Tempeh Paella

Tempeh paella combines delicious tempeh and fresh asparagus with traditional saffron seasoned rice. The resulting dish is very hearty and has the home-cooked feel that is nearly impossible to find while dining out.

Tempeh Paella

If you can’t find saffron locally, try a reputable online retailer such as Spices Inc. to purchase threads of saffron for this recipe. I purchased saffron locally at World Market, but I’ve had great experience with Spices Inc. as an online spice retailer.

This makes quite a few servings (6-10), so it could be halved if desired.

Tempeh Paella

Tempeh Paella

Servings 10 people


  • 12 oz. tempeh cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 1 Field Roast Italian sausage crumbled
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio or other short-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads gently crushed
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz. fresh asparagus sliced in 1-inch pieces


  • Add soy sauce and oil to tempeh and marinate for about 30 minutes while preparing other ingredients. This is a great time to dice the remaining vegetables.
  • In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add tempeh pieces and brown, stirring occasionally. After tempeh has browned, remove it from the pan, set it aside, and add a bit of freshly ground black pepper. As you’ll notice later, the browned sides will add flavor to the final dish.
  • Add crumbled Field Roast Italian sausage, onion and bell pepper to skillet, and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Do not allow onions to brown. After 5-7 minutes, mix in rice, tomato, paprika, garlic, and saffron. Cook for about one minute, continually stirring to mix the ingredients. Return the cooked tempeh to the skillet, stir in the broth and bring to a boil, un-covered. Once boiling, immediately reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir in asparagus and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt, remove from heat, and leave the skillet covered until serving – 5 to 10 minutes of covered time will help rice become more moist. Serve hot.



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  1. Kate Avatar

    This is a great recipe but I think your cooking time on the rice has to be wrong. No uncooked Arborio rice (or other short grain rice) is going to cook in ten minutes. I’d give it more like 20 minutes simmering (especially if you are using short grain brown rice) and then the additional 5 minutes of simmering after adding the asparagus.

    Just thought I’d mention it. Rice is hard for a lot of people to cook properly, and if you don’t do it right (and don’t know enough to divert from a recipe if needed), you will ruin a dish like this.

    Very delicious though. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. inspiredeats Avatar

    Hi Kate, thanks for the comment!

    You’re right, rice can be very tricky for some people, and the key is to always taste rice for texture before you finish cooking – sometimes even additional liquid is required.

    I do use a short-grained Arborio rice in this recipe, and the time it takes bringing the mixture to a boil combined with the additional cook time after asparagus is added resulted in a great texture (about 20 minutes total). Letting the final dish sit covered in the skillet for 5-10 minutes after the 15 minutes of simmering can be very helpful in creating excellent rice in the end.

    I will update the recipe above to include this note!

  3. Cherie Avatar

    This looks lovely and I have no doubt that it tastes as good as it looks.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!


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