Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 10 minutes

My favorite way to use tempeh is crumbling it into other foods, which distributes delicious bits throughout the dish and makes the most of tempehs unique flavor. Think of how you might use grated cheese, only it doesn’t melt. And the crispness is a treat.

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

8 ounces (about 2 cups) tempeh

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. When hot, use 2 forks or your fingers to crumble the tempeh into the hot oil. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits, until the tempeh is deeply colored and crisp on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the tempeh with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Use immediately or cool a bit, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Variations

Seasoned Crumbled Tempeh. Use any spice mixture (to make your own, see Spice Mixtures) or simply the salt and black pepper: When the tempeh is just about done, sprinkle it with spice to taste a tablespoon or so and a little more salt and pepper. Cook and stir for another minute or two to take the rawness out of the seasonings, then proceed with the recipe from Step 2.

Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh with Fresh Herbs. All cilantro or half cilantro and half parsley are naturals here, though you can certainly experiment with basil or mint too: When the tempeh is just about done, stir in 1 cup of chopped mild fresh herb leaves and a little more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook and stir for another minute or two to take the rawness out of the seasonings, then proceed with the recipe from Step 2.

Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh with Chile Paste. Deeply flavored with a hot finish: When the tempeh is basically done, stir in up to 1/4 cup of Chile Paste. Cook and stir for another minute or two, then proceed with the recipe from Step 2.

Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh with Wheat Berries. Use this combination for about 3 cups of a milder-tasting version of the main recipe or any of the variations: Increase the amount of oil to 3 tablespoons. Along with the tempeh, stir in 1 cup of cooked wheat berries. Proceed with the recipe. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

10 Ways to Use Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh

  1. Fill burritos, tacos, or enchiladas.
  2. Sprinkle on pizzas before baking.
  3. Sprinkle on top of green salads.
  4. Fluff with any cooked rice or grain pilaf right before serving.
  5. Stir into any cooked sauce as it simmers for ameaty enrichment
  6. Stir-fry into any Fried Rice.
  7. Add to soups at the last minute.
  8. Stir into a pot of beans or chili during the last few minutes of cooking.
  9. Toss with Asian-style noodle dishes (see The Basics of Asian Noodles).
  10. Add to Sushi Bowls.