Baked marinated tempeh

October 25, 2021 at 9:13 pm (F (0 stars, inedible), Other, Tempeh) ()

This is another recipe from the cookbook Whole Food Cooking Every Day. I’m not a big tempeh fan, but Derek and Alma like it. They usually just buy pre-seasoned tempeh (the coriander cumin one) and eat it pan-fried for breakfast, so I thought it would be nice to add another tempeh recipe to our repertoire.

I decided to start with the base marinated tempeh recipe. It has you steam the tempeh for 5 minutes, then bake the tempeh in a marinade of apple juice, orange juice, coconut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.

The recipe says to cover the baking dish with parchment paper and then foil, which I totally missed, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Even though I forgot to cover it, the final tempeh was extremely soft and limp. I couldn’t eat it, and Alma didn’t like it either. Derek thought it was reasonably tasty, although it would be better crispy. He polished off the whole dish over several days.

When I’ve made baked tempeh before it’s always gotten more crispy. Maybe I should have cooked it longer until all the liquid evaporated? Or maybe it’s just too much liquid? (2 cups of juice + 1/4 cup soy sauce and vinegar). I should compare it to my other baked tempeh recipes.

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Star anise-glazed tempeh with stir-fried peppers and red cabbage

February 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Chinese, Cruciferous rich, Deborah Madison, Tempeh)

Deborah Madison says that this stir-fry is one of the tastiest ways she’s found to cook tempeh.   And since Derek loves tempeh, and I’m normally less of a fan, I decided to give it a try.   The technique was new for me.  The tempeh is soaked in a hot marinade for a few minutes, and then briefly and lightly pan-fried, after which it’s glazed with a bit more of the marinade.  Then the peppers and cabbage are cooked with garlic and ginger and scallions and the rest of the marinade.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Two recipes from The Vegetarian Table Thailand

September 20, 2012 at 10:46 am (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Other, Tempeh, Tofu, unrated)

I’ve made a number of excellent recipes from the cookbook The Vegetarian Table: France, and so last time I was at Half Price books in Austin I picked up some more books from the same series:  Thailand, Japan, and Mexico.  This week I finally got a chance to try two recipes from the Thailand book (by Jacki Passmore).  I told Derek I wanted something relatively easy, and he picked out a recipe for cauliflower and beans in coconut and peanut sauce, and one for a tempeh stir-fry with red bell peppers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook

July 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm (Grains, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Tempeh, unrated)

I really liked the tagine recipe that I made from the Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook last week, so I decided to try a few other recipes.  Brief notes are below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Curried potatoes and peas with tempeh

March 7, 2012 at 11:58 pm (101 cookbooks, B_minus (2.5 stars), Derek's faves, Indian, Spring recipes, Starches, Tempeh, Winter recipes)

I bought some tempeh but didn’t feel like making one of my tempeh standbys.  I wanted to try a new tempeh recipe.  I’d never tried including tempeh in an Indian recipe before, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I found a recipe for tempeh curry on the 101cookbooks site.  It’s a pretty basic recipe.  You make a simple curry sauce out of a base of butter, onions, tomatoes and spices, then add in the tempeh and some steamed potatoes, simmer until tender, and garnish with cilantro. Read the rest of this entry »

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Southern blackened tempeh with tomato-apricot-ginger coulis

June 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Ron Pickarski, Tempeh)

This recipe is also from Friendly Foods, but from the last chapter—recipes that won medals in the Culinary Olympics.  I decided to make it because it called for soysage, which I was trying to figure out what to do with.  Pickarski says that if you don’t have soysage on hand you can use Fantastic Foods instant black bean mix instead.  I imagine homemade refried black beans would also work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quinoa with brussels sprouts, tempeh, and toasted almonds

March 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Fall recipes, Grains, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

I’ve been eying this recipe in Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast for quite a while now.  I love brussels sprouts and I’m always looking for new tempeh recipes.  The recipe is basically a stir-fry.  You saute onion and caraway seeds, add tempeh and a sliced bell pepper, then toss in the halved brussels sprouts, water, soy sauce, and mirin.  The stir-fry is served over quinoa and sprinkled with toasted almonds and a squirt of lemon juice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another tempeh “bacon” recipe

November 18, 2009 at 1:38 am (101 cookbooks, breakfast, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh, unrated)

After my disappointment in Heidi Swanson’s orange tempeh, one of my blog readers suggested I try her tempeh bacon recipe.  My friend Alex contributed the canned chipotles, and I bought the last two packs of tempeh at the local Asian store.  The recipe says to marinate at least a couple of hours, but we only let the tempeh marinage for about 20 minutes while we prepared the rest of dinner.  We decided to cut the oil slightly (4 Tbs. in a double batch).   I included one whole chipotle chile in my 3 Tbs. of adobo spice, because we like things spicy.

