I don’t know if you’ve also gone through this, but it’s happened to me several times: Step 1- I’m at the grocery store and decide to buy tempeh because I feel like adding more texture and variety to my healthy vegetarian dishes. Step 2- I go back home, cut the tempeh in cubes, and add it to my salads or stir fries. Step 3- I start complaining about the lameness and tastelessness of tempeh which add no excitement whatsoever to my food.
Despite this disappointing tempeh routine happening several times on a row, I strangely kept bumping into mouth watering pictures of healthy veggie dishes with tempeh, and lots of positive comments from the people who tried them. Clearly I was doing something wrong.
For lack of other options, the vegetarian “meat” I always used and ate as I was growing up in Peru was either the one made of wheat gluten, or the traditional processed soy meat. I hardly ever eat these fake meats anymore, as I’m very cautious about my gluten and soy consumption (more on this in another post). I do have to admit that the great thing about these products is that they perfectly absorb the taste of the foods, sauces, and seasonings with which they are cooked, making them ideal to replace regular animal protein in many dishes. Vegetarian chili and stuffed potatoes are two of my favorite examples, and I’ve even managed to fool some hardcore meat eaters into believing they were eating real meat with these two dishes.
Cooking tempeh is a different story.
When I saw that my fellow health coach, and creator of the vegan bakery VeganGrrrlFoods, was posting picture after picture of colorful, healthy, and easy to make tempeh recipes on Instagram, I decided it was time to ask for help. I emailed Nicole asking for one of her tempeh recipes, and she shared her secret to making this marinated maple and sage tempeh. With her permission, I’m sharing it with you today. This is only one of many combinations you can use to enhance your tempeh chunks. Use it as inspiration and come up with your own favorite ways of making it, or stick to this recipe and hang in there while I experiment with more variations and share them in the future.
Tempeh is not an essential part of a vegetarian diet (and of course it’s not essential for meat eaters), as long as you eat a good variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. However, if you enjoy having more options, and adding different textures to your vegetable dishes, or if you feel the need for something more filling that will somehow resemble meat, then tempeh is one of your best alternatives. This product is made of soy, and can sometimes contain other grains, herbs, spices, and flavors (the one I used for this recipe had brown rice, for example).
If you make this on a Sunday, you will have baked tempeh ready to stir into all your salads and dishes throughout the week. You can even make a larger batch (say, 24 oz. tempeh, and freeze it once it’s cooled down to room temperature).
I hope you like it and it gets you excited about cooking healthy plant based meals more often.
Wishing you health & happiness,
|Marinated Maple and Sage Tempeh|| |
- 1 8oz. package tempeh
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons mustard (Nicole uses Dijon, I used German mustard)
- 1 chopped red onion (I used 1 chopped shallot)
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage (or parsley)
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Cut the tempeh in 1 inch cubes.
- Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl, and then add the tempeh, mixing well.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and refrigerate. Nicole recommends marinating the tempeh for a minimum of 1 hour, and preferable for 2-3 hours. I would even leave it overnight to get more flavor in.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, place the tempeh cubes side by side on a baking dish and cover in the marinating juices. Bake for an hour, turning them around after 30 minutes to make sure all the sides turn a golden color.