Make perfect tempeh crumbles and add texture, flavor and satisfaction to your plant-based dishes. I’m here to share how to perfect oil-free tempeh cooking and how to use this stuff.
What is tempeh anyway?
Tempeh (tem-pay) comes to us from Indonesia and is made from fermented soybeans. You don’t need to make a special trip for it – you’ll find it in most supermarkets, usually where the tofu lives. Unlike tofu, tempeh has a distinct taste that is somewhat savory and nutty with a dense, chewy texture. Be aware that tempeh on its own (even cooked), can be bitter and hard. That’s why the way you prepare tempeh is so important.
Congratulations, you made it back from the supermarket with your tempeh. There it sits in the fridge, all wrapped up with no place to go. Time for the 4-beat tune:
- Crumble: I find it easier to slice it first and then crumble it into pieces (about thumbnail size)
- Simmer: This is the best way to get rid of the bitterness and soften up your tempeh. You want to use a flavorful liquid for this. My go-to, lazy method is to use a veggie bullion cube and a tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce.
- Drain and press: The more liquid you get out, the better tempeh will brown.
- Sauté: Brown your tempeh by frying it.
Perfect tempeh crumbles require a perfect spice mixture – tamari, thyme, sage, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. This makes perfect tempeh crumbles that will work in many of your favorite recipes such as loaded tempeh stew or red beans and rice.
The oil free tempeh dance
I take an oil free approach to all my recipes. Depending on the pan you choose, you may get a bit of the tempeh (or other ingredients) sticking to the pan when you ‘dry’ sauté. Don’t panic. Movement is your first defense, lowering the heat, the second.
It took a bit of time for me to leave oil completely. I know about how unhealthy added oil is. There is plenty of substantive research to back that up. Still, I kept thinking. Would a tablespoon of oil really hurt? Then I did the math. A tablespoon of oil a day adds up to 12 1/5 pounds a year. 100% fat. I didn’t miss it once I gave it up. Food and mood lighter and brighter. Peace.Print
Make perfect tempeh crumbles – the healthy, versatile, flavorful, chewy, oil free alternative to store-bought vegan mince (crumbles) or animal-based products.
- 1 – 8 oz. block tempeh
- 4–6 cups vegetable broth (depending on pan depth)
- 1 Tbsp. Tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 Tbsp. tamari (soy sauce)
- 1 tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Slice the tempeh into strips and crumble into pieces (thumbnail size).
- Place the tempeh into a pan, cover with broth and 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce) and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Drain the crumbles and press the sides of the colander to get as much liquid out as possible.
- Sauté until the tempeh starts to brown (5-10 minutes).
- Add another tablespoon of tamari, the thyme, sage, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Sauté another 3-4 minutes until the tempeh is coated.
- Your time needed to simmer can vary depending on the freshness (and softness) of the tempeh. I’ve also left it for up to 40 minutes with no problems.
- If you are making tempeh strips, such as for tempeh bacon, be sure to follow the simmer method before you marinade or cook.
- You can prepare the tempeh crumbles and store in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.
- You can substitute the veggie broth (or bullion cube) for water. There will a slight flavor adjustment, so you may want to add extra spices.
- Category: Tips & Techniques
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Plant-based
Keywords: make perfect tempeh crumbles