Sharon's new book California Vegan is available for pre-order now!

Gado-Gado, Indonesian Tempeh Salad

Sharon Palmer

Have you ever tried gado-gado? It is a very traditional Indonesian dish that literally means “mix-mix”, because it’s all about combining a variety of colorful, vibrant vegetables into a fresh, crunchy salad, and topping it with seasoned tempeh and a flavorful peanut sauce. Gado-gado is a very popular recipe in Indonesia, with each region and cook having their own favorite version. The two key ingredients of this dish are the colorful array of fresh veggies, and the generous serving of rich peanut sauce. This is more than just a drizzle of dressing—scoop up a good portion of that peanut sauce to blend into the salad.

I spied gado-gado in a vegetarian cookbook years ago, and it’s been on my list to try for years. I did some research on common ways to prepare this recipe, since I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Indonesia yet. I am certainly not an expert in Indonesian food, and I enjoy the work of cookbook author Lara Lee, who writes beautifully about Indonesian Food in her cookbook Coconut & Sambal.  My version is completely plant-based (vegan) and focuses on tempeh—itself a traditional fermented Indonesian soy and grain food that’s a favorite in my kitchen. I also offer a variety of traditional veggies that you would likely find in a gado-gado in Indonesia, but don’t be afraid to experiment with the vegetables. You can swap some out for those that you have on hand or prefer.

Another thing that is great about this recipe: You can encourage interaction and participation by allowing your dinner guests to build their salad the way they like it! Just put all of your veggies and tempeh on a platter, put the sauce in a serving bowl, and let them build away! It’s also a great meal prep dish, too. Make sure to allow for leftovers! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

Slice tempeh into triangles, and marinate with a sauce of soy sauce, agave, sriracha, and lemon juice before browning it in a skillet.
Gado-gado is all about the rich peanut sauce. Just sauté onions with garlic and ginger in a bit of oil, then add peanut butter, water, lemon juice, agave, soy sauce and cayenne pepper to make this vibrant sauce.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare your veggies. Cook the potatoes and slice all of your veggies into bite size pieces.


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares icon

Gado-Gado, Indonesian Tempeh Salad

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(4 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This traditional Indonesian dish means “mix-mix”—it’s all about mixing together a vibrant assortment of fresh vegetables, marinated tempeh, and a flavorful, rich peanut sauce.



Marinated Tempeh:

Peanut Sauce:


  • 3 medium, yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 3 cups leafy greens (i.e., spinach, kale, bok choy)
  • ¼ small head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large radish, thinly shaved
  • 1 small head broccoli, broken into pieces
  • 1 ½ cups snow peas, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into matchstick strips
  • 1 ½ cup sprouts (alfalfa, mung, radish)

Garnish (optional):

  • Basil, mint leaves


  1. This recipe has overlapping steps, so start with the tempeh, and while it is marinating, get your peanut sauce cooking, and while that is cooking, prepare the potatoes and your veggies.
  2. Make Marinated Tempeh by mixing together soy sauce, agave syrup, sriracha sauce, and lemon juice in a shallow dish.
  3. Slice each block of tempeh into 4 squares, horizontally. Slice each of those squares into diagonal halves to make triangles. There should be a total of 16 triangles.
  4. Place the tempeh into the shallow dish with the marinade and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, while you prepare the remaining ingredients for the recipe.
  5. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat, and place the marinated tempeh triangles in the skillet. Pour remaining marinade over the tempeh in the skillet. Cook the tempeh until it is golden brown on one side, turn and cook the remaining side until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  6. Make the Peanut Sauce by adding oil to a medium pot and heating it. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and bay leaf and sauté, stirring frequently, for 12 minutes, until onions are very soft. Add the peanut butter, water, agave syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice, white vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth and thickened (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Add the potatoes to a small pot of boiling water, and cook just until tender, but firm (about 15-20 minutes). Drain and cool.
  8. Prepare all of the other vegetables and divide and arrange them in 6 large individual salad bowls, or on one large platter for self-service. Start with the leafy greens as the foundation of the salad bowl, then add cabbage, slices of bell pepper, radish slices, broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and sprouts.
  9. Arrange cooled cooked potatoes and tempeh triangles over vegetables.
  10. Drizzle sauce (about 1/3 cup each) over salad, or place in a serving container for self-service.
  11. Garnish (optional) with basil and mint leaves.


This recipe calls for raw vegetables, but you may choose to steam some (i.e., broccoli, carrots, snow peas) until crisp-tender, according to your preference. Try to swap out other vegetables, as desired, such as: enoki mushrooms, green beans, snow peas, summer squash, and cucumbers.

To make this recipe gluten-free use gluten-free soy sauce and tempeh.
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Indonesian, American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 549
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 470 mg
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 51 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 27 g

Keywords: vegan entree, indonesian entree, vegan indonesian food

For other plant-based cultural inspired dishes, check out:

Thai Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl
Easy Vegetable Tofu Bibimbap Skillet
Vegetable Tofu Pancit

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *