Meatless “Meat” Sauce: Tempeh Bolognese v2


This is my updated tempeh bolognese. It is the same basic recipe as my cauliflower red lentil bolognese but with tempeh. As I said in my cauliflower post, I know it’s not technically bolognese but I used the basic template for the traditional recipe – a mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery – and came up with a fantastic sauce. The tempeh is infused with white wine (my original was infused with red) and the lovely flavors of the vegetables. It is great on top of pasta and even better in the middle of a big lasagna!

Note: cooking is an art not a science. So, the size of vegetables varies. For the mirepoix, it should be 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery.

This recipe makes a little more than 3 cups of sauce.

8oz. soy tempeh
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon tamari

1/2 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup white wine *
1 tube of tomato paste (4.5 oz.)
1 jar of crushed tomatoes (18.3 oz.)
1/2 cup cashew milk **
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, 1 teaspoon, divided

*For wine, use what you like meaning what you would drink. I love my Vegan Vine Chardonnay.

**To make homemade cashew milk, add 1 cup of cashews to 3 cups of filtered water into the Vitamix and let it rip until it is smooth. If you don’t have a Vitamix, it is time to get one or soak the cashews for a few hours.

Break up the tempeh in crumbles. They don’t have to be too fine, just so that the block is broken up. Add to a pot along with the water and tamari. Mix it all together to try to coat the tempeh with the tamari. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Every few minutes go in with a wooden spoon and break the tempeh up even more.

Make the mirepoix. Evenly dice the onion, celery and carrots and add to the pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you are oil free, water sauté the vegetables.

Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook on low heat until the vegetables have softened. This should take somewhere between 8 and 10 minutes. Press the garlic over the mirepoix and let it cook in for 2 more minutes.

Add the tempeh to the mirepoix, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and mix together and cook for a few minutes.

Add the wine and cook it down for 2 minutes so that the alcohol cooks off. Add the tomato paste and mix it in well. Cook for a minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and season with the rest of the salt. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the cashew milk and cook for another 15 minutes.

Store the sauce in glass containers in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use and reheat.

Boil up some pasta – I love these spaghetti sized macaronis – and toss with sauce. Add a little more sauce on top and enjoy!


Tempeh Roundup

I love tempeh. It’s another vegan “protein” and, like tofu, it works great on Blue Plate Specials.

I buy Barry’s Grown in Brooklyn Homemade Tempeh. If you can find someone local who makes tempeh, buy it. But if you need a good brand from the store, buy Soy Boy. It is organic and non-GMO and out of the store bought brands, it was our favorite one.

1. Honee BBQ Tempeh. Made with Bee Free Honee. Great on tofu too.


2. Tempeh Lemon Broil. Love the name. Love the flavors.

3. Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh. Crunchy and delicious.


4. Tempeh Bowl. This marinade is made with tahini, tamari miso and garlic.


5. Braised Tempeh. Love this one!


6. Breaded Tempeh. Cutlets or sticks.

IMG_0386Breaded Tempeh Cutlets

Breaded Tempeh Sticks

7. Cajun Tempeh. It’s all about the flavors.

8. Tempeh Souvlaki. Again, all about the flavors. Can’t get enough of this one.

9. Tempeh Tacos. Make the same thing with lentils.

10. Chili Lime Tempeh. Check out the Mexican rice and avocado salad.

11. Maple Glazed Tempeh. Basic marinade: tamari, maple syrup, and sunflower oil.

12. Basic Marinated Tempeh. My original marinade: tamari and maple syrup.

13. Tempeh Fajitas. A favorite around here!

14. Tempeh Bacon. Save the best for last!

Tempeh Bacon & French Toast

ALT: Avocado Lettuce & Tempeh Bacon Sandwich


Blue Plate Special #50: Honee BBQ Tempeh with Baked Potatoes & Steamed Broccoli


I’m officially obsessed with Bee Free Honee! Here it is playing a starring role in my new tangy and sweet BBQ sauce. Tonight’s blue plate special? BBQ tempeh, yams, and broccoli. Super easy and seriously delicious!

Honee BBQ Sauce
3 tablespoons Bee Free Honee
3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
The juice of 1/2 lime

Whisk ingredients together.

Tempeh *

* I use Barry’s Tempeh which is Grown in Brooklyn.  If using store bought tempeh, steam first then prep the same way.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Brush the tempeh with BBQ sauce. Place on a lined baking sheet. Flip over and brush the second side.

Cook for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and brush with more of the BBQ sauce. Cook for another 15 to 10 minutes or until nice and brown. If there is more sauce left, brush the tempeh again.

Plate it up with a few pieces of lime onto each plate for a zesty splash. Enjoy!

P.S. This BBQ tempeh is fantastic in a sandwich. Save any leftovers and serve with vegan mayo (make your own out of cashews or grapeseed oil) or use Just Mayo.

