Home Sweet Home….and Tempeh

I was in home in Philly for the weekend with my family. The whole family. It was a lot of fun.

I spent Friday cooking, as usual, but this time I was in my parents’ kitchen and with company. There are a few very important things about being at my parents house.

Fresh Herbs
More people helping (= I can take action shots)
1000000% more natural light in the kitchen (my kitchen has none, and the rest of my apartment has very little)
My dad’s beautiful DSLR. So jealous. Also, I had a lot of fun with it. Maybe too much fun.

Mom and I made several dishes (many of which will be posted at some point). One of them was the tempeh.

Have you heard of tempeh before? I love it. It’s a nice not meat alternative to tofu. Much like tofu, it’s a soy product and you can marinate it in anything you would marinate meat or chicken in. I think tempeh has a more satisfying texture than tofu, but it also has more of its own flavor than tofu.

Our dinner on Friday had a Mediterranean theme to it, so I decided to make a Mediterranean marinade for the tempeh. I looked around online, and found a whole bunch of recipes that had the same components, just in different measurements.

So I closed the tabs with the repeating recipe, and went to look in the herb garden to see what I could use.

For the record, this marinade is AMAZING. There was randomly a bowl of steamed broccoli on the counter (these kinds of things are normal in my parents’ house), and while the tempeh was marinating, my sister and I kept dunking the broccoli in to soak up some marinade.

If you’re scared of tempeh, please at least try the marinade. It’s tangy and fresh and smells phenomenal. And according to my other sister, it would taste great on chicken.

I guess I should warn you, this recipe did not pass my four year old niece’s taste test. Then again, few things do these days. Oh well.

Mediterranean Tempeh

Serves 4-6

2 packages of Tempeh
1/2 cups olive oil (makes it pretty tangy, hence the agave below, but feel free to increase the oil)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped oregano/basil/thyme/rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons of agave or honey
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup red wine (optional)

1. Cut up your tempeh. I like to cut each package into 4 triangles, then slice those in half to get nice, thin pieces. Thin pieces get a better tempeh-to-marinade ratio.

2. Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, you could also boil it, but then you’re throwing out some good nutrients when you dump the water. This is an important step. Tempeh tends to have a slightly bitter flavor, and by steaming it, you get rid of that flavor. The heat also primes the tempeh for the marinade. Supposedly this helps soak up the flavors better.

3. While the tempeh is steaming, mix the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and agave together in a bowl or a jar. I know it sounds like a lot of marinade. You’ll be using it later on. Or, if you’re making a meal with both chicken and tempeh, marinate the tempeh in this first, then use the left over to marinate the chicken. That way the vegetarians at your meal don’t feel left out.

4. When the tempeh is done, put it into a large, shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Allow the tempeh to marinate for at least an hour, turning over and/or shifting the pieces half way through to make sure everything gets evenly coated.

5. Grill, pan fry, or bake your tempeh. I prefer using a grill pan for mine. I really just like the way the grill marks look. Place the tempeh on a hot pan. You don’t really need to put any oil on the pan since the tempeh has it in the marinade. The first side should take about 5-8 minutes, and the second side should take less time. Technically, eating “raw” tempeh is fine, so there is no moment when the tempeh is done. I like my tempeh to have a nice brown color with dark grill marks.

Now, while grilling, I like to use all the leftover marinade to baste the tempeh, usually once on each side. This keeps the flavor coming, and it keeps the tempeh from drying out. This is also where the extra marinade comes in (though you will still have more left over, and that’s ok – see next step).

6. Once your tempeh is done, take the remaining marinade and deglaze the pan. Or, if there are too many burnt bits in the pan, take a small sauce pan and dump the remaining marinade in there and reduce it. This should take up to 10 minutes on medium heat. Here, I added the red wine to my remaining marinade. Why? Because I thought it was a good idea. And it was, but it’s not totally necessary.

7. Pour the reduced marinade over the tempeh and serve warm or room temperature.

This recipe pairs really well with another dish I made – stewed tomatoes and string beans. I’ll post that one soon!

14 Responses to Home Sweet Home….and Tempeh

  1. Sarah says:

    This recipe was fantastic! I used dried herbs instead of fresh since that’s what I had on hand, and I also added chopped kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes. Served it with roasted bell peppers, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes with a side of couscous. This will be a staple in my vegan kitchen from now on. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Britne, I buy LightLife, but mostly because that’s the most prolific brand. I usually get the “Three Grain” version, but I don’t know that there’s much of a taste difference between the varieties they offer.

  3. Tempeh is something that I’ve always been curious about but have not tried. I think the marinade sounds delish though. Do you have any recommendations for what brand of tempeh to buy?

  4. I highly encourage everyone to try tempeh! Maybe it’s a vegetarian thing, but I love it!

    @ Ann – I’ll distract him, you grab it. Ready? Go!

  5. Ann says:

    What a great dish! I’ve never worked with Temph before, but I’ve heard of it. I won’t hesitate now! I am jealous of your dad’s camera, too….. Think he’d notice if we made off with it? :o)

  6. momdecuisine says:

    I’ve never heard of this before, but the marinade sounds great!

  7. I have not tried Temph before but love to try at some point, may be soon. Nice clicks.

  8. I have not tried Temph before but love to try at some point, may be soon. Nice clicks.

  9. I have not tried Temph before but love to try at some point, may be soon. Nice clicks.

  10. I have not tried Temph before but love to try at some point, may be soon. Nice clicks.

  11. I have not tried Temph before but love to try at some point, may be soon. Nice clicks.

  12. Eliotseats says:

    Lovely fresh herbs and great pics.

  13. That marinade strikes me as very good. Great flavors and then some sweetness an caramelization from the agave

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