First, What The Heck Is Tempeh?
Don’t be afraid of the Tempeh. It’s pronounced ˈtem-ˌpā, by the way, unlike the Arizonian city of Tempe (‘tem-pē). I’ll be honest, I was unsure of it for a long time, however it was completely unfounded. It’s made with mostly soybeans, sometimes rice, but any grain can be fermented with a specific mold, then formed into cakes.
Yes, I said mold, but, don’t freak out! Not all molds are created equal. Rhizopus oligosporus is the scientific name used for mold used to make tempeh, which is used as a culture to ferment foods like soybeans. Indonesia started this process centuries ago. They know what’s up because this stuff is delicious. It has a mild nutty flavor, high in protein and fiber, therefore a great addition to any diet!
Choosing Tempeh At The Market
Don’t worry if there are small black spots on your tempeh either, it’s just the mold in different stages of growth. I’ve bought blocks that had several small spots on them, and couldn’t tell a difference in flavor. Now, if it’s mostly grey, then I’d advise against it. Just something to look out for.
What All Can I Do With Tempeh?
Un-boxing it reveals a long, thin brick. The Lightlife brand is great. To make “steaks”, I’ll cut two blocks in quarters, so I have a total of eight thick rectangles, and then split the rectangles into planks. That way, each meal gets four planks, therefore getting a good sear and caramelization on the smooth, flat edges. Check out Meal Prep On Fleek‘s post for Indonesian Grain Bowls to see what I’m talking about. Also, at the end of this post, are links to other awesome tempeh recipes!
Gimme The Salad!
For this salad , the tempeh is crumbled into half-inch bits to make lovely BBQ Tempeh bites. The rustic look is great, and in addition, provides more surface area for the BBQ sauce to grab onto. The tempeh is baked, then tossed in BBQ. Lunch is served!
The combination of flavors is epic here. For instance, the roasted tomatoes go with the BBQ sauce, strawberries and avocado pair great with the BBQ and tomato. Cucumbers add a bit of cooling crunch, and arugula enhances the spiciness of the BBQ Tempeh. In addition, it’s colorful, and always good practice to ‘eat the rainbow’.
How do you like your tempeh?
BBQ Tempeh Strawberry Salad
BBQ Tempeh Bites
- 2 Package Tempeh , 7.5 Ounces Weight
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil , Extra Virgin
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar *
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 5 Ounces Arugula , about 8 loose cups
- 1½ Cups Strawberries , quartered
- 1 Cup Avocado , cubed
- 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Persian Cucumbers (mini cucumbers), sliced
Preheat oven to 400°F, crumble the tempeh into bite sized pieces, add to a small bowl, and toss with olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet.
Add the tomatoes to an oven safe skillet. Put the tempeh on the lower oven rack, and tomatoes on the top rack, and bake for 15 minutes, tossing the tempeh halfway through the cooking time.
While the tempeh bakes, in a large bowl, add the balsamic vinegar. While whisking the balsamic vinegar, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, making your dressing. Add the arugula, and toss to coat.
Divide the arugula among four plates, along with the avocado, cucumbers, and strawberries. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and add to the salads as well.
Remove the tempeh from the oven, and add to the bowl you used for the dressing. Add the BBQ, then toss. Top each salad with equal parts of the BBQ tempeh bites, and serve!
*If you can, really try to use a good olive oil, and a good white balsamic vinegar, that would be ideal. For this salad, I used a Hatch Chile Balsamic Vinegar from the Temecula Olive Oil Company, and it really took this salad to another level of deliciousness.