California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh

California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh

Cooking a satisfying vegan meal is all about problem-solving. Since plant foods contain simpler fats, I really like to focus on using the best quality fats to make my vegan dishes just as satisfying as meat alternatives. This California bowl is made up of cooling cucumber, fiber-rich brown rice, blackened tempeh, herb sauce, roasted corn, and crunchy radish. There are actually 3 fat sources that I layer into the dish:

  1. Avocado
  2. Chimichuri Sauce (extra-virgin olive oil)
  3. Refined Coconut Oil (for cooking the tempeh)

I developed this dish for a Meatless Monday class about a month ago. The class seemed to love the balance of flavors and everyone agreed that the tempeh was spicy but the heat wasn’t overpowering because of the other elements.


Meatless Monday Class
Meatless Monday class at the Natural Gourmet Institute


I really can get behind the growing trend in bowl dishes. This is the kind of food that I could eat for the whole week. It’s that good! This recipe should make enough for 6 large bowls so you can store each of the elements in separate containers and have an easy, healthy meal in the middle of the work week.

California food is often a blend of Mexican and Southwest cuisines so this bowl represents my memories of summers spent in San Diego and L.A. It’s gluten-free and vegan and is easily adaptable. Try adding beans or roasted vegetables. If you’d like to add meat, chicken breast or white fish would work very well with the spices here.


California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh


California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh


California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh


California Bowl with Chimichurri Tempeh, Roasted Corn, and Radish

Yield: 6 cups

California Bowl Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown basmati rice, washed and drained
  • 3 ½ cups boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 ears corn, husks removed (or 1 bag frozen corn)
  • 4 radishes, julienne
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 avocadoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • 36 ounces tempeh, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch strips
  • Refined coconut oil for pan frying



  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium pot, add rice and stir over medium heat until it is no longer wet. Add measured boiling water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes (covered). Fluff with fork.
  2. Meanwhile, roast the corn. Toss the corn with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, rotating half-way through.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the spices.  Then warm the coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Pan fry the tempeh until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once cooked, brush with coconut oil on one side and dip in spices to coat. To blacken the tempeh, warm a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook the tempeh spice side down for 10 to 15 seconds until the spices turn “black” and smoke.

Chimichurri Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds included
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the chimichurri sauce, place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth.
  2. To assemble the bowls, portion the rice with the vegetables, tempeh, and avocado. Top with chimichurri sauce.

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