Thursday, November 5, 2015

Italian Tempeh and Sweet Pepper Pasta

I love tempeh.  I love pasta.  And yet I never thought to combine the two.  It's a genius way to add some healthy protein to a pasta dish.  Don't judge my random mix of pastas.  I combined two partially-used boxes :)

I would not, however, call this a vegetarian version of "meat sauce," or else I would have hated it.  I have always hated meat sauce, even when I was little.  This isn't meat sauce, but it's a very tasty vegetarian sauce, with sweet red peppers, lots of garlic, sage, oregano, and plenty of fennel seeds.  Red wine vinegar brightens all the flavors and ties it all together in a way that I didn't expect.  There's a lot going on in there for a humble little tomato sauce (can you say 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce!?!Umami, baby).  Mmm, I'm missing this sauce right about now.

Served over pasta, this was a great dinner.  I ate the leftovers all week long at work.  Tempeh is never as good reheated in my opinion, but it's still good enough to eat.  I even brought some for one of my work friends, not a normal tempeh eater, but she agreed that it was really good.  I'll get everyone I know eating tempeh ASAP.


Italian tempeh and sweet pepper pasta
from Coconut and Berries

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 8-ounce package tempeh
1 clove garlic minced
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
10 ounces pasta
handful of basil for garnish


1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.

2) Crumble in the tempeh, leaving some larger pieces.  Add the garlic and herbs, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so to allow the tempeh to brown slightly.

3) Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, and sugar.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes while you cook the pasta according to the package directions.

4) Turn off the heat and add the red wine vinegar.  Check for seasoning and stir through the cooked pasta.

5)  Serve immediately, garnished with basil.

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