Simple spinach and tempeh


A simple but highly nutritious and delicious dish.

I am always looking for new recipes that use tempeh as I love it so much. I’ve never been able to prepare it as perfectly as they do in Indonesia, but this dish does a good job of recreating deliciously crispy tempeh slices.

This is a Japanese-inspired dish though, and is adapted from one of the recipes featured in the book Plant Power by Annie Bell. In addition to finding new ways to use tempeh, I also learned how to use spinach in a different way.

Growing up in the Netherlands I got used to buying frozen spinach blocks, but having experimented with many different recipes in the past few years, I am now more a fan of using fresh spinach. However this dish brings me right back to my childhood as you shortly boil the spinach and then remove most liquid from it. So it becomes more of the soft spinach that I got used to as a child, but this time infused with a Japanese-inspired dressing.

Simple spinach and tempeh

15 minutes preparation + 15 minutes cooking — serves 2


  • 160 grams brown basmati rice
  • 200 gram tempeh
  • 500 grams fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2cm fresh ginger
  • 0.5 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame or olive oil
  • Oil
  • Optional: chili flakes


  1. Cut the tempeh block into four.
  2. Place the large tempeh pieces in a microwaveable bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave for c. 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil a liter of water in a kettle.
  4. Carefully remove the tempeh from the microwave and drain the remaining water from the bowl. Move the tempeh to a flat plate and leave to cool off.
  5. Wash the rice.
  6. Cook the rice in a pot with the preboiled water for c. 19 minutes (longer/shorter depending on package instructions). Drain and keep aside.
  7. Peel the fresh ginger and cut into quarters.
  8. Press the ginger in a garlic press to get approximately 1 teaspoon of ginger juice.
  9. Mix the ginger juice with 1 tablespoon of (sesame or olive) oil, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the sugar to create a dressing.

Preparing the spinach and tempeh

  1. Boil a liter of water in a kettle.
  2. Wash the spinach.
  3. Cut the tempeh into thin strips of 1cm.
  4. Heat some oil in a pan and once hot, add the tempeh strips. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side, add more oil if needed.
  5. Meanwhile, add the spinach to a pot with the preboiled water. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Drain the spinach in a large colander.
  7. Press out as much water as you can from the spinach using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
  8. Switch off the heat from the pan with the tempeh and add one tablespoon of dark soy sauce. Mix well.
  9. Squeeze c. 1 teaspoon of lemon juice over the tempeh.

Bringing it all together

  1. Put the spinach back in the pot and pour over the dressing. Gently mix.
  2. Serve the spinach with the fried tempeh and cooked rice. Sprinkle over some chili flakes for an extra kick.
Enjoy your meal!

Did you like this?

Leave a comment below if you made this recipe, and let me know what you think. Tips and feedback to improve the recipe are always welcome too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *