Keep Calm and Tempeh On

by Holly on March 16, 2011

in dinner,gluten-free,rambling,vegan

I am not a picky eater.

Approximately 99.9% of the time, I’ll happily scarf down anything resembling edible food. From blue boxes of Kraft mac & cheese to roasted pork jowls to entire baking sheets of kale chips to 3/4 of a boxed yellow cake with chocolate frosting (that one was on a dare), chances are I’ll eat it. I’ve never been much of a gambler.

Just don’t serve me olives or mushrooms or grapefruit or cantaloupe.

Then, you will lose. Guaranteed.

However, despite my adventurously curious tastebuds, there are a few other foods I’ve always been skeptical of. Seafood is a tricky one with me – sometimes I enjoy a perfectly grilled piece of salmon while other times I steer clear from that heinous, fishy-smelling aroma. Also, what is the deal with hemp protein powder? It tastes like straight-up mother earth in all her gritty glory, and while I pretended to like it for awhile, I haven’t touched the stuff since August 25, 2009.

And tempeh.

How are you even supposed to pronounce this most curious word?




However you choose to pronounce it (I say tem-puh), this fermented soy product can be scary. I mean, when you open up a package to find your food resembles vacuum-packed brains and smells like sweaty feet, one has the right to be skeptical, no?

But you keep calm and carry on.

That’s what Kate Middleton would do.

And sInce I’m also practically a princess, that’s what I do too.

In the face of tempeh adversity, I turned to one woman and one recipe only: Heidi’s Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh. I kept calm. I carried on. And I devoured this entire dish.

This recipe is hands down the BEST tempeh dish I’ve ever had.

And to top it off, I served it with kale chips and quinoa as well as conquered another food skepticism of mine: fennel.

Per the advice of one sweet reader named Liz, I bought a small fennel bulb at the co-op last week. I sliced it, roasted it in EVOO + garlic and grated a generous dusting of buttery parmesan cheese over the the top.

And gamble of all gambles, I liked it.

Not surprising, however.

Princesses like Kate and myself are too nice and worldly to be picky eaters.


sofia March 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm

looks like you did wonders with such a feared food! i am the same way with artichokes. i feel that before i cook them properly, they will choke my novice-chef-in-training self, in all their arti-power. or maybe i’m just delusional?

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks March 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Looks great, Holly! Gonna file this recipe away for the next time I’ve got a block of tempeh on hand. I JUST posted my favorite tempeh recipe last week too — it’s crunchy and savory/sweet and… really good. You should try it sometime!

Leah @ L4L March 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I love tem-pay! *nom* Too bad I can’t do oranges otherwise I’d have loved to give this recipe a shot! Also, I strongly dislike fennel. I think it tastes like black licorice. This is also why I strongly dislike anise.

Britannie March 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I just thought the fennel was a bunch of tentacles hahaha

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm

i have a fennel recipe on my site that uses coconut oil (if you’re back to liking it and not thinking it’s too nasty..i remember that post)

great job on the temmm-peee.

That’s how i say it.

Megan March 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

the infamous chocolate cake dare..oh the sherwin house in its glory days… love you lady

Lauren March 17, 2011 at 5:52 am

Haha, that’s funny. I usually say tem-path. I know I’m probably way off but that is what I’ve always thought it was so I just go with it.

Erica March 17, 2011 at 6:00 am

owww! I’m staying away from olives or mushrooms (ick!). But I’ll eat all of the grapefruit and cantaloupe for you :). Tempeh is interesting. I like how it takes on flavors but I just can’t do the texture. Guess we all have our food hang ups!

Katie March 17, 2011 at 6:06 am

The fennel looks so weird but Im sure it is really good! I have never tried it!

I love tempeh! I have not had it in a while, but this dish makes me want it!

Happy Thursday! <3 xoxo

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 17, 2011 at 6:29 am

I’ve surprisingly never had tempeh, but you’ve inspired me. You’ve also inspired me to be more Princess-like today. My Husband will (not) thank you later.

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate March 17, 2011 at 7:09 am

It took me a long time to finally try tempeh, but I really like the stuff. Slap some cheese, bbq sauce, and caramelized onions on that sucker and I am a happy man.

brandi March 17, 2011 at 7:47 am

1. I still haven’t made this tempeh recipe.
2. The first time I was planning to order a tempeh dish at a local place, I googled it to see how to pronounce it :) Geek!
3. I’m not a fan of fennel based on the ways I’ve had it, but I may need to try this.
4. Seriously loving your header. It’s so you!

Happy Thursday friend!

