Vegetarian Vegetable Tempura Recipe

Homemade vegetable tempura
Homemade vegetable tempura photo by Getty Images
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
Ratings (25)

Wondering if you can make your own homemade Japanese vegetable tempura at home? Japanese vegetable tempura is a popular vegetarian choice when eating at a Japanese restaurant, as most places will have a vegetable tempura on the menu. Tempura is deep-fried and battered vegetables. Seems simple enough to try making your own at home, right? Well it is, but there's a few things you need to know in order to have your vegetable tempura turn out light, crispy and perfect, just like the kind you get at Japanese restaurants. 

If you'd like to try making a vegetarian tempura recipe at home, this is an easy vegetarian and vegan recipe to try, but first, here's a couple tempura secrets to help you out: First, use a cake flour, if you have some on hand or if you want the most authentic Japanese tempura possible. The cake flour, which is lower in protein than regular flour, will keep your vegetable tempura just a little lighter and fluffier. Another quick tip? Try not to over mix the batter. And finally, some people suggest adding a bit of sesame oil into the vegetable oil just to add a bit of extra Asian flavor. I usually don't think this is needed, but if you do, give it a try and see if you like the extra taste. 

As for the vegetables, my own favorite vegan tempura ingredient is lightly pre-steamed sweet potatoes, but you can really use just about anything: mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli or zucchini. 

If you like exploring different types of foods, you may also want to try out more vegetarian and vegan Japanese recipe ideas here.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup flour (use cake flour if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Oil for frying (use vegetable oil or another high-heat oil such as corn oil or canola oil)
  • Chopped mixed veggies, any kind

How to Make It

  1. First, prepare your vegetables so they are ready to go. You'll need about 2-3 cups vegetables, chopped to be about bite-sized. Lightly steamed sweet potatoes and yams are also a great option in a vegetarian tempura. 
  2. Next, once your vegetables are prepared, combine together the flour, salt, sugar and the baking powder. Slowly add in the oil and water until the mixture becomes fully smooth and creamy. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  1. When you're ready to cook your tempura, heat several inches of vegetable oil in a wok or in a large frying pan over high heat. Dip the vegetables in the batter, then drop in the oil.
  2. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

That's it! Enjoy your easy homemade vegetarian and vegan tempura!

Like making vegetarian and vegan Japanese food at home? Here are a few more recipes you might want to try: