3 Servings

The easiest way to organize this dish is to think of it in three parts—sauce, topping, noodles— that can be prepared separately and assembled at will. Even though there are a lot of moving parts, since each component can be made in advance it is still very manageable. The final presentation is worth the effort, and it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.

But the real beauty of this recipe is its versatility. If you don’t want to make a restaurant-worthy composed entrée, each part can just as easily stand alone to be used in different configurations that are less time consuming and equally delicious. Think tempeh crumbles to top a salad or sweet potato, peanut sauce over rice and vegetables, cold noodles with cucumbers and cilantro—the possibilities are manifold.

For Peanut Sauce:

2 T. canola or sunflower oil

1½-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ C. creamy peanut butter

2 T. tamari sauce

1 T. sambal oelek*

Juice of 1 lime (2 T.)

1 tsp. honey

1/3 C. hot water

For Tempeh Crumbles:

Juice of 1 lime (2 T.)

1 T. tamari sauce

1 tsp. sambal oelek

1 tsp. honey or sweetener of choice

1 T. water

1 8-oz. package tempeh, crumbled into chick pea-to-lima bean-size pieces

1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil

* Sambal oelek, the Indonesian chile paste consisting of crushed red chiles, vinegar and salt, has a distinctive flavor, but you may substitute Sriracha, crushed dried red pepper flakes, or 1 small fresh hot pepper, minced, if that is what you have on hand.

For Rice Noodles with Seasoned Cucumbers:

8 oz. rice noodles (may substitute ramen noodles or thin pasta)

1 tsp. dark toasted sesame oil or other vegetable oil

2 Persian cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced into half moons, or julienned

1 T. lime juice (half a lime)

2 scallions, slivered on the diagonal

1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped or torn

Lime wedges for serving


For Peanut Sauce:

  1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook ginger and garlic, stirring constantly, until softened, 1–2 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl and add peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, sambal oelek, honey, and ⅓ C. hot water. Whisk to combine, adding 1 T. hot water at a time as needed, until a thin sauce forms. Season with salt. Sauce will thicken as it stands. Thin with a little water or lime juice, 1 T. at a time, before serving.

For Tempeh Crumbles:

  1. Combine lime juice, tamari sauce, sambal oelek, honey, and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 T. oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add tempeh in a single layer, season with salt, and cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned, about 2 minutes. Toss, add 1 T. oil if necessary, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until browned all over, 3–5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add lime juice mixture to pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Transfer tempeh to a plate; season with salt.

For Rice Noodles:

  1. Season cucumbers with a few pinches of salt and massage lightly until they begin to wilt. Pour off any excess liquid, toss with lime juice, and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well and toss with 1 tsp. oil to prevent sticking. Add noodles to bowl with peanut dressing and toss to coat, adding more hot water to thin sauce if needed.
  3. To serve, divide noodle mixture among bowls. Top with tempeh crumbles, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.