Aug 202012

I’ve been making this for a while now and can’t remember how / where I pieced it together. I am fairly certain I got the idea from browsing several food blogs, recipe sites, and cookbooks. All I know is that my current “recipe” consists of my hand-written notes scrawled in pencil on an A5 piece of scrap paper, which a magnet holds to the hood of my stove…. and I use this “recipe” fairly regularly. 

This is hands-down my favorite way to cook tempeh — at least that I have discovered so far. In fact, it’s so good, that I made it again today — and I had just made it on Saturday! There are many, many ways you can adapt this recipe, and I daresay I hardly ever cook it the same way in back-to-back uses. I’ve included adaptations in parentheses.

Please note that the amounts are approximate. I don’t ever measure anything when I make this — I just have everything out and I toss it in as I’m ready. 


  • 100g (1/4lb) tempeh, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes (regular potatoes also work well; or omit altogether if you don’t have any on hand) 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced finely (if you have no garlic, or you’re not a garlic fan, use garlic or onion powder, but add it with the other spices below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or Earth Balance, and another 1-2 tablespoons reserved
  • 1-2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (light soy sauce or tamari also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chilli pepper, or to taste (use cayenne or Tabasco if that’s what you’ve got — can even use a fresh pepper if you want some serious zing!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons smoked Spanish or Hungarian paprika — very important that you use the smoked version! 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (this is optional but trust me it is SO much better with it)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100g spinach or other quick-cooking greens (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of cooked beans (optional — any kind will do: cannellini, kidney, black-eyed, pinto, I’m sure even lentils would be great!)


  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and set it on high heat. Add a dash of salt and the potatoes. When it reaches a boil (5-7 minutes), check the potatoes to see if they are fork-tender. Drain and set aside. Note: If you’ve not yet steamed the tempeh, it’s a good idea to do this at the same time! Put the tempeh (whole, uncut) into a steamer or collander and set on top of the saucepan. Cover and when the potatoes are done, your tempeh is probably steamed enough, too.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the first tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, just until you can smell the garlic, being careful not to burn it. 
  3. Add tempeh to the frying pan, along with the Bragg’s / soy sauce and the dried chilli pepper. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the tempeh soaks up the Bragg’s and begins to brown nicely.
  4. Add cooked and drained potatoes; stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add paprika and cumin (if you are not using garlic but have garlic or onion powder, add it here, too). Stir to evenly coat all of the tempeh and potato bits. Add more of either spice if you like it strong! 
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast and reduce heat to medium-low. Note: nutritional yeast will thicken this substantially. At this point, add another splash of olive oil, particularly before or at the next step. You may need it for the spinach, too. 
  7. When everything is coated in nutritional yeast, add the spinach. Stir to evenly wilt spinach. Note: If you are using a heartier green such as bok choi or chard, you may wish to add even more olive oil and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Just as the spinach is wilting but before it is completely cooked, add the beans. Stir a few times to heat through, and remove from heat. 

Serve hot out of the pan! 

Serves 2 on its own, or 4 if you add toast and fruit for a full brunch spread!

Jan 192010

Okay, so I am becoming quite adept at adapting recipes. Here is my latest, adapted from this recipe which apparently was reprinted from The Compassionate Cook Cookbook. (On a semi-related note, has anyone ever seen anything on the website posted since 2007? seriously, why is everything so out-of-date over there?)  The original recipe called for rice wine or sherry — I substituted lemon juice and I love it! Very refreshing and tangy. However, I overcooked the beans a bit so if you do try this, I hope your beans turn out more crisp than mine!

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (I used homemade, as I had some in the fridge, but you could easily substitute with a bouillon cube following package directions, or use my new favorite, Better Than Bouillon)
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of brown rice syrup* (you could also use 1 tbsp of regular sugar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


Heat the water in a wok or a large saucepan. Carefully add the beans and steam until tender but crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the broth, tamari, lemon juice, and the brown rice syrup, stirring to dissolve the syrup.

Wipe the excess water from the wok or saucepan, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for one minute. Add the beans and sauce, and cook for two minutes, stirring often.

Serve over rice or quinoa.

Serves 3-4

*in case you are wondering why I'm using brown rice syrup instead of sugar — it is an unrefined sugar, and healthier because it means your body does not metabolize it as quickly. This means your blood sugar level does not "spike" but rather it is more gradual. Other healthy, natural, and unrefined sugars are agave nectar, jaggery, molasses (widely regarded to be "the best"), and maple syrup. You will probably want to choose which sugar you use based on the flavors of the recipe you're using it in. And adjust the amount, too — some are sweeter than others. Honey can also be in this list, although it does have the same "spiking" effect as refined sugars. I'm very sorry that I don't have references for all this information — I have read so many websites and 3 different books that I cannot remember exactly how / where I found this information, only that it was repeated so many times that I obviously remember it well enough to write it here from memory!