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Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh [Vegan]

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In my experience, Riesling wines and Asian-influenced foods are always a winning combination. With that in mind, try this bright tasting sweet and sour tempeh and see how it plays off one of our favorite American reislings, made by one of our favorite American winemakers, Charles Smith.

One very important note: K Vintners and Charles Smith's wines are not vegan across the board. As the processes and formulas may change on annual basis, only certain varietals are vegan each year. Be sure to check Barnivore, or email the winery for confirmation.

If you’re not in the mood for cooking, the Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a wonderful patio wine and pleases most people. It’s also a great choice for an appetizer wine.

Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh [Vegan]




  • 1 cup pomegranate juice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh, steamed, and cut into 1 inch pieces,about 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/4 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1/2-inch thick) carrot rounds
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks, optional
  • 1/4 cup (1-inch long) pieces scallion


  1. Whisk together the juice, brown sugar, vinegar, tamari, tomato paste, Sriracha sauce, ume vinegar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the tempeh and brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. Add the broccoli, sugar snaps, onion, pepper, carrot, pineapple and scallions.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until slightly tender but still crisp.
  8. Decrease the heat to medium-low.
  9. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and tempeh.
  10. Cook 2 minutes, then pour in the sauce and stir to coat.
  11. Serve over rice.


The Pairing

We paired this dish with 2009 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" riesling. Charles Smith is the mythological wildman winemaker of K Vintners. His Pacific NW Syrahs are legendary, and frankly, his "Boy" blend is our favorite Pacific NW blend, year after year. If you follow wine scores, his wines consistently score among the top of the lists. We prefer to follow our palates and can happily say we attended a wine dinner featuring Charles Smith in 2007, before his popularity boomed. Every wine was an amazing representation of the varietal and terroir.

Charles also has a line of more affordable wines under his own name: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, unoaked chardonnay and Riesling. Pacific NW Rieslings are completely different than German rieslings so you have to set the bar to a different scale. Warmer, rounder, higher in alcohol, and lower in acids than their German counterparts, they are also generally far less complex. But they are always enjoyable on a warm afternoon, and in this case well-matched against the pomegranate sweet and sour tempeh. Apples and slight orange/apricot softness surrounded the tastes of the dish and harmonized quite well. The pomegranate and Riesling kind of traded soft punches and fell into the pillows laughing. Sour as opposed to sweet created a nice foil for the wine's slight mineral components. All in all, a great choice.

Sidenote: Charles Smith is quite the character having managed bands in the early 1990s. He's full of stories. This old interview just scratches the surface. I have no affiliation whatsoever with Charles Smith, but I do have a hearty appreciation for his wines, when vegan.

As always, please let me know if you try the dish or the wine, or both! I’d love to hear from you.





Tami Noyes lives and cooks in the Midwest. Currently working on her second book, Tami is the author of American Vegan Kitchen. Starting out as a baker for a local vegetarian café in the early ‘80s, Tami’s love of cooking is her way of expressing her compassion and nurturing for all beings and our planet. She believes that sharing the fantastic flavors of wonderful vegan foods is best way to encourage others toward veganism.



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One comment on “Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh [Vegan]”

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4 Years Ago

can I sub pomegranate juice with a different one? what will be more appropriate for this dish? thanks


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