Now matter how my eating patterns shift around to accommodate changes in schedule, the demands of recipe testing, or the pace of my life, my lunch bowls tend to remain the same. This isn’t to say that the ingredients are always the same, or that I always choose similar combinations of foods. I try to switch up my veggies, legumes, and grains as much as possible as the seasons change. But to enjoy a wholesome and comforting midday bowl of food has become as cherished a food ritual as I’ve ever had, and while I know that my schedule won’t always allow me to eat lunch at home, I’m relishing the habit while it lasts.
These easy lemon pepper tempeh and vegetable pasta bowls are my new favorite addition to the lunchtime (or anytime) routine. I’ve been doing a lot of easy pasta salads this summer, and these bowls are sort of a variation on that theme, though the extent to which you mix the ingredients up is totally up to you. You can layer or arrange them as in the photo above, or you can mix everything together before you even serve the dish. Either way, it’s all good.
One of the star ingredients in these easy bowls is my favorite lemon pepper tempeh cubes, which have become a staple weekly ingredient around here. I bake them up and throw them in bowls, salads, pop them into breakfast tostadas, or even pop a couple in my mouth when I’m in the mood for a hearty and protein-dense afternoon snack. They’re so easy to make and so satisfying, and they present me with an easy way to eat more tempeh, which is such an incredibly nutrient-dense plant food: each serving is rich in protein, fiber, and iron.
For the purposes of these bowls, I cut the tempeh into slightly smaller pieces than usual (easier for mixing) and seasoned the cooked pasta and roasted veggies with lemon and pepper, too. The result is a hearty, colorful, summery pasta bowl that can be served hot or cool. Feel free to mix up the vegetables you use for roasting: the eggplant, pepper, and zucchini trio is my summertime go-to, but tomatoes, radishes, onions, and beets would all be awesome, too.
Easy Lemon Pepper Tempeh & Vegetable Pasta Bowls
- 1 medium or large zucchini cubed (I like to quarter the zucchini lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into about 3/4-inch pieces)
- 1 small eggplant about a pound, trimmed and cut into cubes
- 2 bell peppers cut into a large dice
- 2 tablespoons + 2-3 teaspoons as needed olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice to taste
- 8 ounces pasta of choice whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
- 2 cups arugula or baby spinach
- 1 recipe lemon pepper tempeh cubes you can substitute baked tofu, either homemade or store-bought, smoked tofu, seasoned seitan pieces, or vegan sausage of choice!
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Toss the vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon zest. Place them on 1 or 2 lined baking sheets (depending on oven size) and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes. Add the minced garlic and give the vegetables a good stir on the baking sheet. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are browning at the edges and tender.
- When the veggies are close to ready, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is ready, drain it and then toss it with the remaining olive oil (as much as you need to dress the pasta lightly), lemon juice, and thyme leaves. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To serve your bowls, you can either divide the pasta, tempeh cubes, greens, and roasted veggies evenly in four bowls. Or you can stir everything together in a large mixing bowl before dividing onto plates or bowls and serving.
There’s my bowl, all mixed up and looking mighty appetizing.
Adaptability is the key to a great bowl, so feel free to try these with orzo, rice, or another cooked grain in place of the pasta. Steamed kale or other greens would also be a nice change of pace from the spinach or the arugula, though I do love the crunch that the fresh greens add to the bowl! No matter what, I hope you enjoy the recipe.
I’m looking forward to the end of the week, and as always, to sharing some reads and recipe finds with you on Sunday. Take care.