Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice

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This Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice Rice recipe is a vibrantly flavorful tropical main dish that is both vegetarian and vegan.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice

Today I’m bringing you this Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice in partnership with ZICO Coconut Water; this partnership felt like such a no-brainer since coconut water is already usually part of my daily routine. I’ve stuck to ZICO since it’s one of the few brands available in my neck of the woods that doesn’t add sugar to their coconut water. Despite drinking it often as an afternoon pick-me-up, I’ve never tried incorporating coconut water into my cooking before this recipe (outside of throwing it into smoothies). I’ve made a similar version of this recipe with water before but adding ZICO’s new chilled coconut water + orange juice blend brought a deeper sweet flavor (without added sugar) that helped compliment the savory rice and veggies perfectly.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh RiceSweet and Sour Tempeh Rice Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice

Make sure you have everything prepped before starting this recipe because you’ll need to keep your full attention on the wok or skillet since everything cooks fast over high heat. This rice is a bit stickier, but more flavorful, than the normal fried rice you’d pick up at a restaurant because of the sweet and sour sauce that it is sautéed in. You could make this with tofu or eggs instead of the tempeh but I find that tempeh holds up better to the sautéing in this recipe as tofu tends to break apart easily when handled too much.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice
This Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice Rice recipe is a vibrantly flavorful tropical main dish that is both vegetarian and vegan.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut oil , divided
  • 8 ounces of tempeh , diced
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 1 sweet onion , diced
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 large tomato , diced
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used long grain brown rice)
  • 1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 cup ZICO’s Chilled Coconut Water + Orange Juice Blend
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • Cilantro , for serving
  1. In a wok or a very large non-stick skillet, heat 1-tablespoon peanut oil over medium-high.
  2. Toss in the tempeh and sauté for three to five minutes or until the tempeh has browned on most sides. Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Add remaining two tablespoons of peanut oil, pepper, and onion, and garlic to hot skillet and sauté for five to seven minutes or until the vegetables begin to blister.
  4. Add tempeh back to the wok with tomato chunks, rice, pineapple, ZICO’s Chilled Coconut Water + Orange Juice Blend, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Sauté until the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat and serve warm with cilantro.


Sweet and Sour Tempeh Rice

This post was sponsored by ZICO Coconut Water but all opinions in this post are of my own. Thank you so much for helping to support brands that keep VV thriving!



  • kaleandcaramel
    February 16, 2016

    Just gorgeous, Shelly! I love the idea of infusing tempeh, veg, and rice with a sweet and tangy coco water, and this one sounds perfect. Such a nice complement to the earthiness of tempeh. Yes please.

  • WholeheartedEats Blog
    February 16, 2016

    I’ve never seen tempeh like this before. I can’t wait to try it! And that pic of the coconut water and pineapple is so freaking gorg! Love.

  • Jennifer Farley
    February 16, 2016

    What a brilliant way to use this coconut water! I don’t cook with tempeh nearly enough, but I always love it when I do. Great recipe.

    • Shellywest
      Jennifer Farley
      February 23, 2016

      I feel that same way – tempeh is not usually my go to and I always question why since it’s so good!

  • Emma Galloway
    February 16, 2016

    This looks beautiful and so full of flavor! Yum.

    • Shellywest
      Emma Galloway
      February 23, 2016

      Thanks, Emma! The coconut water sure helps bring all the flavors out for a vibrant dish!

  • Alissa
    February 19, 2016

    Looks great! Where are you getting tomatoes that look that amazing right now? I’m really missing fresh tomatoes!

    • Shellywest
      February 23, 2016

      Our local grocery store has heirloom tomatoes all year around here – they aren’t nearly as good as the July ones but make for a pretty addition to the grey winter!

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  • Tessa
    September 11, 2016

    Delicious but needed some sort of crunch or textural difference.

  • May
    January 18, 2021

    wow,cool! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing.

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