Fig Butter & Cumin Tempeh Stir Fry

*This is a re-post from mid-day Wednesday 3/7/12. My apologies if you already saw it and thanks to all who commented the first time around.

I’m in the process of making some cosmetic changes to my blog layout, but nothing tech-related comes easily for me or without an abundance of glitches.

In the meantime, thanks for bearing with things and for your patience.

Excuse me while I pour a drink…or eat rum-spiked fig butter.


If you happen to have a very plentiful, and very random, assortment of condiments taking up valuable refrigerator space, then you relate to the desire to want to find creative uses for them.

This stir fry helped me make use of on-hand veggies and use some fig butter from my from my ever-growing condiments collection.

It used up two whopping tablespoons of fig butter than I bought awhile back thinking I was going to make homemade Fig Newtons.

Evidently I was feeling the need to reinvent the wheel that day and make my own Fig Newtons.

So far homemade Fig Newtons haven’t happened, but this did. The best part is that it took four minutes. Faster than a microwave meal.

The veggies stayed crisp, the cumin added a touch of smokiness, the fig butter had a barely-there touch of sweetness that worked with the barely-there nuttiness of the tempeh. I also tossed in a sweet gherkin pickle that I diced (another random condiment) but the tangy-ness worked perfectly.

It had been far too long since I’ve had any tempeh and I was overdue. Unlike tofu which requires pressing, tempeh doesn’t and it’s ready to go from the moment you unwrap it.

Plus tempeh has texture. Tofu is great, but sometimes I just need a little more chewiness and on those days, tempeh is the calling card.



Fig Butter & Cumin Tempeh Stir Fry (vegan)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup tempeh, cubed (I used half of a package of TJ’s tempeh)

3/4 cup+ vegetables, diced (I used broccoli, green beans, carrots, asparagus, one diced sweet gherkin mini pickle)

1 teaspoon cumin (or other seasoning or seasoning blend you enjoy; paprika, garlic, onions, curry, nutmeg, saffron, Mrs. Dash blends, TJ’s 21 Salute, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste, optional

2 to 3 tablespoons fig butter

2 tablespoons water

Add olive oil to a non-stick skillet and add the tempeh, vegetables, seasonings and sautee on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the fig butter and water, stirring to create a sauce, and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes, or until desired. Serve immediately. I served it over a handful of romaine lettuce that’s in the bottom of the bowl.


Feel free to substitute another type of jelly (hot pepper jelly, sour cherry, or plum would be nice), chutney, or even nut butter (almond or peanut butter) for the fig butter in this recipe since you may not be quite as into condiments as I am and may not have a jar of fig butter in your refrigerator.

Some recent stir fry and fast savory meal ideas include:

Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry with Fried Rice

Speaking of shrimp, as part of my relationship with FoodBuzz as a Featured Publisher, I was given a couple product vouchers for Van de Kamp’s and I selected these Butterfly Shrimp.

I have a wicked shrimp allergy but Scott and Skylar love shrimp so I put the Van de Kamp’s Butterfly Shrimp on a baking sheet and baked at 425F for 15 minutes, flipping once, and they were a big hit.

I told Scott I have one more product voucher and he said, “Get these again!” so I will.

They are otherwise $6.99 for a box of about 15 shrimp at my local Ralph’s grocery store, and Scott said, well worth it.

Another fast, fish, one-skillet, 15 minute meal was Pan Seared  Caribbean Citrus Mahi Mahi with Brown Rice Noodles (gluten free)

A vegan quickie stir fry: Apple Glazed Vegetable & Edamame Stir Fry (vegan, gluten free)

If you prefer tofu to tempeh:

Mango Ginger Maple Tofu

Or try Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu because everything is better with peanut sauce.


Do you impulse buy jars of condiments or have a wide assortment of condiments on hand?

Yes, and yes for me. And then I wonder what I’m going to do with them, but eventually, I figure it out.

Do you like tempeh? Tofu?

I like them both and they both have their place. I go in cycles with them and I can see tempeh getting back into my lineup. It’s a break-the-seal and there’s-the-meal kind of item, which I dig.

Tofu lovers, all my tofu recipes are here including a tofu preparation and cooking tips post.

Thanks for the Digital Kitchen Scale & Nutritionist Consultation Giveaway entries


  1. these are two very different items, I know, but the fig butter made me think of poppyseed filling…have you ever tried poppyseed filling Averie? it’s SO wonderful because one could fill thumb print cookies with it or use it as more of a base for some savory stir fry or even savory biscuit, etc. .. if you’ve not, you should try it!

  2. For sure – I am a condiment whore. In fact, I have had a post written with that title for years now. LIterally. I even have pictures taken and everything. I am working on whittling my stash right now too, which is all that is keeping me from making some of that hot pepper jelly.

    This is my kind of recipe (minus the tempeh which I HATE). Veggies, sauce, some spices; quick and dirty style. That’s been my lunch M.O. since I started teaching last fall. Not sick of it yet, so I’m going with it.

    • I used to not care for tempeh but I have come to love it. Super firm, with texture, blows tofu away lately for me. Plus it’s pretty much instant-mealtime.

      Love your prewritten condiments post…for 2 years :)

  3. I like tofu ( especially marinated and baked) but have never tried tempeh. I’m thinking I should give it a try. I do love figs in all forms so that fig butter looks like a winner. I’ll have to look around and see if I can find some (we don’t have a TJ’s here which I’m perpetually bummed about) . Thanks for posting another great stir fry!

