cooking class with tempeh

this week’s cooking class went over super good with the very enthusiastic students! you know it’s good when even the 12 year-old says emphatically, ‘this is so delicious!’  we made a tempeh ‘bolognaise’ pasta sauce and tempeh mushroom wrap with maple mustard dressing.  both of these recipes are hearty lunch or dinner possibilities: good organic soy protein blended with lots of veggies, and wholesome grains.

for many people, especially those ‘transitioning’ into more plant-based foods, tempeh is a bit of an esoteric ingredient.  I think by demonstrating that tempeh can easily be incorporated into common dishes, like pasta, makes it more approachable and hopefully encourages folks to try to cook up some tempeh on their own.  I think this tactic worked: lots of students left with tempeh in their reusable shopping bags that night!   enjoy!

Tempeh ‘Bolognaise’ Pasta Sauce


1 block tempeh (approximately 8oz), any flavor (i like WestSoy brand, personally!)
1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (14oz)
1 cup sliced onion
garlic, as much as you like!
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp dried Italian herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, etc.)
1-2 tsp shoyu or liquid aminos
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for flavor
water, for cooking sauce and pasta
4 servings pasta (like fusilli or rigatoni; whole wheat pasta is good for you)

  1. Slice the onions into slivers, then set aside.  Mince the garlic and set this aside as well.
  2. Removed the tempeh from the package and crumble with your hands; or, chop into small pieces.
  3. Heat up your pan until warm, then add about one tablespoon of oil.  When bubbling, add the garlic and onions.  Cook until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the tempeh to the pan when the onions are translucent, and allow the tempeh to brown lightly.  Add 1 tbsp more oil and a few tablespoons of water as well.  As the tempeh cooks, watch that it does not stick or burn.  Add more oil and water to keep it soft but browning.
  5. When the tempeh is browned, add the can of tomatoes, ½ cup water, and the salt, pepper, herbs, and shoyu.  Stir until well combined, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook for at least a half hour to an hour.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta according to directions.  Drain and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil to keep soft until ready.
  7. Serve the pasta with the ‘bolognaise’ sauce with extra fresh or dried herbs, and some shredded cheese if you like.

Tempeh Mushroom Wrap with Maple-Mustard Dressing

rock and roll!

½ cup cooked brown rice
1 cup button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup onion, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
2 cups fresh kale, washed and torn
1 block tempeh
½ tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
oil for cooking
wraps of choice

  1. Cook the brown rice according to directions.
  2. While the rice is cooking, slice the onions, chop the garlic and mushrooms, and shred the carrot.  Wash and tear the kale from the stem.  Tear into small pieces.  Set all vegetables aside.
  3. Slice the block of tempeh into ½ inch thick strips, and set aside.
  4. Heat a pan until warm, then add your oil of choice for cooking.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until just browning.  Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook until the mushrooms ‘sweat’ and shrink.  Add the maple syrup and stir quickly to mix.  Add in the kale and heat until kale is just wilted.  Remove from the pan and pour into a bowl.  Set aside.
  5. While the pan is still warm, add a small amount of oil.  Add the tempeh to the pan, and cook until browned on both sides, adding 1 tbsp of water when flipping. If tempeh seems dry, add more oil and water.
  6. Lay wrap onto a plate and layer with brown rice, tempeh, and veggies.  Drizzle with Maple-Mustard Dressing and roll!

Maple-Mustard Dressing

2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk with a fork until combined.
  2. Pour over your tempeh wrap!  This dressing is also great on salads, cooked veggies or rice!

in case you missed it, i got this great job at our local vegetarian health food store doing cooking classes (along with a million other things that barely fit into my 16 hour work week).  i will be sharing the cooking class recipes and joy here on bakerymanis!

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