  • 1 pound tempeh
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup  soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (I included 1 whole chile in my 6 Tbs.)

The tempeh turned out very well.  I was worried about all that oil and soy sauce, but it wasn’t too salty or oily or spicy.  I would venture to say that the flavoring was just right.

It actually didn’t taste that different than  Peter Berley’s barbecued tempeh recipe, which Derek and I have made (a variant of) countless times.  I compared the recipes, and Berley calls for more oil (1/2 cup), more maple syrup (1/3 cup), more vinegar (1/2 cup), uses chipotle powder instead of adobo, and adds cumin, thyme, and paprika as well.  My typical modified version of Berley’s recipe is actually even more similar to Heidi’s, as I cut the oil and maple syrup down (and also the soy sauce).  Also Berley’s recipe is baked not pan-fried.  I think I prefer Heidi’s less acidic version, but chipotle powder is certainly more convenient here in Germany where canned chipotles don’t exist.  I’d like to do a head to head comparison of the recipes to really see how the flavor profiles differ.  If I can get my hands on some liquid smoke, maybe I’ll do a three-way taste test, and throw in Isa’s tempeh bacon recipe, which gets the smoke flavor from liquid smoke rather than chipotles.  It calls for even more vinegar than Berley’s (2/3 cup), but less oil (1/4 cup), and less soy sauce (6 Tbs.).  It also adds a bit of tomato paste and crushed garlic.


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Autumn tempeh and winter vegetable stew

October 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Starches, Tempeh)

I felt a little guilty that I criticized this recipe when I deviated so much from the instructions, so I added it to my list of “to try again” recipe. But I wasn’t in a particular rush to make it again until friends of mine (who bought the cookbook on my recommendation) started raving about it. They don’t read this blog, and so their attempt and opinion were both entirely independent of my own. When they started gushing about how good the recipe was, I decided I had to try it again. Derek tried to discourage me from making it when we had company over, but I could not be dissuaded.

This time I made every effort to follow the recipe exactly. I used my heavy, cast iron, 6-quart dutch oven. I used all the butter and oil and soy sauce, and I added the kombu and scallions this time. I used just rosemary, but put in more than last time (I’m still not sure exactly what a “sprig” is.) I used butternut squash instead of Kuri since we disliked the Kuri squash so much the last time. I again forgot to make the pilaf, however.

I was cooking with my friend Alex, and we made sure to bring the mixture to a boil before putting it in the oven. Yet when we pulled it out of the oven the vegetables were still undercooked, and even raw in places. My only possible explanation is that we didn’t actually bring it to a full boil. So I put it back on the stove, added another 1/2 cup of water, and this time left it until steam was pouring out underneath the lid. I put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. At this point everything was cooked, but there was surprisingly little liquid (even after adding the final cup of water + soy sauce at the end). It certainly didn’t seem to be a stew, and it didn’t taste like it had been “simmering on the stovetop all day”, as Berley claimed. The overall flavor was much better than my previous attempt, however. I attribute this mostly to the extra fat and salt and rosemary. It tasted a little like gravy/Thanksgiving, but the ginger and soy sauce and kombu gave it a slightly Asian attitude.

Still, however, I was disappointed in the vegetables. The butternut squash (despite being cut in 2-inch pieces), was almost falling apart. I thought the thick, wormy onion rings were kind of disgustingly slimy. The carrots and parsnips held their shape, but they weren’t nearly as tasty as roasted carrots and parsnips. Again, they almost tasted boiled/steamed. I really prefer them caramelized and roasted. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to eat the Kombu or not. Derek tried a piece and said it didn’t taste like much–a mild seaweed flavor.

Even after all my corrections, Derek wasn’t too excited about the dish, but then he said “well I must like it more than I thought because I want seconds”. He gave it a B rating, but he wasn’t too interested in the leftovers. I’d give it a B-. It tasted okay, but I’m pretty sure I won’t make this recipe again.  I’d just rather have all those yummy winter veggies roasted, or use them to make a nice, country Thai stew.  In fact, I couldn’t eat the leftovers at all–I ended up tossing them.  Something about the dish gives me the heebie jeebies.   I might, however, try just cooking the tempeh on the stove top with ginger and garlic and rosemary and soy sauce, and then serving it with roasted veggies.

