Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Cook with Tempeh (for Spaghetti & Nachos)

Hi greenies, it's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, but I'm excited to share a new gluten-free, vegan staple that has hit this "green" house...tempeh!  Here's how you pronounce it: "temp-eh?" Well, not with a question mark obviously, but that helps me remember how to say it, so you get the idea. Anyways tempeh is basically whole soy beans that have been fermented, with water and rice or sometimes other grains into a cake-like patty.  This "patty" can then be chopped, baked, boiled, or crumbled into a variety of dishes.

Okay so I probably lost you back there at the "fermented part" or maybe the "cake-like patty did you in...but bear with me, there's more to tempeh than meets the eye (or the description). Because tempeh retains the entire soy bean, it also retains more of the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Take that tofu and TVP!

Tempeh's taste is a nutty, earthy, unique flavor, which along with the way it looked when I took it out of the package, scared me a bit. But I'm glad I conquered my fear, because this stuff is good. On top of that it's really quick and easy to make. You don't have to press it like tofu or hydrate it with water like TVP, just crumble it, sauté it, and add some spices or sauce and you're good to go. Perfect for those busy weeknights when you don't want to spend hours slaving away over the stove!

In case you're wondering, a package of tempeh costs about $2-3 a package and I get mine at my local health food store, Nature's Pantry. You could probably find it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's too.  Unfortunately most standard groceries stores don't seem to carry it, if only they knew what they were missing!

Those are actual soy beans that have been fermented (cue the
white-ish stuff) and pressed into a patty. 

Check out a video tutorial of how I cook with tempeh to make a spaghetti sauce and nachos...

No time to watch the video? It's all good, let's break it down with pictures, shall we?

As I said in the video, my favorite way to have tempeh is in a "crumble-like form" similar to ground beef or ground turkey.  I get the tempeh that way by simply giving it a whirl in my food processor for a few seconds. I tried grating it with a grater but it took me forever and all I did was make a mess in my kitchen. I like how the food processor is quick, easy, and no where near as messy!

Ground tempeh that can be used in place of ground
turkey, ground hamburger, or TVP.

From there I like to combine it with 1/2 of a chopped yellow onion, and sauté it until it's brown (several minutes).

I brown it on Med-Hi for 4-5 minutes.

It will look about like this.

This is where the creativity begins because you can have it two different ways, in a "Spaghetti Sauce" or in some yummy "Nachos".

So to start out with: 1 pkg of tempeh and 1/2 an onion chopped.

Your tempeh recipe base: 1 pkg. tempeh + 1/2 onion chopped

From there you can make either one of the recipes listed below (or make up your own!)

Meat-less Tempeh Spaghetti

  • 1 pkg. gluten-free brown rice noodles (or any noodle you like)
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pkg. of tempeh
  • 1/2 onion chopped

Ingredients needed: 1 pkg. of noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce.

1. After sautéing the tempeh and onion for about 5 minutes,
reduce the heat to low and add the jar of spaghetti sauce.
Be sure to start your noodles as well.

2. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or as long as you like. I usually
simmer until the noodles are done.

3. Now you are ready to top the cooked noodles with the
tempeh spaghetti sauce.

Chunky "meaty" goodness!

If you're not feeling like a spaghetti dish, skip the sauce and noodles and give this Mexican dish a try! It's very quick and easy and you don't need many ingredients.

Tempeh Nachos (or burritos or tacos!)



Ingredients needed.

1. After sautéing the tempeh and chopped onion on
Med-Hi for 5 minutes or so, add the corn and spices.

2. Saute for another 3-5 minutes until warm. Then serve
on tacos, burritos, or nachos.

I warmed my nachos in the oven at 350 degrees for about
5-6 minutes.

Then I slid them onto my plate (carefully!) and topped them
with guacamole and salsa.

So delicious and filling.

So those are my two favorite tempeh recipes, what's your favorite way to cook tempeh? I'd like to try out some marinades or boiling it in the future, so if you know of a good one be sure to share it below! Enjoy!

It's Tempeh Time!
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  1. If you could find a way to duplicate the light life fakin bacon (has soy sauce with wheat), we love to make a "bacon" sandwich with homemade chipotle veganaise sauce, tomatoes and lettuce. So yummy!

  2. I love tempeh too and we cook it differently here in Malaysia.I grew up eating this alot and one of my favourite recipe for tempeh is stir fried glass noodle with tempeh, tofu and some green onion.for this recipe u will need to brown some tempeh with some chilli and shallot, then add diced tofu and some soy sauce, lastly add some pre soaked glass noodle and green onion..u can also add tomato paste if u like and if u like anchovies, the dried ones goes really well with this recipe..


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