General Tso’s Tempeh is the plant based vegan version of the beloved Chinese American dish, General Tso’s Chicken. Skip the takeout and make this sticky, salty, and sweet dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner because it only takes about 30- 35 minutes from start to finish. This one is extra tasty and should go straight in to your regular dinner rotation!
What I love about this recipe is that it’s sticky, sweet, salty and slightly spicy. This takeout inspired tempeh recipe is great if you are extra busy during the week and need a quick but tasty dinner. Or if you want to order takeout but also want to save money (that’s me!)
Tempeh gets a bad rap from vegans and non-vegans. Something about that texture or maybe the bitter taste. If you are a self declared tempeh hater, try this saucy sticky general tso’s tempeh recipe! Maybe you were missing a delicious flavorful sauce.
I’ll also share some tips on how to reduce that bitter flavor (steam!!) and soften up that dense texture (also steam!!).
What You Will Need For This General Tso’s Tempeh
No fancy equipment in required for this General Tso’s Tempeh recipe.
- Crispy Baked Tempeh
- Fresh Garlic and Ginger
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Maple Syrup
- Chili Garlic Sauce
- Tempeh: If you’re not a fan of tempeh, simply substitute it with baked or pan-fried tofu or store-bought or homemade seitan.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Can be subbed with Tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Maple Syrup: Can be subbed with brown sugar or agave.
How to Make Crispy Baked Tempeh
- Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes to reduce the bitterness and to soften. This is an optional step.
- Toss with soy sauce until absorbed followed by nutritional yeast, salt and seasonings.
- Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy.
For full instructions and measurements visit the blog post How to Cook with Tempeh (The Ultimate Guide) and scroll to the recipe card!
How to Make General Tso’s Tempeh
Full instructions are below in the recipe card:
- Make the Crispy Baked Tempeh by visiting the guide linked above.
- Finely mince the garlic and ginger. At this point you can add whatever vegetables you enjoy. I like to add red bell peppers but sometimes I add broccoli, onions, green peppers or bok choy.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a separate small bowl. Mixing ahead of time will prevent the cornstarch from clumping in the hot pan.
- Sauté the garlic and ginger plus all those vegetables you chose and then add in the sauce. Whisk until thickened. Toss in that delicious crispy baked tempeh and stir to coat.
- Serve over rice or noodles and add toppings of choice. I love serving mine with fresh cucumbers and scallions!
Do I have to steam tempeh?
Steaming tempeh helps reduce bitterness and softens it which helps absorb marinades. It isn’t always necessary but if you’ve tried tempeh and you weren’t a huge fan of the taste and texture of tempeh, try steaming it first! Learn more in my ultimate guide!
How do I pan fry the tempeh?
Follow the instructions for my Crispy Baked Tempeh but stop before the cooking process. Then, simply heat a large pan on medium high heat and add a bit of oil to the base of the pan. Cook each side until golden brown and crisp.
My tempeh has black spots on it! Can I still eat it?
Yes! The mold grown on the tempeh has matured and simply turned black. This doesn’t affect the flavor at all. While the black spots are normal and safe on tempeh, a greenish fuzzy mold is not safe and should be discarded.
Can I use tofu instead of tempeh?
Yes! Tempeh and tofu are interchangeable as well as seitan and soy curls.
I recommend following the instructions on the recipe card in my Ultimate Guide to Cooking Tofu and then proceeding here as written below!
More Recipes You Might Like:
If You Make This Recipe:
I would greatly appreciate if you share your review in the comments below and leave a star rating. Don’t forget to add if you made any fun substitutions. Thank you!
General Tso’s Tempeh is the plant based vegan version of the beloved Chinese American dish, General Tso’s Chicken. Skip the takeout and make this sticky, salty, and sweet dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner because it only takes about 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish. This one is extra tasty and should go straight in to your regular dinner rotation!
- 1 Batch Crispy Baked Tempeh
- 1–2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced
- 3 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek or Chili Garlic Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
- Jasmine Rice or Noodles, for serving
- Thinly Sliced Green Onions, for garnish
- Make the Crispy Baked Tempeh located at the bottom of my Ultimate Guide to Tempeh.
- Finely mince the garlic and ginger. I added red bell pepper as well. Set aside.
- Whisk together the low sodium soy sauce, water, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, chili sauce, toasted sesame oil and the cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Heat a medium pan on medium-high heat and add 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant. Then, add in the sauce and allow to thicken. Toss in the crispy baked tempeh and stir until coated.
- Serve over rice or noodles and add toppings of choice. I chose cucumber, green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Keywords: General Tso’s Tempeh, General Tso’s Sauce, Vegan General Tso’s