Original post: Oct 3, 2009

Fall is here, and parsnips and winter squash are finally in the stores again!  I decided to celebrate by trying this recipe from the fall section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.

In a medium dutch oven you melt together butter and oil, then add kombu, garlic, ginger, and rosemary or sage.  On top of this seasoning layer you place 1 pound of tempeh cubes.  The tempeh is then covered with a mixture of water, soy sauce, and maple syrup.  Then come the remaining layers:  onions, winter squash, parsnip, and carrots, all cut into thick slices or chunks.  The casserole is covered, and the stew is brought to a boil, then transferred to a 400 degree oven where it bakes for 25 minutes.  Once everything is cooked, the vegetables and tempeh are transferred to a serving bowl, and a mixture of arrowroot and water and soy sauce is mixed in with the juices remaining in the pan, to make a sort of gravy.  The vegetables are topped with the sauce and some scallions, and served over a bulgur and buckwheat pilaf.

I didn’t have any kombu, so I just left it out.  I cut the olive oil by half, the butter by 25%, and used less soy sauce.  I didn’t make the pilaf since I felt like the dish had plenty of starchy vegetables already.  I used rosemary for the herb, and Hokkaido (red kuri) for the winter squash. I forgot the scallions.  Otherwise I followed the recipe’s ingredients exactly.

The first mistake I made was using a 3 quart casserole pan.  I only have a 6 quart dutch oven, and that seemed too large.  But the 3 quart pan was not large enough.  Once all the veggies were layered in the lid couldn’t quite close.  I tried cooking it anyway, with the lid mostly closed, but after 25 minute the parsnips were still hard in spots, so I left it in the oven for a while longer, maybe another 15 minutes.

In the end the vegetables were definitely cooked, but they tasted more like boiled vegetables than roasted ones.  The onions were particularly slimy and unappealing.  The starchy vegetables weren’t overly soft, just bland and not very flavorful.  The Hokkaido was particularly unpleasant–overly dry and starchy tasting.  Maybe I should have added more salt, but I don’t think that alone would have been transformed the vegetables from unappetizing to delicious.   I can’t imagine that Berley intended the vegetables to come out as they did.  They were just too gross.  Could I have really screwed up the recipe somehow?

Despite the dish’s name, the final product was not anything like a stew.  There were only about 1.5 cups of sauce for almost 3 quarts of vegetables–not even close to a stew in my book.

The tempeh wasn’t bad. It had absorbed all the fat (the vegetables didn’t get any), and was sweet (from the maple syrup and veggie juices) and salty (from the soy sauce).  Plus the garlic and ginger added lots of flavor.  However, I couldn’t taste the rosemary.

Derek and I ended up eating all the tempeh out of the “stew”, and then I pureed the vegetables together to make a creamy soup.  I added some spices and the soup tasted okay, but not great.

Stew: D

Tempeh: B-

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Fusion chipotle salsa soy stir-fry

August 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm (East and SE Asia, My brain, Summer recipes, Tempeh, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

Last night I was emptying out my fridge in preparation for my upcoming trip to Scotland, and I was trying to figure out what to do with about 1/3 cup of leftover chipotle salsa.  Good salsa is rare around here, so I didn’t want to just toss it.  But good salsa doesn’t seem to last that long, and I was pretty sure it would be moldy by the time I got back from my trip.  The salsa was a quite thick, cooked-style salsa, and visually it reminded me a little of a Thai chile sauce.  Derek was making sesame noodles with broccoli and cucumber for dinner, so I decided to make a stirfry with the salsa and what I found in the fridge:  4 ounces of tempeh, 2 small zucchinis, and a big bag of green beans.  I made a stir-fry sauce out of the chipotle salsa, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and a spoonful of maple syrup.  It was really tasty!  It didn’t really taste fusion–the Mexican flavors in the salsa faded away in comparison to the Asian kick from the soy sauce.  But everyone seemed to like it a lot, and it was an easy way to make a tasty stir fry sauce.

I used a still-oily non-stick skillet to crisp up the tempeh and green beans.  (I julienned the tempeh first.)  Then when the tempeh and green beans started to brown I poured in the stir-fry sauce, which I had watered down so that the tempeh would have some liquid to cook in.  I added the zucchini, which I had cut into thin planks, and covered to cook everything through.  When the green beans were tender-crisp I took off the lid and led the sauce cook down until it was more of a glaze.  I sprinkled the dish with fresh cilantro before serving.   Delicious.  I’d definitely make this “recipe” again.

