Vegan Tempeh Marsala | Easy & Delicious

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This Vegan Tempeh Marsala is creamy, satisfying, and filled with mouthwatering flavor! A plant-based take on the Italian-American classic. Gluten-Free.

Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American fusion dish of pan-fried chicken simmered in a rich mushroom cream sauce — today we’re giving it a delicious plant-based twist! Hearty mushrooms and pan-seared tempeh in a creamy cashew-based marsala sauce bring so much flavor, you’ll be convinced this Vegan Tempeh Marsala is the real thing ????

wood spatula spooning tempeh marsala in white pot

INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN TEMPEH MARSALA

ingredients for tempeh marsala arranged on marble countertop

This plant-based “chicken” marsala uses tempeh for a meaty texture and cashews for that creamy, saucy goodness. Since we are using cashews instead of heavy cream, the final sauce for the dish will be just a little lighter — the flavor is definitely still there though ????

  • Tempeh: is a hearty, whole-food meat replacement that is packed with plant-based protein. For this recipe, we’ll be turning it into savory pan-fried “chicken.”
  • Mushrooms: are a must in traditional marsala recipes; in fact, marsala glazed mushrooms are so good that they are often served on their own as an appetizer or side! For this recipe, we’ll use Cremini Mushrooms.
  • Cashews: replace traditional heavy cream for our mushroom cream sauce, giving it a rich consistency and flavor.
  • Imitation “Chicken” Broth: gets blended with the soaked cashews to infuse our cream sauce with more savory “chicken” flavor.
  • Marsala Wine: is a fortified wine from Sicily that is commonly used in cooking and baking, and helps add a rich, caramelized flavor to the sauce. It has a very unique flavor profile, so unfortunately there is no substitution for it.
  • Dairy-Free Butter: has more than just one purpose in this dish! We’ll use it with a bit of extra virgin olive oil to sear our tempeh, as well as to sauté the mushrooms for our cream sauce.
  • Spices & Aromatics: Delicious flavors come through from Garlic, Shallot, Fresh Thyme, Salt, Black Pepper, and freshly chopped Italian Parsley as an optional finishing touch.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN TEMPEH MARSALA

photo of pan seared tempeh next to photo of mushrooms in cream sauce

This hearty, satisfying recipe tastes restaurant-quality, but comes together in under 45 minutes, using only 10 wholesome ingredients!

  1. Add the soaked cashew, vegan “chicken” broth, and water to a high-speed blender, blend until smooth and creamy, and set aside.
  2. Melt a bit of dairy-free butter and olive oil and sear the tempeh on both sides until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  3. Sauté the mushrooms in butter until browned, then add the shallot, garlic, and thyme to the pan and sauté until garlic is fragrant. Add the marsala wine and cashew broth to the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce has thickened and darkened in color.
  4. Add the pan-fried tempeh to the cream sauce and simmer until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle on some freshly chopped Italian parsley (optional) and enjoy!

large white pan of tempeh in mushroom sauce topped with fresh parsley

I’ve grown to become a little obsessed with the sweet, yet dry and complex flavors that marsala adds to dishes…it makes my mouth water just thinking about a rich, creamy marsala sauce! This Vegan Tempeh Marsala is nothing short of mouthwateringly delicious if I do say so myself ????

Tempeh Marsala is incredible on its own, but if you’d like to bulk up the meal, it is also wonderful over pasta or rice. It also pairs perfectly with a side of roasted potatoes and/or Italian herbed veggies! In my experience, this dish tastes best when it’s served fresh, but if you have any leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

tempeh marsala in mushroom cream sauce topped with fresh parsley

If you’re looking for more rich and wholesome Italian-American inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Creamy Vegan Lemon Pasta with Spring Vegetables, this Garlic Cream Sauce with Pasta, and this Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Tempeh Marsala

This Vegan Tempeh Marsala is creamy, satisfying, and filled with mouthwatering flavor! A plant-based take on the Italian-American classic. Gluten-Free.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup cashews (45 g), soaked in water overnight, then drained
  • 1 cup (240 ml) imitation “chicken” broth
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter, divided*
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces (225 g) tempeh, cut thinly (see notes)
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 23 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces (225 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) dry Marsala wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the Cream Sauce: add the soaked cashews, vegan “chicken” broth, and water to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 45-60 seconds, until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. Sear the Tempeh: warm 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Make the Sauce: melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan and add the mushrooms; cook for 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to shrink and brown. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme to the pan with a pinch of salt; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Then, add the marsala wine and blended broth to the pan, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken slightly and darken in color.
  4. Simmer the Tempeh: return the tempeh to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Turn the heat off and season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
  5. Serve: sprinkle with parsley (if using) and divide onto serving plates. Serve warm, and as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Tempeh: I recommend slicing the tempeh in “half” lengthwise first, to make it thinner. From there you can slice as desired; I chose to slice mine into triangles.
  • Cashews: if you forget to soak your cashews overnight, you can either cover them in boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes before draining, or add them to a microwave-safe container, cover with water, and microwave for 3 minutes, then let sit for 30.
  • Substitutions: This recipe will also work with imitation “chicken” cutlets, or even super firm tofu in place of tempeh. If you have a nut allergy, replace the cashews and 1/2 cup of water with 3/4 cup (180 ml) full-fat coconut milk from a can. You can all use all oil in place of dairy-free butter.

Keywords: tempeh marsala, vegan marsala, vegan chicken marsala, vegan Italian food

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. This recipe was amazing! Not the biggest mushroom fan, but this was so delicious that I ate the whole serving and wanted another. It was perfectly creamy and flavorful.

  2. As always with FromMyBowl, this recipe was excellent, simple and so flavourful! It’s become a monthly go-to for us! Can be served on rice, with toasted fresh bread or even on pasta. It’s creamy, flavourful and quick.
    I added a tbsp truffle oil when cookie the mushrooms and 1 tbsp of cashew butter in the broth mixture and highly recommend if you happen have these on hand.

    1. Ye, it could. I would recommend using super-firm tofu or extra firm that’s been pressed really well. Cut the tofu into thin triangles and pan-fry the same way as the tempeh!

  3. Winner winner, tempeh dinner!! This was PERFECT for Valentine’s Day. I went out of my way to get actual Marsala wine which I do think made a difference, because the end product was almost like a (delicious) mushroom gravy, but the Marsala flavor really still comes through to make every bite special. Also, I’m here to confirm that replacing the cashews with coconut cream indeed works beautifully! I served it with a side of asparagus and a bruschetta first-course, which I really recommend for giving something acidic and bright to complement the richness of this dish. Thanks for a really unique way to use tempeh!

    1. It’s a cooking wine that you’ll usually find mixed in with the wine selection at a grocery store!

  4. As soon as I saw this pop up on my Instagram feed, I knew I had to make it. This was DELICIOUS, even though I made so many substitutions in my haste to get it in my belly ASAP. I used half brandy/half water instead of Marsala wine (per internet recommendations and what I have in my pantry), dry thyme, vegan beef-flavored broth, onion instead of shallot, and it was still so intensely good. I served over penne pasta and added spinach to the sauce (because health). 100% would recommend, I would absolutely make this again (with or without the right ingredients)!

  5. Just made this and now I’m just here licking my bowl ???? I halved the recipe because I was trying to use up a smaller amount of mushrooms and previously cooked tempeh I had in the fridge and I also used Pinot noir because I didn’t have Marsala wine. Still SO delicious and I will definitely be making this again and again!