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Orange Tempeh Lettuce Cups

These little cups are my recent favorite lunch. They're colorful, vibrant, refreshing, and packed full of flavors and nutrients! It's almost like an Asian style salad but individually wrapped in lettuce and hence hands friendly!


Tempeh is such a wonderful protein source especially if you're vegan or are eating a plant-based diet. It is made of whole soybeans, fermented for better digestion, and minimally processed. However, I haven't been a huge fan of tempeh because of its strongly earthy and sometimes bitter taste, also its hard and dense texture.


The only way I enjoy tempeh is with a strong sauce. like sweet and spicy glazed tempeh, or tempeh bacon, or as tempeh meatballs. Then I recently tried this orange tempeh from Jackie's new cookbook - the Clean Vegan cookbook and I was instantly in love! The sweet, sour, and citrusy sauce works so well with the earthiness of tempeh and it's very reminiscent of orange chicken!


I made some adjustments to the original recipe for my preference. And to complete the lettuce cups, I added rice noodles, purple cabbage, cilantro, and sesame seeds, and now you have a very well nutritionally balanced meal that you can pick up with one hand! Watch the video below for visual instructions and refer to the measurements. And don't forget to come find me on Instagram and Tiktok where I share more foodie content ^^


INGREDIENTS:

8 oz tempeh, crumbled
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, shredded
Vegetable stock as needed
4 oz rice noodles
16 - 18 butter lettuce leaves, or other lettuce of choice
1/2 cup finely shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Black and white sesame seeds

For the Orange Sauce -
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Gochujang paste
3 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoon coconut amino
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

TO MAKE:

- Crumble the tempeh with your hands into very small pieces;
- In a large nonstick pan, add some vegetable stock to just cover the bottom, add in the tempeh, cover with the lid and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, undisturbed, this creates a steaming effect to soften the tempeh and get rid of the bitter taste;
- Meanwhile, mix all orange sauce ingredients, stir well to make sure the arrowroot powder doesn't settle at the bottom;
- Add another splash of vegetable stock to the pan to deglaze, flip the tempeh, and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes till all pieces are slightly browned on all sides;
- Add in the garlic and carrots, cook till the vegetables are soft;
- Once the vegetables are soft, pour the sauce into the pan, stir and cook and bring the mixture to a simmer;
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until the sauce is thickened, turn off the heat and set aside;
- Soak the rice noodle in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes till soft but not mushy, depending on your brand of rice noodles this time could vary, so check the package instruction;
- When you're ready to assemble the lettuce cups, lay out all the leaves, add on the rice noodles first, then the orange tempeh, purple cabbage, and finally garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds;
- Serve immediately, enjoy!
 

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