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Orange pan-glazed tempeh

August 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm (101 cookbooks, F (0 stars, inedible), Tempeh)

I was looking for a tempeh dish that would go well with spring rolls, and decided to try the recipe for orange pan-glazed tempeh that’s on the 101 cookbooks blog.  The pictures look pretty, and Heidi says “This might be the best tempeh recipe I’ve highlighted to date.”  Based on that strong recommendation, I decided I had to try it.

The recipe was disappointing.  The instructions work, and everything cooks just as specified, but my friend Alex and I both thought that the tempeh was simply boring.  I could definitely taste the orange juice, but that was pretty much the only flavor that stood out.  The ginger didn’t come through, I couldn’t taste the coriander seeds, nor could I detect any lime.  It pretty much just tasted like fried tempeh cooked in orange juice.  Plus,  the recipe is pretty high calorie.  I followed the instructions exactly, except I didn’t have mirin so used rice vinegar instead.  I can’t imagine that 1.5 Tablespoons of mirin could have really made that much of a difference.  If anything, I thought the recipe was too sweet and needed more vinegar/acid, not less.  I don’t think I’d make this recipe again, but if I was going to, I’d probably at least double the amounts of all the seasonings, and maybe cut down the maple syrup and add more soy sauce.

Rating: C

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Moroccan tempeh tagine with spring vegetables

June 4, 2009 at 1:59 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, Grains, Middle East / N. Africa, Peter Berley, Spring recipes, Tempeh, Yearly menu plan)

I finally found tempeh in Saarbrücken.  I’m so excited!  It’s a beautiful tempeh too:  big and fat and covered in a soft white layer that looks almost like paper.  I tried to take it off at first before I realized it was part of the tempeh.  Rather than use the tempeh in one of our old tempeh recipes, we decide to try a new one from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  We chose one of the spring menus:  charmoula baked tempeh with vegetable couscous.  Apparently charmoula is a spicy Moroccan marinade.  Derek was worried, as he claims not to like Moroccan food but I thought the combination of spices looked good. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tempeh Bacon

September 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm (F (0 stars, inedible), Isa C. Moskowitz, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

Having never eaten bacon, I don’t have to worry about this recipe living up to any preconceived notions. The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance.

  • 3 Tbs. Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil or vegetable oil
  1. To make the marinade combine the soy sauce, cider, tomato paste and liquid smoke in a wide, shallow bowl or pan and mix with a fork until the tomato paste is fully dissolved.
  2. Cut the tempeh into thin strips (less than 1/4 inch thick) lengthwise. You should be able to get about 12 strips. Rub the strips with the crushed garlic, then toss the garlic cloves into the marinade. Submerge the tempeh strips in the marinade and let sit, for at least an hour and up to overnight. After marinating, discard the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in an 11 or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh strips and cook for 4 minutes on one side; the bottom should be nicely browned. Flip the strips over and pour the remainder of the marinade over them. If there isn’t much marinade left add a splash of water. Cover and let cook for 3 more minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and check for doneness; if necessary keep cooking uncovered until all sides are nicely browned. Remove from heat and serve.

My Notes:

In writing this up I just realized I misread the cider as cider vinegar. No wonder it seemed like it needed some sweetener. I only used 2 Tbs. of full sodium soy sauce, and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. I cooked the tempeh in my 9-inch cast iron skillet, which was a bit crowded. The final tempeh had a very delicate yet toothsome texture which I enjoyed, and almost no “tempeh” flavor that I don’t care for so much. I can’t imagine this is what bacon tastes like however. On a pita bread with sliced tomato and lettuce I found the tempeh too bland. Maybe with the cider and the extra soy sauce and oil it would have been better? I’ll have to try it again, but I think I’ll wait til Derek comes in case I don’t like it that much. Tempeh here in Montreal is $4 for 8 ounces! That’s alot to waste on a dish you don’t care for all that much. (Anyone know where to get tempeh for less in Montreal?)

A day later the tempeh had more “tempeh flavor.”

Update January 5, 2008: I made this recipe again, properly this time, for Derek.  The only issue was that I had white wave tempeh which comes in very square blocks so you can’t really cut it into long strips, and I had trouble even getting  8 slices, nevermind 12.  I fried it in the full amount of oil and it came out extremely greasy.  I took one bite and that was enough: the flavor was too in-your-face, and the amount of oil was overpowering.  I served it to Derek anyway, and he liked it quite a bit, eating it plain for breakfast with a half a grapefruit and some leftover celery root salad.

