This orange tempeh is definitely the most authentic vegan substitute I’ve ever made for orange chicken. There’s layers and layers of delicious orange-soy glaze baked into thin strips of tempeh. Even better, it requires just six natural ingredients like fresh orange juice, and only takes about 30 minutes to bake the amazing glaze into the tempeh, which is the perfect amount of time to cook up some rice and slice some green onions for an orange tempeh rice bowl.

I know a lot of you aren’t huge fans of tempeh. I mean, raw tempeh has a super boring & strange taste all by itself. But seriously, this is the recipe to change your opinions forever. Baked until soft and moist, with a sweet / salty / tangy sauce like this, it’s really hard not to love.

Makes 8 oz tempeh

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Prep: Preheat the oven to 350º F

Step One

Begin warming a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat and add in all the ingredients except the tempeh and cornstarch: orange juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, and minced garlic (and the cayenne, if you’d like it to be spicy). Once warm, add in just a teaspoon of cornstarch to start and stir well until the cornstarch has dissolved. Stir regularly and give this about 10 minutes over medium heat to reduce and thicken.

If you find that the glaze isn’t thickening at all, do two things: add another teaspoon of cornstarch and turn up the heat. Stir constantly for one minute over high heat and the cornstarch will have a much greater effect. Then, turn the heat back down and continue to simmer.

Step Two

Meanwhile, slice the tempeh. I think it’s important to do this right, because you want fairly thin pieces of tempeh (about 1/8 an inch?) that have a lot of surface area to hold the glaze. You can cut the block into thin strips, or (like I did) you can slice the whole block lengthwise a few times to create a few wide thin pieces.

(At this point you can also start cooking some rice if you’d like to make an orange tempeh rice bowl)

Step Three

When the oven is hot and the tempeh is sliced, place the tempeh on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle half of the sauce over top (it’s okay if the glaze isn’t super thick – it will continue to thicken in the oven). Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, then remove, flip the slices, and coat with a little more sauce. Continue to do this for about 20-25 minutes of total cooking time – this extra attention is totally worth it because the glaze will build up over layers to bake in so much more flavor. When both sides are started to become more golden than orange, remove from the oven and serve, preferably with rice, sesame seeds, and green onions.