These easy vegan lemon pepper tempeh vegetable pasta bowls are hearty, healthy, and packed with protein! They’re easy to meal prep for school, work, or work-from-home lunches.

A round, white ceramic bowl has been filled with a colorful tempeh vegetable pasta dish. It rests on a white surface.

There are two types of meals that I rely on most often for midday, work-from-home fuel. One is a sandwich with some sort of vegetable and fruit on the side. The other is a vegan lunch bowl.

No matter how busy I am, no matter how my schedule changes, sandwiches and bowls never let me down. I especially love bowls because they allow me to pack in lots of vegetables, and they’re a great vehicle for leftovers. If I have a random half cup of beans, some baked tofu that I haven’t eaten yet, or roasted vegetables from yesterday night’s dinner, I can give them new life in a bowl.

These easy lemon pepper tempeh vegetable pasta bowls are one of my all-time favorites. I’m a big fan of pasta salads, and I especially like when they incorporate a healthy dose of plant protein.

The protein here is a batch of my lemon pepper tempeh cubes. They’re one of the most popular recipes on this blog, and they’re my most searched tempeh recipe to date!

For these tempeh vegetable pasta bowls, I cut the tempeh into slightly smaller pieces than usual. This makes it easier to mix in with the pasta. I also seasoned the cooked pasta and roasted summery vegetables with lemon and pepper. It resulted in an easy, colorful, nutritious dish.

What are pasta bowls?

Pasta dishes of every kind are served in bowls. But in the context of this recipe, a “pasta bowl” is just like a grain bowl. Except that it’s made with cooked pasta instead of a cooked whole grain.

Pasta bowls can be served warm or cold (similar to pasta salad). They can incorporate pretty much any set of ingredients you like. True to my Power Plates principle of macronutrient balance, I recommend incorporating:

  • A plant protein: tempeh, tofu, beans, lentils, or your favorite vegan meat
  • A healthful fat: avocado, a creamy dressing that you love, nuts or seeds, olive oil
  • Complex carbs: in the case of pasta bowls, that’s the pasta!
A few small, white bowls are filled with the ingredients needed to make a vegetable pasta salad.

My favorite lemon pepper tempeh cubes

I can’t say enough good things about my favorite lemon pepper tempeh cubes!

These tangy, salty, nutritious cubes are the star of these tempeh vegetable pasta bowls. They’re one of the most versatile vegan proteins that I meal prep regularly.

The cubes work perfectly in this recipe. However, they are amazingly versatile and can be used in many other ways. I sometimes use them instead of croutons (more nutrition!) in soup. I toss them into salads, add them to quick breakfast tacos, and even snack on them sometimes, when I’m in the mood for something savory.

If you like, you can make a double batch of the lemon pepper tempeh cubes when you prep the pasta bowls. Use the extra in other meals, or freeze them for future lunches!

Meal prepping the tempeh vegetable pasta bowls

In full transparency, I’m not always consistent about my meal prep. I go through periods of forgetting it or avoiding it, as I think many people do.

With this said, I can tell you that I eat more nutritiously—and am basically a happier, more grounded person—when I do my weekend batch cooking. Grains, proteins, vegetables, and dressings are usually on the menu, along with one or two main dishes.

As long as I’m preparing grains, proteins, and veggies, I may as well be making the components of these pasta bowls! They’re an ideal meal to cook ahead of time and assemble at lunch or dinnertime as the week goes by.

All of the main components of the pasta bowls can be made ahead. The roasted vegetables and tempeh cubes will each keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge. So will the pasta.

Can you make pasta ahead of time?

Speaking of ingredient storage, I have to share that my mind was blown when I realized that yes, you can make pasta ahead of time.

In fact, pasta is one of the ingredients that I most like to batch cook! Boiling a big pot of pasta over the weekend has become a habit of mine. Once the pasta is cooked, you can drain it, cool it, and store it for up to four days.

Tossing the cooked pasta with a little olive oil will help to prevent sticking. But to be honest, I rarely do this. I usually just trust that stuck-together pasta will separate when I mix it with sauce.

I use the cooked and cooled pasta in pasta salads, I serve it with marinara, I toss it with pesto, use it to make mac n’ cheese, and more. Pasta is one of my favorite and most utilized pantry ingredients, and it is so nice to have a bunch of it in the fridge that can be eaten or used in recipes right away, without an additional cooking step.

Variations & modifications

I’ve suggested some of my favorite veggies for the pasta bowls. These include eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. However, you can make the tempeh vegetable pasta bowls through the seasons with whatever produce is available.

This might include winter squash, broccoli or cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, wilted leafy greens, tomatoes, and more. Use what you have!

In place of the lemon pepper tempeh cubes, you could also use baked tofu, roasted chickpeas, white beans, or a vegan chick’n or other meat.

A small, white and beige bowl is resting on a white surface. The bowl is filled with cooked pasta and colorful mix-ins.
A round, white ceramic bowl has been filled with a colorful tempeh vegetable pasta dish. It rests on a white surface.
5 from 1 vote

Tempeh Vegetable Pasta Bowls

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium or large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then sliced crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about a pound)
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons 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 (more to taste)
  • 8 ounces small or medium pasta shape of choice
  • 2 cups arugula or baby spinach
  • 1 batch lemon pepper tempeh cubes (you can substitute baked tofu, either homemade or store-bought, smoked tofu, seasoned seitan pieces, or vegan sausage of choice!)
  • Balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)

Instructions

  • 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 tablespoon olive oil (or as much as you need to coat it 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. Drizzle each bowl with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Notes

Leftover pasta, tempeh, and roasted veggies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
An overhead image of a serving dish that holds roasted tempeh cubes, spinach, and roasted vegetables. The colorful mixture is set against a white backdrop.

The bowls are so very simple, colorful, and appetizing! I hope you’ll enjoy them and find endless ways to vary them.

xo

 

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    6 Comments
  1. I have been eating some sort of big salad/bowl of veggie goodness every day for lunch at work for years! My husband has a sensitive stomach and can’t handle tons of stuff thrown into one bowl, so I cherish the opportunity to create different concoctions for myself every week. Definitely going to throw the lemon-pepper tempeh into the mix!!!