    • if you love marinated, pressed, and firm-baked tofu, you’ll like tempeh I think b/c it’s MUCH more firm than tofu; as in, it IS firm. No pressing required and it has great texture. You can always use another jam, maple, or even soaked/blended dates to form a date paste if you really want to play around with it. I took the easiest way out!

  4. I LOVE tempeh. I would eat it all the time if it were more readily available in my area. I’m going to be near a TJ’s this weekend so I will stock up on some to stash in the freezer.
    I never would have thought of adding figs to stirfry – but it does look delicious!

  5. Yum! I have some blocks of tempeh in the fridge without any plans. This post could change that. But Mr. Fussy Pants probably won’t like figs. He doesn’t like strawberries; too seedy. :roll: Sigh. haha

  6. I love tempeh, it’s such a great source of vegetarian protein. Not to mention it’s got a way more interesting flavor than tofu.

  7. totally a tempeh lover and fig! enjoy your drink while you update the blog. Soooo worth it!

  8. I love cumin, and we have rockin’ local tempeh that I can eat (soy free and gluten free — made only with black beans or jacob’s cattle beans, yeay!) and with TJ’s fig butter…I can’t even imagine how good that would taste…which means I’ll have to try it!

  9. This looks so yummy. It made me remember I have a bunch of dried figs to use
    Perhaps a stir fry tomorrow!
    I didn’t know you didn’t like poppyseed. I love it!
    I also have a fridge full of random jars of this and that.
    Apparently I need to plan better before buying!

  10. I’ve only used Tofu for sauces and desserts so far. I think it’s a great substitute for dairy in recipes but I have not been brave enough to have it fried up instead of my meat portion, yet. I used a bunch of silken tofu in this Cheesecake;postID=129056466800524663 on Monday and it was one of the best I’ve tasted but like I said, I’ve always masked it with some other flavor like chocolate……….or cookie dough butter! Yes…..hope to explore more recipes using it as a meat sub.

  11. The Van de camp Shrimp look tasty! I love shrimp, especially battered ones!! I’ll check them out at the store!

  12. I was wondering what was going on the first time I saw this (but it wouldn’t let me comment!). If you’re changing your header to what I saw before, I like it :)

    • You know me and tech stuff..NOTHING ever ever ever goes to plan or is straightforward. As in, 100x more complicated that I ever thought was possible and skeletons falling out of the closet left and CSS style sheet right. Oy.vey. And yes, what you saw and was live for about an hour, that’s the ticket. Just have to get it working…

  13. It is time to get reacquainted with tempeh! I like seeing where I can buy the actual product I want – the fig jam looks good, although I have an easy recipe for homemade when they are in season.

    • Oh I’d love to try some of your homemade fig jam. About 2 weeks ago I posted about canning for the 1st time…hot pepper jelly! It was a seasonal item at TJs and I love it so much and so decided to make my own!

  14. That fig butter looks great. I will definitely look for it at my next trip to TJ’s!

  15. Have to get some of the fig butter! I LOVE tofu….. recently tried an avocado and silken tofu dip with roasted seaweed – yum

  16. Heh, I’m a compulsive salsa and hot sauce buyer:)
    This post is timely because I just bought tempeh! I love it. Not a tofu lover but I can eat tons of tempeh…

  17. We always have a boatload of condiments in the fridge and in the cupboards: jams, jellies, ketchup, mustard, veganaise, apple butter, etc. My kids eat all that on toast and muffins, biscuits and all their sandwiches, etc.

    I used to love tofu but I guess I just got tired of it. One day, perhaps, I will add it back to my diet. I do, however, love me some steamed soymilk in my morning coffee. That is the best!

    That fig butter looks awesome! I am going to TJs tomorrow…will scope it out! :-)

  18. I have yet to actually try tempeh, but I’ve been trying to stay away from tofu. It doesn’t seem to have positive effects to my energy (darn hypothyroid) and I never did find many good uses for it. I’d rather try some fermented sources of soy (like tempeh) before I give up on it completely!

  19. I used to love tempeh so much, growing up. But have lost interest as time flew by. So sad, because that stir fry looks super yummy!!!

  20. Awesome job in this recipe, it sounds fabulous!

    Sorry about the site stress, not fun! Can’t wait to see the new look!

  21. What a tasty dinner idea! I have a bag of dried figs in my cabinet–maybe I’ll try creating my own fig-based sauce. I have not yet tried tempeh…I haven’t had soy anything in years because of some thyroid issues (apparently soy can create or add to thyroid issues…not medical advice…don’t quote me on that!).

  22. I totally impulse buy condiments- including fig butter! The problem is, I can’t get through them fast enough. And also- they are really hard to organize in the fridge! There’s only some much space on the shelves that are on the door!

  23. This stir fry looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it. I also love your idea of serving it on top of lettuce! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that. Serving stirfrys with grains always makes me over-eat so I am definitely going to be doing this from now on. :)

  24. Mmmm this sounds so good! I so love and appreciate your focus on quick meals! Long ingredient lists and lots of prep time are just not for me…so thanks for making it so easy. :)

  25. Oh, I impulse buy all sorts of condiments and food products in general … it is a problem :-)

    I like both tofu and tempeh.

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  27. oh my gosh homemade fig newtons would be amazing with that fig butter. They were my favourite cookie growing up!

  28. I am the queen of randome condiments taking over my life!! I’ve never had tempeh before, but you make it look unbelieveable!

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  30. Pingback: Tempeh and Cucumbers On a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip

  31. ginger mango tofu?! fig butter!? oh my oh my. i’m so looking forward to trying these! and also feeling quite jealous that we don’t have trader joes in the netherlands.

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