Easy Weeknight Tempeh Enchiladas


I love enchiladas! My friend Joey makes fantastic ones and I have also made Isa’s Nirvana Enchilada Casserole but on a weeknight I don’t like waiting for them to bake. So here is my easy weeknight version and we LOVE them!

I make a simple and flavorful sauce, fill corn tortillas with Barry’s tempeh, and top them with my cashew cream sauce and cilantro and pumpkin seeds (as per Isa’s recipe.)

Here is how to get it done on a weeknight. Make the sauce and the filling at the same time. While they are on the stove, whip up the cashew cream sauce. Then when it is time for dinner, heat up the tortillas, fill them and serve them.

That’s fine for my family – we eat 6 – but if I were to make this for a group or had more time, I would probably bake it and serve it as a casserole. Oh, and this sauce recipe makes more than you will need for 6 so freeze it in a clearly marked container. I say this because I freeze a lot of homemade tomato sauce and we once poured enchilada sauce over our meatless meatballs. 

Remember, organize your mise en place – the onions, jalapeños and garlic are in both the sauce and the filling – so that your kitchen is organized and everything comes together at the same time. 

Enchilada Sauce
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
Coconut palm nectar or Agave, to taste
Salt, to taste

Add the onions into a pot (big enough for 28oz of tomatoes) with a few tablespoons of water. Cook until softened. Add the jalapeño and garlic. Stir around. After a few minutes, add the chili powder, cumin, oregano and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and water and mix well. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add the sweetener to taste. Take off the stove and let cool. Then, pour into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour back into the pot and set aside

Filling *
8oz. tempeh, crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
The juice of 1 lime

Add the onions and tempeh to a sauté pan with a little water and cook until browning and softening. Add the jalapeños and garlic and a little water. Cook until there is no more water. Squeeze in the lime juice and mix well. Add a little sauce, about 1/4 cup to bring the whole thing together. Take off the heat until ready to assemble.

* Double these measurements for a casserole. And if you are going to make a casserole you don’t have to heat up the filling and sauce while assembling.

My Favorite Cashew Cream 
1 cup cashews **
3/4 cup water
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, a pinch

** If you don’t have a Vitamix or other high speed blender, soak the cashews for 4 hours and then drain them. Place the cashews and the rest of the ingredients into the Vitamix or blender and lit it rip until it looks gorgeous and creamy. If too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Corn Tortillas (6)
Fresh chopped cilantro
Pumpkin seeds

Now it is time to serve dinner. Reheat the sauce and the tempeh. Place a small amount of tempeh mixture at one end of a tortilla. Roll it up. Make all of the tortillas. To serve, place sauce on each plate and place the filled tortillas on top. Top with a little more sauce and a drizzle of the cashew cream. Sprinkle with cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Blue Plate Special #47: “Grown in Brooklyn” Tempeh, Broccoli & Yellow Rice Pilaf


Once you go “Grown in Brooklyn” tempeh you never go back! Oh my gosh, have you had homemade tempeh? Barry Schwartz is the man, an artisan, who handcrafts his tempeh and is dedicated to the highest quality. Period. He sources local ingredients and makes the tempeh in small batches. It is unpasteurized unlike commercial tempeh so it has a fresher, softer texture.

From the Grown in Brooklyn website, “Barry’s Tempeh is committed to providing truly delicious, handcrafted, healthful, full-bodied, deeply satisfying tempeh products. Barry’s Tempeh is made from a unique combination of local, organic grains and beans with a culture (rhizopus oligosporus). The fermentation is similar to yogurt and fine cheese. The culture makes the beans easier to digest and adds probiotics (beneficial bacteria).”

It really doesn’t get better than that in vegan world. I ordered 8 lbs. of the classic soy tempeh and it was delivered all wrapped up in a refrigerator pack. (Delivery in NYC area only.) Half of one pack is perfect for the three of us, so I have tons in the freezer for whenever we want it.

This blue plate special dinner (or really good food in a bowl) is incredibly simple. Tempeh with yellow rice pilaf and broccoli.

8oz. soy tempeh
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 bunch of broccoli
2 shallots
1 small piece of fresh turmeric
1 cup uncooked basmati rice

Cut the tempeh into cubes. Separate the broccoli into bite size florets. Thinly slice the shallots. Use a microplane to grate the turmeric. 

Start with the rice pilaf. Heat a small pot and when it is hot, add the shallots and a tablespoon or two of water. Use a wooden spoon to stir them around and let them soften. Add the rice and toss to coat and toast for a minute. Add the right amount of water according to the package. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered until ready to serve dinner.

Add the broccoli to a pot. Cover with water and bring to a quick boil. When it turns bright green and is just soft (or to your liking) take it off the flame and drain. Add back to the pot and cover to keep warm.

Heat a pan. Add the oil and when it is shimmering, add the tempeh. Cook until the tempeh starts browning. Toss it around a few times to get all sides. Add more oil if the tempeh is sticking. Drain on paper towel.

Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork. Place the rice in a big bowl and add the tempeh and broccoli. Serve plain or with sauce. Enjoy!