Vegan Moo Goo Gai Pan

This is a simple recipe that takes you back to the days of Cantonese-style foods being the only option in town. Since Americans have acquired a tasted for the spicier Szechuan and Mandarin cuisine, Cantonese just isn’t as popular anymore. However, it is easier to make at home and doesn’t require hard-to-find ingredients. Moo Goo Gai Pan is a classic! I used tempeh in this recipe. I will say, tempeh is one of those things you might have to eat a few times before you decide whether or not you like. I actually make my own and prefer it to store-bought – I’ll do a blog about that sometime…enjoy!

Tempeh Moo Goo Gai Pan

Main Ingredients

  • 8 – 10 oz Tempeh (homemade or store-bought)
  • Small yellow onion
  • Medium head of Bok Choy
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms (what ever kind you fancy)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • Small can of slice water chestnuts
  • Small can of bamboo shoots
  • Snow peas – just a handful (not pictured)
  • Canola oil (or other light plant-based oil)


1 cup Soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp Mirn (rice wine), 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot, 1 tsp sugar

(Optional fancier sauce: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 vegan fish sauce, 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos, 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek, 1 tbsp Sesame oil1 tbsp Mirin (rice wine), 2 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot)


I like to start by marinading my tempeh in coconut aminos, Sambal Oelek, and garlic but soy sauce will work just fine. Find a marinade you like; experiment! The coconut aminos are sort of “sticky,” so they create a nice caramelization when you cook the tempeh.

First cut all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. In a wok pan (or a deep skillet), heat up just a wee bit of oil (high heat). The veggies are full of moisture, so it’s not going to burn or stick. Add the onions first and saute for a couple of minutes by themselves, then add the the rest of the vegetable, and stir to coat. Hint: Add a pinch or two of salt to draw that moisture out as they saute. As soon as they are heated thoroughly and wilted a bit, turn the heat to low and cover. While that’s cooking, thoroughly mix all the “sauce” ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Now here a good trick. Remove the lid from the vegetables and make a hole in the middle of the veggies with your whisk. You will see there is a lot of bubbling liquid in the bottom. Slowly whisk the sauce into that liquid. You will notice the liquid starts to thicken pretty quick. After you have added all the sauce, fold it into the rest of the vegetables really well and return the lid (make sure it’s a tight-fitting lid), and set the heat as low as it will go – it’ll continue to cook but not so fast that you lose the crunch of the veggies. Now take out a small skillet (whatever kind you like), coat it with a wee bit of oil OR just some cooking spray and turn that sucker on high. When it’s hot (not smoking but pretty hot), add the marinated tempeh. Cook the tempeh on each side until you get that caramelized, dark brown crust on the outside we all crave. I don’t recommend cooking the tempeh in with the veggies because it gets soggy. You’re done now! You can serve these veggies over some rice (white, brown, pink, black – you pick) or noddles topped with the gorgeous tempeh like in the pic above. Maybe throw some microgreens on top as well and add a little ghost pepper sauce if you like it hot!

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