Blue Plate Special #45: Cornmeal Crusted Rosemary Tempeh with Garlicky Mashed Potatoes & Kale Shallot Sauté


Admission: I cooked with oil tonight. A negligent amount, but it was in the meal nevertheless.

I wanted the tempeh to be crispy but the cornmeal was a little too dry. With a few minutes to go, I sprayed it with some sunflower oil. And, I added Earth Balance to the mashed potatoes. I did say that potatoes need oil! The amount of oil was de minimis and it did not effect the way we felt after eating.

Cornmeal Crusted Rosemary Tempeh
1 8oz package tempeh
1/4 cup tamari
3/4 cup water
Flour, about a 1/2 cup
Vegan milk, about a 1/2 cup
Cornmeal, about a cup
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
Sunflower oil (spray)

Steam the tempeh in the tamari and water for about 20 minutes. Let cool and then cut in half, half again and in half again to make 8 small rectangles. Set up a breading station by pouring each element into a bowl.

These measurements are not exact. You have to use your judgement.

1 – flour

2 – vegan milk

3 – cornmeal + chopped rosemary + chopped parsley

4 – plate for crusted tempeh

Dredge the tempeh in the flour, then the milk and then the cornmeal.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes in a 350 oven. Spray the tops with sunflower oil and cook for another few minutes, until the crust starts to brown.

Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
6 small potatoes (about 2 per person)
3 cloves of garlic
Vegan milk
Earth Balance
Salt, to taste

Peel and cut potatoes. Place in a pot and just cover with water. Peel the garlic and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer until just tender. Strain and then return to the pot. Use a potato masher to mash everything together with as much vegan milk and Earth Balance as needed to make it creamy and a pinch of salt.

Kale Sauté
1 bunch kale
3 shallots
Salt, to taste

Slice the shallots. Place in a pan with 3 tablespoons of water and cook until softening.

Take the center ribs out of the kale and chop. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Add to the shallots and and season with a pinch of salt.

Plate it up and enjoy!

Taste Test: Tofu & Tempeh

There will come a time when I start making my own tofu and tempeh. But until then I have to buy them both at the store.

Tofu is a terrifically versatile product. I love to marinate it, bread it, bake it, mash it, scramble it, and even sneak it into a sauce or two. It is light and has a delicate mouthfeel. Think of it as a great sub for eggs, chicken and fish.

Tempeh, a product also made with soybeans, is a totally different entity as it is fermented. It is thicker, chewier, and meatier than tofu. I like to marinate it, bread it, bake it, and crumble it. Think of it as a sub for red meat.

Look at all of that tofu! This is in my local health food store. So many to choose from.



IMG_3088So, for me, when deciding which tofu to buy, I look for the most important thing: that the label says Non-GMO. That means the soybeans are NOT genetically modified.

From The Non-GMO Project website:

“GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. And, most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe.”

The Non-GMO Project verifies that soy products are in fact non-GMO and lists products that have enrolled in the Product Verification Program on their site.

When I buy tofu, my number one choice is Soy Boy. If I can’t find it, I buy Wildwood or Whole Food’s 365 Brand. When I buy tempeh is it either LightLife or SoyBoy.

Check the labels and get cooking!

Friday Night Bites: Tempeh Bowls

IMG_2009 Another easy Friday night dinner. Between the holiday and testing recipes for a new cookbook, I needed something super easy. This marinade is courtesy of my friend Amy of From the Ground Up Wellness. It is oil free and it is unbelievably delicious! Thanks Amy. Tonight I had kale and cooked quinoa in the refrigerator and so that was in my bowl. But you can make whatever you want.

Marinated Tempeh
1 8oz package tempeh
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons chickpea miso
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Cube tempeh. Steam the tempeh in water for 10 minutes. Let cool. Mince the garlic (or use a microplane) and add to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Toss tempeh with marinade and let stand as long as you have time. Bake the tempeh in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Kale & Quinoa
Bunch of kale
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of cooked quinoa

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Shred the kale and drop into the water and blanch the kale for 30 seconds. Drain.

Mince the garlic. Add a tablespoon of water to a skillet. Cook the garlic on a low flame until fragrant. Add the kale and quinoa and mix together until heated through. Place the kale and quinoa into a bowl and top with the the marinated tempeh. Enjoy!


Lemon Braised Tempeh (Serve with Grains & Greens)


I used my recipe for tempeh lemon broil as a base for this braise. Braising simply means searing food at a high temperature and then finishing it in a covered pot with some amount of liquid. Now that you know what it is, it is not that complicated.

Lemon Braised Tempeh
1 package soy tempeh
1 big onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Lemon slices, about 1 lemon
Fresh sprigs of thyme
Olive oil
S and P

Slice the tempeh into 8 rectangles. Pour some olive oil to a pan with sides and heat over medium heat. Brown the tempeh on both sides.

Slice the onions and garlic and add to the pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the vegetable stock, lemon juice, tamari and mustard together. Pour over the tempeh. Top with the lemon slices and sprigs of fresh thyme. Simmer over medium for about 30 minutes.

Top the tempeh with the onions and a lemon for garnish. If you like gravy, pour it on top of everything. Serve with grains like rice or quinoa or greens like sautéed spinach or kale. Enjoy!


Mustard Tempeh & Broccoli Salad


This is a delicious salad that works great on a buffet, for a Sunday brunch, for lunch or dinner. It takes no time to make and the flavors are really delicious. Mustard is the perfect accompaniment to the seasoned tempeh.

makes 3 to 4 servings

1 package soy tempeh
1 small head of broccoli
1 carrot
1/2 red pepper
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup Vegenaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, grainy
S and P, to taste
Lettuce leaves

Cut tempeh in half, half again, and then into bite size cubes. Steam in apple juice and tamari for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Cut the broccoli into bite size florets and steam for two or three minutes until bright green. Immediately drain and either place in an ice bath or run under cold water.

Dice the carrot and pepper into a very small dice.

Mix the Vegenaise and mustard together. Season with salt and pepper.

Place all ingredients into a big bowl and top with the mustard dressing. Toss well to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve on a big platter of lettuce leaves or individual plates. Enjoy!