Katie March 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’m not a picky eater, either. Sometimes I wish my palate was a bit more refined – but a dare to eat a whole boxed cake sounds delicious to me.

Also, I tried making tempeh once and it didn’t turn out well, at all. I may have to give it another shot seeing as how delicious this looks.

kathleen March 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

hm. still not sure about the fennel. or maybe it’s because i’ve only had it in restuarants where they pair it with mandarin oranges and a sweet raspberry-esque dressing…?

Kacy March 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

Tempeh scares me. I still haven’t tried it. I bought it once and gave it away because it freaked me out so much.
Mushrooms and shrimp are my do not eat items. Most everything else I can do. I’m iffy on fish too. I hate salmon but I like some of the milder white fishes.

Kailey (SnackFace) March 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

Oooh I can’t get down with the fennel. It’s too licorice-y for me!

However, I love me all the things you listed that you hated AND I love me some tempeh. The people at VegNews pronounce it “temp-ay” and they know more than I do, so Imma roll with that.

OK, but onto a more pressing issues: Why haven’t we caught up yet? How about THIS weekend??? Pleeeease, I miss you and feel disconnected and don’t like that.

LOVE YOU!!! xoxoxoo

Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

That’s the most beautiful tempeh I’ve ever seen!

Ashley @ 365 things March 17, 2011 at 10:13 am

Tempeh is one of those things I want try, but still never have. You make it look/sound delicious though.

Kay March 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Glad to hear I’m not the only foodie who just DOESN’T DO grapefruit! When I tell people, they act like I have just spoken a horror — “BUT YOU’RE SO HEALTHY!” they demand.

Don’t care. Grapefruit is the pits, every time.

Mushrooms are great, though. I’ll take yours!

I used to hate tempeh until I had it marinated and grilled on a panini. Mmmmmm

my little celebration March 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Yummer McTummers. Looks good! I’ll admit, I’m skeptical of fennel and tempeh, too. But this post may have me changing my mind.

Megan (Braise the Roof) March 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Oh, tempeh. Since I recently found out that it’s actually really good for you (the fermentation does good things to the soy, apparently) I feel like I need to eat it more. But it is kinda freaky, I agree. :)

Andrea@WellnessNotes March 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Tempeh has been on my “list” for a long time, but I still haven’t made it. Thanks for the warning that it resembles vacuum-packed brains and smells like sweaty feet! ;)

janetha @ meals and moves March 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

i love fennel. but your fennel looks like white worms in dirt. just sayin. the only food i hate is hot dogs but i will eat them. i mean, i had to in chicago. i didn’t like it though. bleh.

Rachel (Olalliberry) March 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I despised olives until about two years ago, when I tried some really fancy, big, green imported olives marinated in garlic and red chilies. Those are the ONLY kind of olives I will eat!

Your tempeh looks great, I’m not a huge fan of tempeh but, like you, I try to be open-minded. Sometimes I have to try a new food a few times before I start to like it.

emily (a nutritionist eats) March 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I don’t like tempeh either, but this actually sounds good!!!

Hannah(mindrunningwild) March 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm

can I just say YUM? I’ve never been a fan of tempeh either, but your photos make it look oh so yummy!
As for fennel, I’m a huge fan and yours looks like it would do my taste buds a favor yum!

carin March 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

the fennel looks like WORMS!!! i keep meaing to make that tempeh and havent yet….but it always looks so good

julie March 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

i wanted to come back and tell you (because i was reading your posts yesterday but didn’t get a chance to comment) that every time i get on a plane i think about who would be my ‘jack’ and ‘sawyer’

i’m also glad you’re on the ground. love you mama!

Pure2raw twins March 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Love fennel!!

I agree with hemp protein powder. I remember trying it about a 2 years ago and thought how do people eat this. Hemp seeds I love, but the powder another story. But lately I am trying to get more protein so added it back. Still do not like it, so have to add a lot of other things to help get it down haha

Mackenzie @ Whatever, Gatsby March 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

ewwwww! tempeh still weirds me out! you described it perfectly! totally brainy and smelly and just plain weird! even as a vegetarian i know that seitan > tempeh TIMES A THOUSAND! i sometimes wish tempeh and olives and beets would go jump off a cliff together.

is that mean?
i think it’s kind of just. :)

Denice March 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

So, I just got my first bunch of Kale. It was one of THOSE foods that I didn’t know what to do with it….but I kept calm and added it to a smoothie to start….eh…I like spinach in my smoothies more. However, I am sitting with my first bowl of kale chips….and oh my!! If I could buy stock in Kale I would. This is great, why am I just now making this. THanks so much for sharing this with us!!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: