Home » Easy Weeknight Dinners » TEMPEH CHOW MEIN


Tempeh Chow Mein – Made with simple veggies, protein rich tempeh, noodles and flavorful sauce, this quick and easy chow mein recipe is a wonderful vegan version of a classic Asian side dish or main meal!

top down view of bowl with serving of healthy tempeh chow mein with items surrounding.

Forget chicken, beef or shrimp, this vegan Tempeh Chow Mein is loaded with all the protein (and fiber) you need! Plus, there’s tons of texture, flavor, and will surely be a new favorite!

It’s a classic dish and a very welcome addition to the recipe collection! It was so good in fact that I polished the whole thing off by the end of the day. Yes, it was lunch and dinner!

You can keep this quick and easy chow mein simple or go all out with a few extra veggies if you like. This simple chow mein recipe is quick, easy and on the table in 30 minutes!

top down view of ingredients used to make tempeh chow mein recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this easy recipe, tempeh and veggies are stir-fried with a flavorful sauce and tossed with cooked noodles for a hearty and delicious chow mein that’s perfect for lunch, dinner or meal prep!

Here is a bit about what you’ll need:

The Tempeh

I used a three grain tempeh that is available locally. Tempeh is a great source of protein for the plant based eater. It contains 19 grams of protein per serving (4 oz.) and 13 grams of fiber. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, copper, phosphorus and vitamin B2. If you can’t find tempeh, this recipe will do just fine without it. For me, I have added the tempeh primarily for protein purposes, but I do love the flavor as well.

The Noodles

The noodles I chose for this chow mein are a Japanese version of Chinese egg noodles, but without the eggs. Chuka soba noodles are great for soups, stir fry’s and cold noodles salads. They have minimal ingredients and cook up fast, about 4 minutes, making things go a little quicker. Spaghetti noodles or vegan lo mein or chow mein noodles will work too. Those looking to go gluten-free can use rice noodles. The chuka soba and chow mein noodles can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store, at your local Asian grocery stores or purchased online.

The Vegetables

The veggies for this chow mein recipe can be varied to suit your taste by adding in bean sprouts, sliced shiitake mushrooms, green onions, broccoli florets, etc. Lots of cabbage is a must for me. I could just as well use a whole head of cabbage in this recipe but decided to only call for 1/2 head. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.

The Sauce

The stir fry sauce is super simple with just tamari, pure maple syrup, optional rice wine vinegar, garlic, and ginger.

top down view showing the process of adding veggies to stir fry to make chow mein.

How To Make Tempeh Chow Mein

  • Cook the noodles.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce, set aside.
  • Next, stir fry the tempeh and onion for 2 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, celery and cabbage.

top down view of stir fry sauce added to veggies in wok.

  • Add 3/4 of the stir fry sauce and cook for 5 – 7 minutes.

top down view of noodles added to chow mein vegetables.

  • Add the noodles (shown above) and toss well, cooking until noodles are warmed through (shown below).

And now your chow mein is ready!

top down view of freshly made batch of tempeh chow mein in wok.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: This Tempeh Chow Mein is freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link). You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock (remove as much air as possible before zip locking). Let thaw before reheating.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through, adding a little tamari so the noodles don’t stick to the pan. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.

Serving Suggestions

Served as a side or main dish, this savory chow mein is versatile and pairs well with a variety of other flavors. Here are a few of my favorite options:

side angle view showing chow mein being held with chop sticks.

More Easy Asian Recipes!

If you try this tempeh chow mein recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

Tempeh Chow Mein is an easy recipe that’s ready in about 30 minutes! If you’re not a fan of tempeh, this can easily be made into a vegetable chow mein by adding more vegetables.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Entree, Asian
  • Method: stir fry
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Asian


  • 812 oz. package chow mein noodles or spaghetti noodles
  • 2 (8oz.) packages tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or 1/4 cup water for water saute
  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 4 cups), shredded
  • 1 large celery stalk, sliced diagonally
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 small white onion, sliced


  • 1/4 cup tamari, coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, minced or grated
  • mineral salt + pepper to taste (white pepper would be great here)


Noodles: If using chuka soba or chow mein noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil, add noodles, reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside. If using other noodles, cook as directed on package.

Stir-fry sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.

Tempeh + onion: In a large wok, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat, add tempeh, crumbling it between your fingers, and onion, cook 2 minutes.

Remaining veggies: Add the celery, cabbage, carrot, and pour 3/4 of the sauce over top. Stir-fry, mixing well, for another 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until cabbage has shrunk down and softened.

Add noodles: Add the noodles and remaining sauce to the veggies, toss to coat, continue cooking until noodles are warmed through. Season to taste with more tamari or other seasonings.

Serve: Serve warm in individual bowls and top with optional scallions, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Sesame seeds and/or chili sauce (sriracha) would also be great!

Serves 4 generously, or 6 – 8 smaller portions

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days, in a covered container. For longer storage, keep leftovers in the freezer for up 2 – 3 months in freezer safe containers. Let thaw before reheating.


Feel free to use only one package of tempeh instead of two. The two packages does serve four but one package will still add a fair amount of protein to each serving.

I love the added sweet from the maple syrup using 2 tablespoons. Feel free to use 1 tablespoon instead of 2 and add more vinegar or tamari in its place.

Updated: Tempeh Chow Mein was originally published in April 2014. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in February 2020. Recipe has stayed the same and is still delicious!

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  1. This was incredible!! My partner and I were in love at first bite. He’s a Panda Express fanatic, so I wasn’t sure how the two would compare in his eyes, but he said this recipe was even better than Panda’s chow mein! (I would 100% agree, too!) We devoured our servings & went back for seconds so quickly!

  2. I just made this and devoured 2 bowls! It was so nice! I used cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and broccoli as the veggies as I didn’t have any celery on hand. Thanks for the awesome recipes!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Sounds delicious! Glad you loved this! :)

  3. LOVE this recipe. I've made it more times than I can count. The sauce is delicious and the recipe adapts to whatever ingredients we happen to have in the kitchen. Thanks so much!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Wonderful to hear you love this recipe! Thank you for taking time to comment, it truly makes my day! :)

  4. telena helotova says:

    do not use any soy products. they are genetically modified and japanese wiomen feed it to their hudsbands when they are tired of his sex with him.

  5. Leah Musgrove says:

    LOVE this recipe. Keep coming back to it. We double the sauce though, cause we're saucy ;) we cube up some organic tofu and flash grill it with Aminos and maple syrup. Thanks for such a yummy recipe!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Extra saucy sounds great! Your tofu sounds delicious too. Glad your loving the recipe! Cheers :)

  6. Made it last night for dinner, using only one package of tempeh and GF noodles. Very good, and this will come in handy on the nights I'm crazing Chinese takeout. Thanks!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      It's perfect for thos nights, I know the feeling and this hits the spot!

  7. Cheri Savory Spoon says:

    What a fantastic recipe, love chow mein!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Thank you!

  8. Laura Black says:

    I've only tried tempeh one other time. My husband and I both loved it, but I haven't used it since. This recipe is definitely motivating for me to make seitan again. I've always been a chow mein fan. I love its diversity. It doesn't matter what combination of vegetables you use, it always turns out very satisfying. I'm looking forward to trying this one. Thanks. :)

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      You know, I have not yet tried making seitan at home. I've had it at Native Foods but have yet to bring it into my home. I need to give that a try too. Thanks for the inspiration.

      I love a good chow mein too and agree that any combo of veggies is divine! I hope you love this version! Cheers :)

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