Uh oh. Tempeh.
I know. I know. I promised I would be gentle. And here I go, not even a month along and I’m already posting about tempeh. Wait, wait. Before you throw your hands up in “I-knew-she-was-going-to-go-all-vegan-granola-on-me” disbelief and close this tab, give me a few seconds here.
Let me explain.
One of the books I would count as “seminal” in my life is Jeffrey Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything.” Now I know there is a camp out there who thinks that Mr. Steingarten should just take his bully a** self and shove it in his gourmand …now wait where was I? Oh, yes. I loved this book. It chronicles his quest to, um, eat everything as he took on the thankless job of Vogue food critic. In (almost excruciating) detail, he recounts his systematic process of learning to like food he previously hated. He would try each food and iterations of it until he liked it (or accepted it at least). It was all “part of the job.”
And…its good for you. Why? Let me reiterate from a previous post. Tempeh is one of the best ways to consume soy. It contains isoflavones and saponins (not found in “soy protein isolates” — that is, mock meat products) which improve bone health, lower cholesterol and have been shown to lower the risks for certain cancers. The tempeh fermentation process produces natural antibiotics that preserve the phytonutrients and make it easily digestible.
So, there we go. Here we are. Tempeh. I’m in the same process as Mr. Steingarten. I want to like tempeh. And I have to say, with this v.2. of the marinade, I am close to declaring unequivocal victory. I broke the tempeh barrier! I actually CRAVED this one day.
In this version, I used a similar marinade but roasted the soaked, maple-infused tempeh. Lo and behold. Baked-in caramelization. Unctuous tenderness. Melt in your mouth goodness. I can already imagine this in many, many, many other incarnations.
Topping a garlicky pasta with mushrooms and kale, this slurpy noodle concoction is one bowl of good.
Garlicky Linguine with Maple Tempeh
1 package tempeh, cut in 1/3 inch slices
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
red pepper to taste
1 pint button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 head garlic, cloves sliced thinly
8 cups chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp olive oil
8 oz. linguine, cooked al dente in water that “tastes like the sea”
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix maple syrup, tamari and red pepper (if using). Marinade tempeh for about 20 minutes, turning at 10 minutes. Place in pre-heated oven.
In a pan, saute garlic in olive oil. When soft, add mushrooms and let the mushrooms cook and let most of the liquid evaporate. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the white wine and let it simmer and evaporate. Add vegetable broth and kale. Cover. Cook until kale wilts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. There should be some moisture in the mixture. If not, add a little bit more broth.
Once the tempeh has been in the oven for 15 minutes, turn it, then roast for another 15 minutes. (Even better version: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast tempeh for an hour, turning over at the half hour. More soft-melt-in-you-mouth goodness!)
Toss the garlic, mushroom and kale mixture with the pasta. Top with tempeh.