BBQ tempeh bowls with sunflower seed ranch come together on one sheet pan for vegan-friendly weeknight cooking. Today, I’m introducing you to the bowl that has it all:
Firstly, protein: sometimes rather elusive in plant-based meals, however a key player in satiety.
Secondly, probiotics: important for gut health and overall immunity.
Thirdly, heaps of fiber and micronutrients: we’ll get more into the specifics later, however, just know they are bountiful.
Lastly, a creamy and craveable ranch dressing: go ahead and double up on the batch and thank me later.
And incase all of that doesn’t sell you, it’s also weeknight-approved and holds up impeccably well for leftovers (in other words, you’ll be winning weekday lunch this week).
What Is Tempeh?
In short, tempeh is a plant-based protein made with fermented soybeans and a mix of grains. If you haven’t given tempeh a chance yet, this is a great gateway recipe to welcoming it into your plant-lovin’ life. In terms of texture, most would describe it as nutty, chewy, and certainly hearty. And, because tempeh undergoes less processing than its soy-based cousin, tofu, it’s able to retain many of the nutritional properties of soybeans, including high-quality protein and fiber, as well as calcium and iron.
Tempeh is an excellent stand-in for animal protein because of its firm texture and adaptable flavor. In addition, the probiotics make it easier to digest than some other soy products, such as tofu.
How Do I Cook Tempeh?
Tempeh is extremely versatile, so it can take to many cooking techniques, such as steaming, braising, baking, or sautéing. Since the flavor can be rather bland on its own, tempeh takes well to a bold sauce or marinade (for example, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, or anything Asian-inspired). For this recipe, we’re baking cubes of tempeh to enhance its natural nutty flavor.
How Do I Make Sunflower Seed Dressing?
In case you had any doubt, sunflower seeds are certainly more than just bird food. For instance, when soaked and blended, these nutrient-rich seeds transform into a rich, creamy base for salad dressing. With bright flashes of lemon, an aromatic boost from garlic and onion powder, plus a liberal deployment of fresh herbs, this dressing is miles ahead of anything sold on the shelves.
Additionally, it’s brimming with heart-healthy unsaturated fats and is allergen-friendly (so, free of dairy, gluten, soy, and nuts).
Finally, let’s discuss the veggie components. Here, we’ve got a mashup of roasted sweet potatoes and red onion to lend sweetness and above all, balance the smoky BBQ sauce and earthy greens. Otherwise, you could certainly use butternut squash, halved Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower.
As long as some variation of this bowl comes to fruition in your near future, all will be right in the world. Lastly, if you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your bowls of bliss!
Other Healthy Tempeh Recipes, because you’re bound to love it now:
- 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato (about 2 medium)
- ½ red onion, cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 (8-oz.) block tempeh, cut evenly into cubes
- 4 Tbsp. store-bought (or homemade) BBQ sauce
- 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- **Sunflower Seed Ranch**
- ⅓ cup organic unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh chives
- First, place sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with hot water; let soak for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Spread sweet potato on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, and ¼ tsp. each of the salt and black pepper; bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven, toss sweet potatoes and push to one side. Add red onion to center of pan, and cubed tempeh to opposite end of pan. (*Note: try to avoid any overlap to encourage browning.) Toss each with 1 Tbsp. of remaining olive oil. Season red onion with remaining ¼ tsp. salt and black pepper; place back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and toss sweet potato and red onion. Brush tempeh with 2 Tbsp. of the BBQ sauce, gently tossing to coat all sides. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush tempeh with remaining 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce.
- Meanwhile, drain sunflower seeds and transfer to a high speed blender. Add remaining Sunflower Seed Ranch ingredients with the exception of dill and chives. Blend on high speed until creamy; transfer to a bowl and stir in dill and chives.
- Lastly, place kale in a large bowl and add one third of the dressing; use your hands to massage dressing into kale until leaves begin to soften and become well-coated. To serve, divide kale evenly into each of 3 bowls, and top with roasted sweet potato, red onion, and BBQ tempeh. Drizzle remaining dressing evenly overtop.