Total time: 90 minutes (1-hour marinade) || Active time: 20 minutes
A few things happened this week that had me searing up this succulent tempeh with a bright, fresh, tangy, garlicky, herby sauce.
One was a long conversation at Omaha Vegan Drinks with our friend Hector, who is from Argentina, the land of chimichurri. I would love to visit someday, and he was telling me about some of the traditional foods. (PS They are verrry meat-centric.)
And then the next day, I heard this fabulous story on NPR about a tempeh cooperative in Jakarta, another place on my travel wish-list: “Journey To Java’s ‘Tempeh Village’: Where Soybean Cakes Are Born.” You can read or listen here.
It got me thinking about traditional vegan foods and food history and food future. And how vegan cuisine plays with traditions from all over the world bringing together every corner of our little planet. And so here we are, with Tempeh Chimichurri.
One of my favorite quotes from Hendeko, the tempeh coop manager: “My world revolves around tempeh, I have tempeh every day. Even though there are other dishes, a meal just wouldn’t feel the same without tempeh.”
I sliced the tempeh thin here so that it would soak up plenty of marinade. Simply slice tempeh into four slabs, then cut each slab in half, like a sandwich. See?
And then I reserved plenty of chimichurri for pouring over the finished dish, so that you get all those bright, fresh flavors. Saute up some asparagus for a few minutes, before cooking the tempeh, and you can serve with a baked potato as well.
And there you have it, a trip to Indonesia and Argentina, all in one.
~This recipe serves 2 as an entree, but if you’d like to serve 4, it’s easy. Simply make an extra half serving of the marinade, no need to double it. That will be enough for a pound of tempeh.
~If this is your first time working with tempeh, I wrote a tempeh primer for the Washington Post awhile back. Give it a read!
~If you wanna’ just make the chimichurri, that’s cool, too! It makes a great sauce for black beans, kale and quinoa.
8 oz tempeh, sliced into 8 thin slabs (see pic above)
For the chimichurri:
4 cloves garlic
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup veg broth
For the additional marinade:
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
Olive oil spray
Sauteed or steamed veggies
Baked potato or rice
First, steam tempeh for 10 minutes. This softens up the tempeh and gets it ready to soak up plenty of marinade.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. Simply blend all of the sauce ingredients (not the tamari, though) until relatively smooth.
When tempeh is steamed, pour half a cup of chimichurri into a measuring cup and add the soy sauce. (You want the soy sauce in the marinade, but not the finished chimichurri, it would be too aggressive and salty.) Reserve the rest of the chumichurri for pouring over the cooked tempeh.
Place warm tempeh on a plate and pour marinade over. Rub the marinade into the tempeh. Let sit for an hour, flipping once, and rubbing in the marinade again.
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Spray pan with a thin layer of oil. Place tempeh in a single layer and cook for 4 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Spray with more oil, and flip tempeh, cooking for 3 more minutes. Now add the remaining from the plate marinade and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, flipping occasionally.
Serve tempeh over veggies, drizzled with more fresh chimichurri.