Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tempeh Sloppy Joes

If you are not familiar with tempeh, please allow me to introduce it. Although not a common item in most households in the United States, tempeh, with its distinctively nutty taste and nougat-like texture, is increasing in popularity. It easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes.

Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. It is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans and its high protein content makes it a wonderful substitute for meat. It is typically made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent, and then incubating the innoculated product overnight until it forms a solid cake.

For more information about the health benefits of tempeh, please click World's Healthiest Foods.

Pritchard Parker and I really go for tempeh. I have been eating it and cooking it for years and I just recently realized I have never posted a recipe for it here on Sage Trifle. I find it very easy to find nowadays, usually in the Produce Department of major grocery chains.

Tempeh Sloppy Joes
One (12 oz.) package tempeh
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
One (10 oz.) can RoTel tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Dice or crumble the tempeh.  In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the tempeh in the olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Saute the onions, bell pepper, and garlic in the same pan until tender. Add the maple syrup, salt, pepper, chili powder, tomatoes, ketchup, and Worchestershire sauce to the onion mixture; stir together well.  Mix in the reserved tempeh.

Cover and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve on toasted buns.  Add cheese if desired.

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