One of our absolute favorite ingredients to cook with is tempeh. Tempeh is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans. Our favorite tempeh is found right here in Brooklyn, Barry’s Tempeh. Barry makes an organic soy, oats, and barley tempeh that is hands down the best tempeh we have encountered. We pick it up at the farmer’s market and at our local health food store Back to the Land here in Brooklyn and cook with it quite often. We use it as crumbles in a red sauce with pasta or as a topping on a homemade pizza or in a casserole. Most of the time, we slice it, marinade it in a smoke sauce, and serve it along side our favorite greens and grains. Delicious!
When we first started to cook with tempeh, we were wondering why it wasn’t tasting anywhere near as delicious as it was when we ordered it at our favorite restaurants. Then we learned the little secret of steaming or boiling your tempeh to reduce the bitterness before marinading. Finding out this step opened up a whole new world of cooking with tempeh!
To start the process, fill a small sauce pan with water and place on the stove top on a high heat covered. Prepare the tempeh, by slicing the tempeh into about 1/2 to 1 inch wide pieces.
Once the water has come to a boil, add in the tempeh. Boil the tempeh for about 10 minutes uncovered.
While the tempeh is boiling, prepare the marinade. We always use the recipe from Veganomican altering it slightly. This book is a must for any vegan kitchen.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 veggie bouillon
- 2 TBSP Braggs or soy sauce
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP liquid smoke sauce
- 2 TBSP maple syrup or rice syrup
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Pour of molasses (could be equal to 2 TBSP)
Combine all the ingredients in a sauté pan and simmer on a low heat.
You will notice the tempeh start to swell slightly. After the tempeh is done, remove from water and let it cool. If I’m short on time, I will place the boiled tempeh in the freezer to speed up the cooling time.
To make the crumbles, grate the tempeh. Add the tempeh crumbles to the saute pan with the marinade. Simmer in the pan slightly covered until the tempeh reaches a deep dark coloring from the marinade and when the liquid has started evaporating. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how you like it. I usually simmer it for at least 30 minutes.
When the tempeh is done simmering, spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the crumbles have dried out a little and have a nice toasty texture to them.
We use the same recipe sans the grating step to make tempeh strips for other dinners.
Below is a short pictorial of a recipe we made from Meet The Shannons. We replaced the suggested Bacon Bits topping with tempeh. Check it out! It was delicious!