeh Chow Mein

 Next, start your stir fry by first adding the tempeh, celery, onion and some of the sauce. Cook a few minutes. Then add the carrots and cabbage, cook until everything is softened, add the noodles, remaining sauce and toss well. Continue cooking until noodles are warmed through amd serve.

Tempeh Chow Mein

Tempeh Chow MeinTempeh Chow Mein

Once served, I topped with sliced scallions, red pepper flakes and cilantro. I'm a huge fan of these last ingredients but feel free to omit anything you don't care for. Toasted sesame seeds would be a great topper too! 

Tempeh Chow Mein

Tempeh Chow Mein

  • 8 oz. package chow mein noodles or thin spaghetti noodles
  • 2 (8oz.) packages tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 4 cups), shredded
  • 1 large celery stalk, sliced diagonally
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, optional
  • 1- 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, grated or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • mineral salt and pepper to taste (white pepper would be great here)

If using chuka soba or chow mein noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil, add noodles, reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside. If using other noodles, cook as directed on package.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce, set aside.

In a large wok, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat, add tempeh, crumbling it between your fingers, onion and celery, cook 1 minute. Add a couple tablespoons of sauce mixture, continue to cook for another 2 -3 minutes. Add in cabbage and carrot, stir to mix, cover and cook another 5 - 7minutes, stirring occasionally until cabbage has shrunk down and softened. Add in noodles and remaining sauce, toss to coat, continue cooking until noodles are warmed through. Add additional tamari or other seasoning to taste.

Serve warm topped with scallions, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Sesame seeds and/or chili sauce would also be great!

Serves four.


Feel free to use only one package of tempeh instead of two. The two packages does serve four but one package will still add a fair amount of protein to each serving.

I love the added sweet from the maple syrup using 2 tablespoons. Feel free to use 1 tablespoon instead of 2 and add more vinegar or tamari in its place.



  1. I've only tried tempeh one other time. My husband and I both loved it, but I haven't used it since. This recipe is definitely motivating for me to make seitan again. I've always been a chow mein fan. I love its diversity. It doesn't matter what combination of vegetables you use, it always turns out very satisfying. I'm looking forward to trying this one. Thanks. :)

    1. You know, I have not yet tried making seitan at home. I've had it at Native Foods but have yet to bring it into my home. I need to give that a try too. Thanks for the inspiration.

      I love a good chow mein too and agree that any combo of veggies is divine! I hope you love this version! Cheers :)

  2. What a fantastic recipe, love chow mein!

  3. Made it last night for dinner, using only one package of tempeh and GF noodles. Very good, and this will come in handy on the nights I'm crazing Chinese takeout. Thanks!

    1. It's perfect for thos nights, I know the feeling and this hits the spot!

  4. LOVE this recipe. Keep coming back to it. We double the sauce though, cause we're saucy ;) we cube up some organic tofu and flash grill it with Aminos and maple syrup. Thanks for such a yummy recipe!

    1. Extra saucy sounds great! Your tofu sounds delicious too. Glad your loving the recipe! Cheers :)