Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes

Tempeh, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet

Tempeh, kale, and sweet potato skillet

This supremely nourishing trio of ingredients—tempeh, kale, and sweet potatoes—are the basis of a quick, colorful, and comforting meal. It’s an adaptable dish, too—don’t like tempeh? Use tofu, seitan, or a can of chickpeas or white beans instead. It’s great with chard in place of kale, as well. Great served with any of the slaw recipes on this site. Photos by Evan Atlas.  

Serves: 6

  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into 1/4-inch slices crosswise
  • 1 good-sized bunch kale (about 8 to 12 ounces)
  • 3  to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder, or to taste
  • Sriracha sauce or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions and/or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces for topping
  1. Cook, bake, or microwave the sweet potatoes until done but still nice and firm, allowing 2 to 3 minutes per potato. If you’d like to keep the skins on, scrub them well. Otherwise just rinse. Once cool enough to handle, cut them into large dice, leaving skins on if you had scrubbed them.
  2. Heat half of the oil together with the soy sauce in a stir-fry pan. Add the tempeh and stir quickly to coat. Sauté over medium heat until golden and beginning to turn crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate then set aside until needed.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the leafy part of the kale away from the stem, then coarsely chop into bite-sized pieces. Rinse well.Tempeh, kale, and sweet potato skillet recipe
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden.
  5. Add the kale along with about 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes, curry powder, and optional curry paste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the kale is tender but still bright green.
  6. Stir in the diced sweet potatoes, tempeh, and scallions and/or cilantro and cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cashews, and serve at once.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 304;  Total fat: 14g;  Protein: 16g;  Cars: 31g;  Fiber: 3.5g;  Sodium: 180mg

Tempeh, kale, and sweet potato skillet recipe

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  • Reply
    March 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    This recipe is simple and delicious! Great way to make use of all those healthy odds and ends you have in the fridge. I wasn’t sure how this would be with the use of the diced toms and the curry but it is fantastic. Very flavorful without being too distinct (either asian or indian flare). This one definitely goes into the recipe rotation!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    This is a wonderful dish- delicious and impressive to serve. Add to that it’s health benefits and it’s a triumvirate of goodness. I didn’t change a thing except to heat it up with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I have made it twice now and have given the recipe out both times.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you both for your comment! Glad you enjoyed this dish.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I would have added 5 stars but I didn’t see where to do that! In fact, I’m preparing it again tonight at the request of my family!!!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    ClareBear, so glad you enjoyed this– these ingredients sure do go together!

  • Reply
    May 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve made this twice. I love it!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Loved this recipe. I kind of improvised because I couldn’t find any sweet potatoes at the store, so I used Yams, and whatever ingredients I had laying around the house too (which was most besides the cashews). It turned out great.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I was a little skeptical, but this was DELICIOUS! Loved the tempeh – my boyfriend told me “buy more of that!”.

    • Reply
      March 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      So glad you and your sweetie enjoyed this!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    First time making it. Not only did I love the flavors, but my 8 year old son did as well. I substituted scallions for a small amount of yellow onion since I didn’t have any on hand, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 50% mild curry and 50 % regular curry. The cashews were an excellent addition.


    • Reply
      July 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      It’s awesome to find a dish that you like, that’s appealing to the kids as well. So glad this worked for you, and I love hearing about readers’ tweaks and substitutions!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I loved this recipe! But I do have a couple of questions: after microwaving the sweet potatoes, do you remove the skin? And cut into chunks? That’s what I did – but I’m really such a novice cook, I need the most basic instructions :).

    • Reply
      January 12, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Julia, the fault is mine. That instruction wasn’t made clear, and I’ve clarified in the recipe. Sounds like you figured it out, but thanks for the eagle eye!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    This is delicious. The sweet potato, kale and tempeh are a great combination! Thanks for this recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      April 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks, Davy! Glad you enjoy this.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2015 at 6:41 am

    Totally delicious! Thank you. My husband and I really enjoyed this for dinner last night, with a side of avocado, and will be making it again soon!

    • Reply
      September 7, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks, Rochelle! So glad you enjoyed this.

  • Reply
    Dr. LaWanna Shelton
    December 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Do you have another spice recommendation for this dish. I just don’t care for the taste or smell of curry? Thanks.

    • Reply
      December 28, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Hello — you might try some all-purpose seasoning blend, like Spike or Mrs. Dash. You can also consider chili spices — a good quality chili powder and a bit of cumin. The bottom line, you can use whatever seasonings you most enjoy, so that this dish tastes good to you! Our recipes are quite flexible.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I’m not a fan of kale, but I have a huge bag of it in my fridge. Will this recipe be very kale-y? Is cooked kale a lot more mild than raw kale? I have only tried raw kale.
    Thankyou 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Zambelli
    May 9, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    So delicious! I’m not even a vegetarian, but I loved this dish. I substituted an onion for the scallions, and I sauteed the onions with the tempeh. I’ll definitely make this again.

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