Rating: D

Derek: B

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Apple Mustard Tempeh

December 3, 2006 at 12:17 am (B_(3 stars, like), Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

This recipe makes a great sandwich filling. Just spread your bread with tahini or mustard, and top with sauerkraut and lettuce. It’s based on a recipe in Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Barbecued Tempeh

November 19, 2006 at 6:42 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

This recipe makes an excellent sandwich filling, that is savory and just a bit spicy. However, don’t expect a traditional barbecue sauce. It’s based on a recipe in the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley.

Makes 8 servings (each serving is a 1/4 block of tempeh). As a main dish, 2 servings might be more appropriate.


  • 1 pound tempeh (2 8-ounce packages)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves, dried


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour all the ingredients except the tempeh in an 8×11 baking pan, and mix well.
  3. Slice each block in half crosswise. Then very carefully slice through the width of each rectangle to make the pieces thinner. The resulting pieces should be about 4in x 5in x .25in (check this!). If you’re not going to use these for sandwiches, you can cut them into smaller finger sized pieces.
  4. Place the tempeh pieces into the baking pan, and tilt the pan to coat the tops of all the pieces. Ideally the tempeh will form a single layer and will be covered by the marinade.
  5. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated, and just left a sticky but slightly wet goo. You may want to flip the tempeh halfway through if the top is getting dry.

My Notes

We often don’t have the thyme leaves, and it doesn’t taste any different. I think to taste the thyme we might need to double the amount. This recipe calls for 1/2 the oil and soy sauce, and 3/4 of the maple syrup of the original recipe, but I think it’s plenty rich, salty, and sweet. I might even experiment with reducing the oil a bit more. I also eliminated the bowl used to mix the sauce–why dirty another bowl when you can mix it just fine in the baking pan? I love it on Ezekiel bread with a bit of soy mayonnaise and topped with sauerkraut. Add a side of vegetables or fruit and it makes a filling and delicious lunch.

Update Feb 2007: I used 3 blocks (1.5 pounds) of tempeh rather than two, but kept the oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup amounts the same. I multiplied all the other ingredients by 1.5. The tempeh didn’t really fit in the 8×11 baking pan–if I make 3 blocks again I will use a 9×13 pan instead. The tempeh turned out pretty well. Both Derek and I thought it was plenty sweet and plenty rich, but I (but not Derek!) thought it could possibly be a tad saltier. It really didn’t take that long to cook. I flipped it after 15 or 20 minutes, and after another 15 minutes it was pretty much done. With the modifications, each 1/4 block has about 167 calories.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-

Serving Size: 1/4 block

Amount Per Serving
Calories 197
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 1.7g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 369mg
Carbohydrate 17.9g
Dietary Fiber 7.4g
Sugars 6.9g
Protein 12.2g
Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 9% Iron 16%

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Tempeh Meatballs

September 19, 2006 at 5:54 am (F (0 stars, inedible), My brain, Tempeh)

A long time ago, when Soba (in Pittsburgh) was still doing Vegetarian nights once a week, Derek had a dish with tempeh meatballs that he adored. He’s wanted me to try to recreate them and here was my first attempt.

1.5 cups onion
16 ounces tempeh
1 Tbs. olive oil
6 Tbs. yogurt
2 Tbs. water
2 pieces bran for life bread
1 Tbs. chopped garlic
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1.5 Tbs. soy sauce
fresh pepper to taste
4 Tbs chopped parsley, fresh
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. thyme, dried
1/2 tsp. oregano, dried
2 Tbs. shallots, dried
1 egg

I sauted the onion and tempeh togther, then added them and the rest of the ingredients to the food processor. Actually, I started out with fewer ingredients and seasonings and tasted the batter and it just tasted overwhelmingly of tempeh. I kept adding more ingredients in an attempt to make it taste more complex, but no matter what I added it seemed the tempeh flavor dominated entirely. Derek tasted the batter and said it tasted good to him though. The batter was extremely thick, and I was worried that when I cooked the balls in the oven they would end up very dried out. That didn’t happen exactly. I baked them on an oil cookie sheet, and the texture remained exactly the same in the inside, with the outside getting just a tiny bit crisp. I think in the future I shouldn’t puree all the ingredients–the batter should be a bit more varied and rough, and that way not so dense.

