Weeknight Tempeh

Given the upswing of summer gardening and the rewrites to the upcoming book (not a cookbook yet although the recipes are accumulating for that too!), the posts will likely be sporadic until mid-fall.  It also means there isn’t as much time for elaborate (read long) cooking.  Typical therefore is this tempeh recipe.  It’s a weeknight go-to because it’s fast and has only five ingredients.  It’s also totally tasty on top of salad, grains, or all by itself.

What you need:

  • an 8 oz block of tempeh, diced into small cubes or sliced open (like a clamshell) and cut into triangles
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons water

What you do:

  1. In a small dish or cup, mix the balsamic vinegar, tamari, Dijon mustard and water together until smooth.
  2. Heat a large non-stick fry-pan (cast-iron if possible) over medium heat.  When hot, add the oil, wait twenty seconds or so and add the tempeh.
  3. Stir and fry the tempeh (the pan will dry out, that’s okay, if the seasoning on the cast-iron is good, it shouldn’t stick) until it’s golden on most sides, 5-7 minutes.    DSCN1567
  4. Pour the mixture from the cup over the tempeh to glaze being careful not to get burnt by the steam since it will get boiling and bubbly pretty much instantly.
  5. Stir to coat all the pieces in the glaze and let the liquid bubble away until pieces appear moist but the pan is dry.
  6. Serve immediately.


  • For a more Asian-inspired flavor, replace balsamic with rice or rice wine vinegar, add a dash of wasabi to the mustard and fresh ginger juice if desired;
  • For a more “baked beans” kind of feel, replace the balsamic with molasses and/or ketchup and swap the Dijon for regular yellow mustard.

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