Tempeh Stew and Dumplings

This meal is pure comfort food! It’s also nutritious, with plenty of vegetables and organic tempeh.  Perfect winter fare.

















Tempeh Stew and Dumplings
4-6 servings

Chicken Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup flour
6-7 cups mushroom broth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 pounds tempeh, cut into cubes
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas

1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup + a splash almond milk

In a Dutch oven (or a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat oil over a medium flame. Brown the tempeh pieces, and remove.  Add all the vegetables, garlic, and herbs. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5-10 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the browned tempeh back to the pot, then add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, maintaining a low simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. With a fork, gradually stir in almond milk to form a moist and soft batter. It should be just a little thicker than pancake batter and should easily drop from the tip of a spoon. Set aside.

Stir peas into pot. Drop batter in simmering liquid in 12 tablespoonfuls, keeping them spaced apart (dumplings will swell quite a bit as they cook). Wrap lid in a dishtowel (absorbs steam, which can make dumplings soggy), cover pot with lid, and simmer until dumplings are firm, 12 minutes. Serve!

Vegan Jambalaya










This is a meatless version of a much more complicated meaty recipe. It still features the spicy goodness and bounty of the original, though.

Vegan Jambalaya
Yield: about 3-4 servings

2  tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 celery rib, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 pound Beyond Meat Grilled “Chicken” Strips
4 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle veggie-sausages, cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 cups mushroom stock
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups cooked organic long grain brown rice

Sauté the onion in a large soup or stock pot until it begins to become translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Next, add the celery and bell pepper. Sauté until they begin to to also become translucent. Add the “chicken” strips and veggie-sausages and move ingredients around so that they are in contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook until they just begin to brown, then turn them over to cook the other sides.

Add all the rest of the ingredients and lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer about 15-20 minutes, stir in the cooked brown rice, and serve. Note: you can add more diced tomatoes or tomato juice, if the jambalaya isn’t juicy enough.

Tempeh Five Ways

“Tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.” –Wikipedia

Rich and nutty, tempeh packs 31 grams of protein per cup, making it a pantry staple for vegetarians, macrobiotic folk, and vegans. Here are several ways to prepare tempeh.

Use a Cajun blackening spice mix to add punch. Brush tempeh patties with sesame oil, coat them with the spice mix, and sear in a hot frying pan. Let the spices smoke for 5-10 seconds to blacken. Add to salads, stir fries, and Cajun Dirty Rice.

Add crumbled, grated, or cubed tempeh to spaghetti sauce, stews, chilies, and curries. It will absorb the flavors of the dish as it cooks.

Grilling or frying tempeh until the edges turn crispy enhances its natural nutty flavor. Thinly slicing tempeh (1/4″) will add crispiness to the edges while retaining a chewy interior.

I create marinades for tempeh according to the type of food I’m cooking—
Japanese: soy sauce and rice wine
Italian: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic
Polynesian: citrus juice, ginger, rice syrup
Thai: coconut milk, peanut butter, ginger, garlic
…After marinating, grill, bake, or sauté.

Olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, or sesame oil and rice vinegar, create a fast infusion of flavor in these two recipes.


Blackening Spice Mix










This recipe comes from the great American chef, Paul Prudhomme.

1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2-1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
3⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
3⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Combine all ingredients. Keep unused portion in tight container.

Great for tempeh, fish, chicken, and shellfish.

Basic Sautéed Tempeh, Two Ways

Tempeh is a great source of protein, racking up 31 grams per cup. Packaged tempeh needs a little cooking to finish off its semi-cooked state, so here’s a recipe that adds some browning and a bit of additional flavor. Now it’s all ready to add to your favorite dishes…

Sautéed Tempeh No. 1

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound tempeh, cut into ½-inch dice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high for about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, wait a few heartbeats, and swirl to coat the pan.

When the pan is hot enough to sizzle a drop of water, add the tempeh and spread into a single layer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it turns golden brown on all surfaces. If it sticks, add a bit more oil.

Add the balsamic vinegar, and reduce, stirring, over medium heat for another 5 minutes or so. Beware! Don’t lean over a pan that has vinegar reducing, the fumes will burn your nose and eyes!

Sautéed Tempeh No. 2

1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Cut an 8 ounce block of tempeh into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Marinate for 10-20 minutes. Sauté over medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie











Back in my meat-eating days, shepherd’s pie was one of my favorite winter meals. Savory, warming, and filling, it’s just the thing for a blustery night. Here’s my meatless version, which still hits all those savory notes.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Yield: 4 servings

4 russet potatoes
Several tablespoons of chives, minced

2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups potatoes, cut into 3/4″ cubes
2 carrots, medium cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 parsnip, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 cups mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sautéed  tempeh
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup mushroom broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon flour, guar gum, or xanthan powder

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat, and then oil an 8×8-inch casserole dish with olive oil.

Clean and cut potatoes, carrots, and parsnip into small pieces and place in the pot to boil for about 5 minutes.

While the root vegetables are cooking, prepare the filling. Pour the olive oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, and sauté until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Turn heat to low.

Place a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, wait another 10 seconds or so, then swirl to coat the pan.

When the pan is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, add the tempeh and spread it into a single layer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tempeh turns golden brown on all surfaces. If it appears to be sticking, push it to one side, lightly spray the pan with nonstick spray—or add up to another tablespoon of oil—and then resume sautéing until all surfaces are golden.

Pour off any juices the mushrooms have released, then add the tempeh to the vegetable pan and add potato cubes, tomato paste, mushroom broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Add some cold water to a small bowl and whisk in the thickening (flour, guar gum, or xanthan powder) until it’s smooth and thickened, then add back into the pan, whisking to mix. Bring to a boil, increase the heat to medium-high, and reduce the juices for 10 to 12 minutes. There should be very little juice left in the pan. Pour the filling into a baking pan or small casserole dish.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them, toss them in a large bowl and mash well. Add the minced chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mashed potatoes over top of the filling in the casserole dish, spreading to cover evenly. Alternatively, you can pipe the mashed potatoes into rows of fluted pyramids or long rows of wavy ribbons (my sweetie created the pretty piping in the photo). Bake for about 20-40 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove and let sit a few minutes before serving.