I really wasn’t that fond of this recipe, but Derek enjoyed it with the tofu balls over pasta with tomato sauce. Later, in a desperate fit of hunger, I crumbled up some of the batter I had cooked into “burgers” into my leftover pasta primavera, and I actually thought it added a nice flavor. But maybe I was just starving. In any case, I’m still looking for a really good tempeh meatball recipe for Derek.

Rating: C
Derek: B

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Okra and Onions

September 8, 2006 at 10:14 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Quick weeknight recipe, Seitan, Summer recipes, Tempeh, Vegetable dishes)

This is a simple but tasty Pakistani dish based on a recipe in the cookbook From Curries to Kabobs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail by Madhur Jaffrey.  The original recipe was tasty but very oily and salty.  I reduced the oil and salt and increased the vegetable quantities.

Makes 2 main-dish servings and 4 side-dish servings.

  • 1 pound fresh okra, cleaned and very dry, with tops removed and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 2 small red onions (about 3 ounces each), sliced into fine half-rings
  • 2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 whole hot dried red chili, broken in half, seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt or scant 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro
  1. Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the okra.  Fry, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes, or until the okra is very lightly browned on all sides. Add the onions. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the onions, too, begin to brown.
  2. While the vegetables cook make the spice mixture: Put the coriander seeds and chili in a clean coffee or spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder (or use a mortar and pestle). Add the turmeric and salt and pulse once to mix.
  3. When the onions are ready, add the spice mixture. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes. Taste for a balance of seasonings and sprinkle the cilantro over the top.

My notes

I used 2 Tbs. of oil (rather than Jaffrey’s 3 Tbs.) and 12 ounces of okra (as Jaffrey’s recipe calls for), and found the finished dish a bit too greasy.  Also, I think 3/4 of a pound of okra is not quite enough, and I might increase it to a whole pound. Likewise, a 3 ounce onion is tiny. I used 6 ounces. I also found 3/4 tsp. kosher salt to be a bit too much. Derek liked it of course, but I thought the amount of salt could be cut slightly, to slightly more than a 1/2 tsp.

The okra was starting to burn even with regular stirring after only 7 minutes, so rather than waiting the full 10 minutes Jaffrey recommends, I added the onions, and only cooked them for about 3 more minutes. The okra was a bit crisp–Derek and I both thought the texture was quite nice, certainly preferable to the cooked-to-death texture of bhindi in typical Indian restaurants.

Overall, we really enjoyed this dish. Halving the okra lengthwise was a new idea for me, and it made a very pretty presentation, with the plump okra seeds getting their 5 minutes of fame. The flavors were simple but very tasty, and authentic tasting. This is certainly a dish I’ll be adding to my repertoire.

Rating: B+
Derek: A-

Update August 18, 2009:  I tried adding 6 ounces of thinly sliced tempeh to this recipe, to make it more of a one pot meal.  I heated 2 Tbs. of peanut oil, then threw the tempeh in before the okra.  Unfortunately, the tempeh immediately soaked up all the oil, so when I added the okra it didn’t cook very well. My 12-inch skillet was extremely full (certainly not one layer), and the vegetables touching the bottom were burning and nothing else was cooking.  I had to add another 2 tsp. of oil to get it to cook.  Still, a number of the larger okra pieces never got cooked.  Because of the extra bulk from the tempeh I increased the coriander amount to 1 Tbs., and used 2 dried chiles, and 3/4 tsp. kosher salt.  It was quite salty (next time I’d use 2/3 tsp. kosher salt), and just a tad powdery.  The combination of the tempeh and okra was okay–it certainly looked pretty, but the tempeh wasn’t all that flavorful.  If I try this again, I will definitely cut the amount of tempeh and okra down, or cook it in two batches, and add the okra not the tempeh first.

Update Oct 3, 2009:  I used 2 Tbs. of olive oil, a full pound of okra, 3 oz. onions, and 3/4 tsp. kosher salt.  The okra was oily but not too greasy, and just a tad too salty for me (perfect for Derek).  When I added the onion I also added about 1 ounce of julienned seitan (Kittee’s).  Unlike the last tempeh fiasco, the seitan didn’t really effect the recipe.  The flavors didn’t blend, exactly, but the seitan tasted fine.  If I wanted a real one-pot dinner I might add more seitan next time:  maybe 3-4 ounces.  Other than being just a tad salty, and not having enough onions, I think the recipe was close to perfect. The only change I might make next time is to sprinkle on a little amchoor powder at the end.  I think this would make a lovely dinner with a side of dal and some raita.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117
Total Fat 7.1g
Saturated Fat 0.9g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 303mg
Carbohydrate 12.9g
Dietary Fiber 4.7g
Sugars 4g
Protein 3.1g
Vitamin A 11% Vitamin C 72%
Calcium    11% Iron 7%

The macro breakdown:  49% from fat, 10% protein, 41% carbs.

