Vegan larb

Vegan larb

vegan larb stir fry

As I am flying to Poland again this weekend, I’ve had to cook a few Asian inspired dishes so that I can handle eating pierogi on repeat for a week 🙂 . Just kidding! There is plenty of fabulous vegan food in Krakow, so I am sure I won’t get bored!

Today’s recipe is my attempt at veganising the national dish of Laos – larb. It features stir-fried mince, typically pork, that is seasoned with a liberal amount of lime juice and taken up to the next level with plenty of chopped up fresh herbs, like mint and coriander.

It is a salad of sorts, so you can simply have it inside fresh lettuce leaves or mixed into rice, which I personally prefer.

It’s delicious, aromatic, herbaceous and rather filling, so I figured it will make a perfect January meal, healthy yet satiating. I would not be myself if I hadn’t added some steamed broccoli to the mix, but you don’t have to!

vegan larb ingredients

vegan larb tempeh

vegan larb bowl

20 min
10 min
20 min
10 min
  • 2 tbsp raw sticky rice, long grain or basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce / tamari (for GF version) or vegan fish sauce (if you are able to find it)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice (1 lime), more to taste
  • a small piece of ginger, grated finely (about 1-2 tsp grated)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (I used coconut), adjust to taste
  • 400 g / 14 oz tempeh*
  • 2 tbsp high smoke point oil (I used rice bran)
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2-3 hot red chillis, finely sliced (deseeded for less heat)
  • a good pinch of salt, adjust to taste
  • a good pinch of white pepper (black is okay too)
  • a bunch of fresh mint, leaves chopped
  • a bunch of fresh coriander / cilantro, chopped
  • steamed greens (I used broccoli), to serve (optional)
  • cooked rice or fresh lettuce leaves, to serve
  1. Heat up a wok and once hot, add raw rice to it. Gently toast the rice, stirring very frequently, until fragrant and golden (about 10 minutes). Pound cooled-off rice in a pestle and mortar until all the grains are broken up and set aside for later.
  2. Combine soy sauce / tamari (or vegan fish sauce), lime juice, ginger and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Chop tempeh into a really fine dice or chop it up roughly and grind it up in a food processor, taking care not to overprocess it.
  4. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in the same wok you used to toast the rice. Once hot, add cubed / ground tempeh to it. Stir-fry for a few minutes until browned in places.
  5. Add in shallots, spring onions (white part only) and chilli and stir-fry for another minute or so.
  6. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and mix in the marinade you prepared earlier. Toss the tempeh in the marinade.
  7. Once off the heat, incorporate 1-2 tbsp of toasted ground-up rice and 2/3 of the chopped herbs into the tempeh.
  8. Serve with cooked rice or inside lettuce leaves with extra herbs, the green part of the sliced onions and some more lime juice squeezed on top.

*This is an optional step, but you may want to steam or boil your tempeh first to remove the slightly bitter aftertaste. I steam the entire block (cut in half so that it fits) for 20 minutes in a bamboo steamer and then cool it down completely before stir-frying.

4 g
18 g
4 g
23 g
22 g
*per serving
How would you rate this recipe?
This is a test string

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

7 reviews, 11 comments
Very tasty! My non-vegan partner absolutely loved it; he said it was spicy and unctuous, haha
    Great to hear and thank you for taking the time to review - much appreciated. x Ania
Yummm! This was delicious. I added a portobello mushroom because I only had 8oz tempeh. Used a very hot jalapeno pepper. Followed the recipe to a T otherwise. Will definitely make this again. Thank you!
    Thank you so much, I am really pleased to hear that! Ania
Joyce Lee:
Thank you for this recipe! I've been intimidated making a vegan version of this until I came across your recipe and could taste everything coming together nicely after reading the ingredients. Unfortunately I was missing a ton of ingredients but thankfully had decent subs available in my kitchen to scrap this together (no thanks to the quarantine and limited shopping) . Just a warning, you'll have a good laugh at all the subs but this totally turned out!!! We have to use what we have right?? So, I just ran out of tempeh.. :'(
tempeh -> 1:1 Tofu: Impossible Beef
shallots -> half small red onion
lime juice -> old lemon juice that's still good but not as good as fresh lime (tasted a tad bitter) + rice wine vinegar
tamari -> 1:1 low sodium soy sauce: vegan hoisin sauce
coconut sugar -> "premium sugar" that was light brown colored brought back from Japan. The label is all in Japanese. It's mild in taste like coconut sugar and all I have left in the pantry sitting next to dates....
oil: coconut oil
Thanks to your ratios, the savory, tangy and sweet balanced out perfectly, which is key! If it weren't for my fresh herbs, I don't think I could have pulled this off to satisfy my laab craving. I look forward to making this again another time with the actual ingredients you have listed! Thank you!!
    Aw, thanks Joyce! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and all your subs sound perfectly fine and very innovative - I applaud you. It's nice to be able to improvise and use what you have on hand instead of rushing off to the store. I'm happy to hear that this recipe satisfied your craving and hope you'll enjoy your next iteration even more. Ania
Patricia Raven:
Hi Ania, I have been vegan for 5 years. I cook extensively and am frequently trying new recipes. I have cooked a number of great recipes from your site, all of which have been great. This vegan larb recipe is exceptionally good. It has a great texture and flavor. The browned rice gives it a wonderful crunch and flavor. It is definitely going into my permanent vegan collection of recipes. Thank you
    Thank you for your kind words, Patricia. I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed my recipe and plan to make it again. Stay safe! Ania
We made this laab today! Thank you so much - it was really superb! Substituted lemon juice for lime and maple syrup for sugar. Also served it with raw courgetti tossed in lemon juice, salt and oil.
It transported us back to happy holidays in Laos visiting our daughter who lived there for a couple of years.
Will be following you closely from now on! xx
    Thanks, Liz! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed my vegan take on larb and that it brought back some happy holiday memories - especially right now! Stay safe! x Ania
This looks delicious, I love Thai food. But could I use tofu rather than tempeh? I can't stand the stuff. Thanks :)
    It will have a different texture but I reckon it will still be nice. It may be a good idea to crumble it with your hands so that you get a nicer texture. Hope that helps! Ania
Thank you, this was so good! It was also surprisingly straightforward, when I first read the recipe I thought it seemed like it would require more time than it did. Thank you so much, the flavours are really great, this will definitely become a regular use for tempeh in my house.
    My pleasure, Noa! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
Thank you for the recipe, it looks great and I'm going to give it a go tonight! Was just curious as to what the ground rice does in this recipe? Have never come across this before:)
    Hi Ruta,
    That's great, I hope you'll enjoy it. It adds nutty flavour and crunch! It's a traditional Laotian ingredient. Ania
Hi Ania,
Great recipe! It reminded me so much of my trip to south east asia. The flavours are spot on. Keep those Original recipes coming!
Best regards from snow Netherlands
    Thanks so much, Judith! I'm delighted to hear that! x Ania
Join our mailing list and we we will let you know when we publish a new recipe. You'll receive our DELIGHTFUL DESSERTS E‑BOOK as a thank you for supporting us.