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Bowl of polenta, spinach and tempeh on a stripped napkin.

Breakfast Polenta Bowl with Smoky Air Fryer Tempeh

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Vegan Breakfast Polenta Bowl – creamy miso polenta topped with smoky air fryer tempeh, this meal is savory, satisfying and easy to make.



Miso Polenta

  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground polenta
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and more to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 block Tempeh, cut into 1/4 inch thin bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos to make gluten-free
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup


  1. To a bowl, add in your cut tempeh and pour over enough boiling water (I used a tea kettle) to partially cover the tempeh. Place a cover over the bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes to steam. As you wait, prepare your miso, mix your miso with a fork in 2 tbsp of water until smooth and set a side.
  2. Carefully drain the water from the tempeh and then add the remaining tempeh marinade ingredients and mix together to coat. Allow the tempeh to sit and marinade for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the tempeh pieces in your air fryer basket and set to 375F for 10 minutes. Allow the tempeh to stay warm in the air fryer while you finish cooking your polenta.
  4. For the polenta, add one cup of water and your milk to a sauce pan and bring to a high simmer.
  5. Stir in your nutritional yeast and then slowly pour in your polenta while whisking continuously to help avoid clumps. Allow to simmer while stirring frequently for 10 minutes as the polenta thickens.
  6. Add your salt and miso mixture and continue to stir for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Stir in your olive oil, cover and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve with the tempeh and any sautéed vegetables on top.


The polenta will continue to thicken as it sits, so make sure to serve fairly soon after cooking. If it does thicken too much, stir in some extra water or milk to help loosen it up and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Do not use the polenta that already comes in a tube. We just want the dry granulated variety you get from a block or bag.

To make the sautéed spinach featured in the photo, add small splash of oil to a skillet and add some sliced garlic. Stir-fry until golden then add in a few handfuls of spinach and stir fry until the spinach has wilted. Season with some salt and pepper and serve.