Serves 2 to 4
Total time: 30 minutes || Active time: 30 minutes
I needed a way to use up my leftover ranch dressing, so why not Buffalo some tempeh? Spicy, tangy, saucy tempeh over a cool ranch salad was just what the summer night ordered. And this recipe is capital E lowercase A lowercase S lowercase Y. (Um, that spells “Easy.”)
Secret: sometimes I google my own recipes. So instead of, you know, opening my copy of Appetite For Reduction, I found the Buffalo Tempeh recipe online. In fact, I came across a blog that mentioned crumbling instead of cutting. “Hmmm, no slicing, that sounds cool.” Thought lazy me. And so I crumbled. And then, once the laziness took hold, I really didn’t feel like steaming or marinating. Instead, I used the method for Tempeh Sausage Crumbles in Vegan With A Vengeance. Essentially, steam that yumminess in the same pan you’re going to saute it in. Pour in the sauce, and boom, a really really really easy summer night topping for your ranch salad!
The ranch will make more than you need, but I’m sure that’s ok, right? I looooove powdered onion and garlic in ranch dressing. I don’t know, I was born in the 70s, that’s what we ate, there were no fresh onions or garlic. But feel free to use fresh as you see fit. In my opinion, fresh chives are a must!
~The nutritional yeast in the recipe is just for body. It helps the dressing cling to the veggies. But you can omit it, if you like!
~I never measure the water for steaming the tempeh, I just make sure that the tempeh is submerged, and maybe poking out of the water just a bit. This process takes out the bitterness that is sometimes associated with tempeh, and gets it nice and ready for soaking up the sauce.
~This recipe makes the perfect amount if you’re having dinner for two. If you’re serving it with a soup or side, then it will be enough for four. The recipe doubles wonderfully, though, if need be.
~If you’re wondering if you can use another hot sauce besides Frank’s….no! It has to be Frank’s for that Buffalo flavor. I mean, I suppose another “Lousiana style hot sauce” might work, but don’t come crying to me if it’s not awesome.
For the tempeh:
8 oz tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce
2 teaspoons dried oregano
For the ranch dressing:
1/4 cup vegan mayo, homemade or storebought
1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
For the salad:
2 romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
Extra chives for garnish
Tear the tempeh into bite-sized pieces and place in a large stainless steel pan. Cover with water (see note above), cover and bring to a boil. Let steam for 15 minutes or so, and in the meantime, make the dressing (directions below).
After 15 minutes, most of the water in the tempeh should be mostly evaporated. Drain the remaining water, if any, into the sink, being careful not to lose any of the tempeh (hold it back with a spatula or something.)
Return to the stove and drizzle in two teaspoons of olive oil. Saute tempeh for 7 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Shove all the tempeh to the side, and saute the garlic in the remaining teaspoon of oil for 15 seconds or so. Then flip it in with the tempeh and cook for a minute or so.
Add the hot sauce, vegetable broth, and oregano and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 5 more minutes. The sauce should reduce by half. Taste for salt. It really shouldn’t need any because the hot sauce is pretty spicy.
To make the dressing:
Mix all ingredient together in a mug. Use a fork and just stir until well combined.
Toss the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers with a 1/2 cup dressing or so. Top with tempeh, spooning extra sauce from the pan over it. Serve with additional ranch and dig in.