Sweet and Sour Stir-fried Vegetables with Seitan or Tempeh Recipe

This sweet-and-sour stir-fry features high-protein seitan or tempeh and results in a delicious and nourishing meal




30 minutes


2 hours


  • 1 tbsp safflower or other high-heat oil, or ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1lb seitan, cut into bite-size chunks, or one 8oz package tempeh, diced
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium courgette or yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 medium ripe fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about ¾ inch thick) or one 20oz can unsweetened pineapple chunks in juice, drained and liquid reserved
  • Hot cooked rice, quinoa or noodles

For the sauce

  • ½ cup fruit juice (pineapple juice works best – use reserved juice from canned pineapple if using; mango juice or nectar is good too)
  • 2½ tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium natural soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 to 2 tsp grated fresh or jarred ginger


Heat half the oil, broth, or water in a stir-fry pan or wok. Add the seitan or tempeh and stir-fry over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil, broth, or water in the pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Turn up the heat; add the garlic, broccoli, and bell peppers and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

Stir in the courgette and stir-fry just until everything is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes longer, then stir in the tomatoes and pineapple chunks.

Combine the sauce ingredients together, stir in the sauce and cook until it thickens. Taste and adjust the sweet-sour balance with more agave and/or vinegar to your liking.

Serve at once over hot cooked grains or noodles.

Why 1lb of seitan but just 8oz of tempeh? Seitan is more moist and less dense; 1lb of tempeh would be quite intense in this dish. But if you’re a big fan of tempeh and want a higher-protein dish, go for it – use two 8oz packages.

Recipe taken from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas (HarperOne, 2014). Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. For more of Nava’s recipes, visit www.vegkitchen.com

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