All this cookie excitement made me almost forget that Vegan Brunch will be out in just a few weeks! I’m going to share a few recipes with you over the next month and maybe even a video if I can get it together. I know today is Saturday but maybe you’ve got enough time to procure the ingredients in time for Sunday for one of my favorite brunch appetizers, Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes.
Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes
I love the succulent little pieces of tempeh you get when biting into this crisp, flavorful cake. Crab cakes are the inspiration here. I used to spend lots of time in Baltimore and back then pollution in the Chesapeake Bay was a big issue. I think it’s doing much better now and these cakes are a tribute to it. Update: Came to find the Bay is actually doing worse. All the more reason to eat tempeh instead of crabbies!
Make ahead: Make the entire mixture and the remoulade the night before. In the morning, form into cakes and pan fry.
For the cakes:
8 ounces tempeh (use the nori tempeh if you can find it, but plain soy tempeh is fine, too)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons Vegenaisse
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspooon salt
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)
Oil for pan frying
For the remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)
Lemon wedges for serving
First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to infuse some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucier or small pan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.
Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.
Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3- inch patties. I do them in batches of five. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.
Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Just made these tonight with plain bread crumbs as I didn’t have panko. Absolutely amazing. A new household classic is born. 😉
All my water was evaporated after 6 minutes of boiling over a medium- med/high flame. Hope that was long enough to get out the bitterness.
Man these were divine. We aren’t fans of tempeh so we weren’t sure how they’d turn out for us, but we’ll definately be making them again! Especially loved the sauce. That’d go well on pretty much anything I think.
Amazing! My favorite tempeh recipe ever! I ran out of Vegenaise before I could make the sauce, but my fella (an omni) and I still gobbled them up in minutes. I’m definitely making them again for a Thanksgiving appetizer, with remoulade.
I’m making these now- has anyone tried baking them? I’m thinking 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so? Any suggestions?
So we just ate these and they are TO DIE FOR! Definitely recommend them for anyone who wants something impressive and yummy. The remoulade is great too.
I also baked them, which made them lighter I think. I baked them for 20 minutes at 375 and they got lightly browned. I also sprayed them with non-stick cooking spray.
Nice work Isa!
Isa, do you think it’d be possible to make these without soy? Such as with chickpea instead of tempeh?
I haven’t used chickpeas but others have with success! I would actually be curious to try black eyes peas instead of tempeh.
holy vinegar.. these were great BUT i’d cut out some vinegar!
Wah? There’s a tablespoon of vinegar. That’s like hardly anything.
Laura in Taos
These came out great! The vinegar was not an issue, but for moi, next time I’d probably cut way back on the hot sauce in the cake mixture. The dressing was a nice way to regulate the heat. Most of mine didn’t fall apart, which is a huge victory. What a wonderful addition to the repertoire. Thanks!
We added some steamed cauliflower chopped up into the tempeh mix, and it came out great. Thanks.
I had my family over (mostly non-veg) and these were a hit! Even though only about half the batch made it to the table…. because i couldn’t resist ‘testing’ so many of them. Truely delectable.
Where do you find vegan panko?!?!?!?
This recipe sounds delicious. Is there any chance they can be baked instead of fried? I am trying to stay away from frying because of a previous gallbladder problem.
Yep, I like them baked, too. But use a healthy dose of cooking spray.
@lorrwill – All panko is vegan, at least that I’ve seen in my life time. It’s just fancy cut bread crumbs from Japan. Believe it or not just plain bread, no coating!
These were amazing. I definitely impressed my omnivorous roommate who is from Baltimore. We liked them so much that I’ve made them twice this week.
These were amazing! I added a few tablespoons of sweet relish, some finely chopped red onion and a tablespoon of ground kelp flakes. They were so good I think even a die hard omni would go back for seconds…or thirds. I’m going to put them to the test the next time I cook for my in-laws.
these are amazing. my husband doen’t like tempeh, but really really liked these.
These turned out beautifully!Thanks for such an amazing recipe.
Oh my god, just tried this cake and nearly cried!! After making a film for the last three years about cooking without meat and dairy, and meeting all these amazing chefs who cooked plant-based food, I finally have some time to make some food in my own kitchen and my first stop was the Veganomicon. Thanks Isa, you’re an absolute genius!! Going to try some more of your recipes… in the meantime check out our film on http://www.planeat.co.uk if you’re interested in what we cooked up 🙂
Sorry i commented on the wrong recipe – i meant to comment on the chocolate cake recipe, but obviously had already moved on to your tempeh cakes i was so excited!
WOW! Just made these for dinner and they were PHENOMENAL! The flavor and texture were perfect!
Oy gavult. Just made these for the thousandth time. They have become a staple at our house. Just as good as always. Don’t be afraid to experiment! I top this version with slices of avocado. I’ve also made them Asian-style (wasabi!), Mexican (chipotle) and Indian (curry w/tamarind or mint cream remoulade). My husband gets giddy when it’s crabcakes night. Oh, and they blow omnivores away! Great option for a mixed dinner party or just an appetizer for cocktails.
Made these last night and the two of us ATE THE ENTIRE BATCH
I just ADORE tempeh, i can even eat it raw with soy sauce…..i can’t just figure out how delicious this way could be….divine!
Did I misunderstand something in the recipe? I cut the amount of hot sauce in thirds and still had a remoulade with a LOT of kick. I am from Texas and not unused to heat, but cannot imagine if I had used the full portion stated in the recipe. I am assuming that this is a misunderstanding of colloquialism. To me, hot sauce is essentially liquid pepper (i.e. Tabasco). Is it possible that the “Yankees” use the term to mean salsa?
Nope, it’s hot sauce! I use either Frank’s Red Hot or Cholula, never had any complaints. Sorry if it wasn’t your thing, though!
No worries. Mine is straight habanero, which is probably the problem. I’ll try one of the brands that you suggested next time. As it was, the recipe turned out great.