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Trying out Tempeh

August 14, 2010

I tend to get nervous about adventurous ingredients, mostly because I hate disappointing myself and AAM. Because we eat dinner together nightly, I have to consider his likes (most of my cooking) and dislikes (tofu, mushrooms, and dried fruits). I enjoy my time with him, and love our meals together. In fact, we are so similar that our friend groups basically merged into one happy family. This means that we spend lots of quality time together, and his time on paternity leave round two is no different. Someone close to me once said that she really enjoyed the quiet nights that her family and her husband were out, and I just couldn’t understand it. One of the reasons I married AAM is that he is literally the only person I know who doesn’t drive me crazy, I actually enjoy when we are ‘stuck’ together– we laugh longer and harder. However, because of Serafina, we take shifts to go out with our friends. Tonight, he went out, so I realized it was an opportune moment to cook with tempeh. He saw me preparing dinner and said “Smells great, I am out!”

I first had tempeh in a sandwich at Busboys and Poets, my favorite place in the DC area to grab a sandwich and write a paper. I go so often I know the staff in the Arlington restaurant. They have a superb tempeh sandwich with veganaise, sprouts, roasted red peppers, and onions. I swap the sprouts for spinach, and it is the perfect sandwich.  For those who might be unfamiliar with it, tempeh is fermented soy and whole grains, which is served in a flat cake form. Originally from Indonesia, it is a wonderful food that is packed with protein and nutrients. It can also be sliced, fried or sauteed and can mimic a bacon texture. I hate saying meat substitute, so I would call it a meal substitute. It doesn’t try to mimic meat, but replaces a meal you used to eat with meat. I can’t make tempeh as delicious as Busboys, but I can try. Tonight I marinated it in BBQ sauce* for a salad, and I will slice it and saute it tomorrow for a Pita sandwich served with lettuce, mayonaise, cucumbers, and sauted onions and peppers.

*People sometimes give us wonderful foodstuffs like specialized BBQ sauce, sometimes I am not sure what to do with meat marinades, but tempeh and firm tofu are the perfect foods to try these sauces.

BBQ Tempeh Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing


  • 1/2 package of whole grain tempeh
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup of chopped or shredded cheddar
  • 2 tb pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups of mixed greens
  • 1 tb honey
  • 1 tb dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Marinade the tempeh for an hour in your favorite BBQ sauce
  2. Set the oven to 375, and bake the tempeh for 20 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, mix the corn, carrots, pinto beans, cheddar and pumpkin seeds
  4. Pour the corn bean mixture over your salad greens
  5. Slice the tempeh and place on top
  6. In a small bowl, whisk honey, mustard, lemon juice and salt/pepper. Pour over salad. 


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