Tempeh is a delicious fermented soybean product made with ground soybeans. Unlike tofu it has a flavor of its own, and its firm, dry texture makes it very easy to work with. In this dish, tempeh is simmered in an aromatic tomato sauce with vegetables and herbs. I think it goes particularly well with brown rice. Because tempeh freezes well, I always keep some on hand so I can make this on a moments notice.

SERVES 4

Вј cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 large green bell pepper, cut into ВЅ-inch dice

8 ouncesВ tempehimage, cut into ВЅ-inch cubes

1ВЅ cups finely chopped peeled tomatoes with their juice (from 16-ounce can)

2 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry red or white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or Вј teaspoon dried basil

Вј teaspoon dried marjoram

Вј teaspoon dried oregano

Вј teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and onion, and saut for 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Add the zucchini and toss for 2 more minutes. Add the green pepper and tempeh, and cook, tossing occasionally, for 5 more minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, vermouth, and all of the remaining ingredients, and stir well. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is fragrant and thickened. Do not overcook the vegetables; they should still retain a slight crunchiness. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 24 hours, then reheat slowly until piping hot.