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Jerk Tempeh

August 24, 2006 at 8:09 am (Caribbean, F (0 stars, inedible), Other, Tempeh)

Derek loves jerk seasoning, so I was excited when I found a recipe for jerk tempeh in the cookbook Some Like it Hot by Robin Robertson, a vegetarian cookbook for people who love spicy, hot food. But the recipe didn’t work out so well.

It called for boiling the tempeh for ten minutes, then sauteeing with oil for 10 minutes, then adding the spices. But the oil was absorbed into the tempeh after just a few minutes. By the time I finally added the jerk seasoning the pan was totally hot and the tempeh dry, and the seasoning didn’t stick, just fell to the bottom and sort of burnt. But Derek still liked it once I added okra and tomatoes to save it. He said he could taste the jerk seasoning, but I couldn’t. I’m going to have to try it again with a better technique next time. I’d love a better recipe for Jerk Tempeh. Anyone have one?

Rating: D

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Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 8:04 am (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Miso, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet, Vegetable dishes)

My friend gave me this tempeh recipe from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.

Tempeh Stir-Fry with Ginger and Lemon


2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. light-colored miso
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (button mushrooms also okay if you can’t find crimini)
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
8 oz. soy tempeh, cubed
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained

In a medium bowl, whisk the conrstarch into 1 cup water. Add the lemon juice, honey, miso, soy sauce, and ginger, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir and saute for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms, broccoli, tempeh, and water chestnuts. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Each will have: 285 calories, 9 g fat, 16 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol.

My friend’s notes
I had to double the honey because it was so lemony, and I also substituted snow peas for water chestnuts (just because I wanted to). It came out pretty well, but not stellar.

My notes

I made a similar looking stirfry years ago from the same authors but from the cookbook The Vegan Gourmet that had what seems like 3 times as many ingredients. I never made it again because it was a lot of work but I remember it after all these years because it was probably the best stirfy I’ve ever made (I’m not so good at stir-frying). This one looks similar but more manageable. I wonder if it will be as good?

Okay, I tried it and thought it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as excellent as I remembered from my version of the recipe, however, so I dug out my cookbook to see what was different in the “gourmet” version, and the biggest differences I noticed was that the 15-minute version used 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup rather than the 2 Tbs. honey (a sweetener) and mirin (which is also sweet). I enjoyed the lemon flavor, but found it a bit overpowering. It needed something to counter balance it. Derek suggested fish paste or anchovies to give it some depth, but I don’t eat either of those… Derek picked out all the tempeh cuz it was his favorite, and I preferred the vegetables, so we made a good team! Anyhow, I’m not sure if I’ll make it again, but I’ll enjoy it for lunch today 🙂

Update Dec 2006: I tried the original version again.  It’s the recipe above except another Tbs. of canola oil, only 4 ounces of tempeh, only 2 cups mushrooms, a 1/2 pound snow peas, 2 Tbs. mirin, and 3 Tbs. brown rice syrup (I used 2 Tbs. honey).  The consistency of the sauce was very good but it was too sweet, and just not that great.  Derek and I had it for lunch but threw out the leftovers.

Rating: B-

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Tempeh Rancheros (B-)

August 24, 2006 at 7:57 am (breakfast, C (2 stars, okay, edible), Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh, The Vegan Gourmet)

This recipe is from 15-Minute Vegetarian by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.Tempeh Rancheros

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 Tbsp. diced pickled jalapeno pepper
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. pure chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Several grinds black pepper
12 oz. soy tempeh, cut into 1/2 x 3-inch strips
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and cook 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and nestle the tempeh pieces into the sauce. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Just before serving time, wrap the tortillas in a tea towel and heat in a microwave oven until steaming hot, about 1 minute (alternatively, you may toast the tortillas one at a time in a hot, dry skillet or over a gas flame, turning frequently).

Serve the tempeh in shallow bowls with a generous helping of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and nestle folded tortillas in each bowl.

Yield: 4 servings
Each will have: 401 calories; 16 g fat; 21 g protein; 44 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber; 3 mg cholesterol.

My notes:

I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly, since I had all green pepper and no red pepper, and fresh tomatoes rather than canned, but other than that I was pretty close.

