Thursday, March 25, 2010

"yeah it's strange, but what isn't strange "

the food: Marinated Tempeh
the song: "Strange" Built to Spill

Tempeh is an interesting food. A lot of recipes for tempeh end with a disclaimer like "Even if you don't think you like tempeh, try it this way!" I've never understood that. What's so weird about tempeh? It's an ancient food, it's chock full of protein, and these days it's relatively easy to get at any large grocery store. I once heard the description "tofu is to cheese as tempeh is to blue cheese" and that answered any questions I had about the makeup of this special food. But maybe the reason I'm not freaked out by tempeh is more simple than all that. Maybe it's because I've always used the following delicious recipe to make it. 

I don't know why I've never shared this tempeh recipe before. It is a favorite in our house. It is easy and tasty and adds a nice chewy bit of protein to our vegetarian dishes. I could make this tempeh once a week for ever and ever and we'd eat up every last bite.

This tempeh can go anywhere. We usually eat it is on its own, with roasted spaghetti squash,  sauteed greens, and good bread. It is also good crumbled up into grilled cheese, or as part of a TART sandwich (tempeh, avocado, and roasted tomatoes...yum). I've also put it in tortillas with vegetable fajitas. If I'm not careful, we'll eat it all straight out of the pan.

This time, it found its way into a simple pasta dish. Spaghetti, marinated tempeh, and my first homegrown brussels sprouts of the season. We tossed it all with a little olive oil and a generous amount of parmesan. The result was rich and creamy tasting. The nutty tempeh and olive oil was outstanding, mixed with the stronger taste of the tiny brussles sprouts.

So...even if you think you don't like tempeh, give this recipe a try!

Marinated Tempeh
serves 2

8 ounces tempeh
for the marinade:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons basalmic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary...whatever you have access to)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cut tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine marinade ingredients in container with a lid. Add tempeh, cover and shake well until all pieces are coated. Marinate for at least an hour, shaking the container every now and then if you think about it. 

When ready to cook, add tempeh and liquid to a skillet over medium high heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning pieces frequently until they begin to caramelize. Serve immediately or toss  into your favorite dish.



  1. I just made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious. It was my first time to cook both tempeh and brussels sprouts, but it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Awesome, Carsi! I'm glad you liked it! :)