Although it was a very pretty dish, with red and yellow tomatoes, green peppers, purple onions, and brown tempeh, the flavors didn’t excite me. The tempeh flavor was very strong, and I typically prefer tempeh when the flavor is more muted. This tasted pretty much like raw tempeh with the other flavors added–it didn’t combine to one new flavor. The veggie, cumin, chili combo was okay, but not exciting to me. I think Derek would have liked it though, since it was a relatively strong flavor combo which he tends to like more than me.

On corn tortillas and topped with salsa, more fresh tomato, and a bit of melted cheddar cheese this dish was reasonably tasty, but by itself I don’t think I would make it again. I preferred my bean rancheros that I posted last week to this dish.

This recipe actually reminds me of a dish I made from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley for a mediterranean style tempeh with tomatoes and olives, that I also didn’t like that much (nor did Derek for that matter).

My favorite tempeh dishes all require baking it in the oven, but I’d love to find a quick stovetop recipe that I really enjoyed. Any suggestions?

Update: I added some Pace Picante Sauce then took the leftovers to work with some corn tortillas and a tomato and thoroughly enjoyed my tacos. Mostly I tasted the crispy corn and the fresh tomatoes, but the tempeh texture was pleasant. Occasionally I got a whiff of something very familiar, but I couldn’t place it–maybe chiliquiles?

Rating: B-

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Raw Southern Greens and Tempeh Salad (B)

August 19, 2006 at 11:18 am (B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Tempeh, Website / blog)

I was looking for a recipe with tempeh and basil and came across this recipe in a blog. I’d been wanting to try raw greens for a while, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

4 curly green or red kale leaves, or a mixture, stems removed
2 collard leaves, stems removed
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne

Chop the kale medium fine and transfer to a mixing bowl. Destem the collards, fold in half lengthwise, and roll tightly like a cigar. Slice into thin strips and chop medium fine. Place in the bowl with the kale and add the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Work the dressing into the greens with your hands. Marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving. Stored in a sealed container, Southern Greens will keep for three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Excerpt from Blogger’s Notes

I didn’t have collards so I just added a little more kale. I also used some really pretty purple basil, cut down the lemon juice to 1.5 tsp and eventually changed it to lime juice (was pretty lemony, I like it better with less), and used a pinch of nice kosher salt. It was good, but it was still kinda less than spectacular. So, … I lightly sauteed up some tempeh, splashed it with soy sauce (would have used sesame oil if I had it, sadly don’t…) and cut it into squares. I pulled out my mortar and pestle and put the torn basil leaves, the garlic, lime juice, salt, and cayenne in the mortar, then mashed it all up. I dumped that on my kale, then poured the oil on top. After mixing it up well, I tossed the tempeh on top, mixed it up, and let it sit for about 3 hours (I made it in the morning for lunch at work.) It was divine! I was surprised what a difference the tempeh made. I don’t know if it was any different because of mashing the seasonings together, but something today was very spectacular, so I recommend you all try it.

My notes

I used half lacinato kale and half collards. I did as the blogger suggested and mashed the garlic and salt and basil in a mortar and pestle. It was kind of hard to get out since it was such a tiny bit so I just threw the ribbons of greens in the mortar as well and mixed them around, them dumped the whole thing in a salad bowl. I followed the rest of the recipe as written, except I was hungry so only let it sit about 10 minutes. I tasted it… Hmm, interesting. Not too hard to chew, a bit grassy but the lemon/olive oil mixed together well and gave it a nice flavor. I couldn’t taste the basil though, so I added another 5 leaves or so. Interesting. I like the basil, although I’m not sure it melds with the green flavors exactly, more like just sort of sits on top and waves. But at this point it kind of tasted like a typical lettuce salad, so I decided to add a medium tomato, diced, since I had one begging to be eaten sitting on the counter. That was nice as well. An unusual but surprisingly familiar tasting salad.

Since the blogger was so enthusiastic about the tempeh, I thought I might as well try it. I heated my little skillet to high, sprayed with canola oil, tossed in 2 ounces of cubed veggie tempeh and tossed it while it browned, then added some mirin and soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to flavor it. Once it was cooked I threw it into the salad. The hot tempeh contrasted nicely with the raw greens, although I don’t think I could really taste the tempeh, it did add a nice contrast in mouthfeel. And it made the dish more substantial. I actually ate the whole thing as a filling and tasty and very healthy lunch.

Rating: B

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