Friday, July 22, 2011

Tempeh Helper, take 2

Tempeh Helper (page 171) with Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce (page 173)
substituting zucchini for green peas

My first attempt at the Tempeh Helper was a real disappointment. We all found the natural bitterness of the tempeh too overwhelming for the dish, and it just really wasn't even palatable. Blech. I concluded that pre-steaming the tempeh would probably be a good idea, which is exactly what I did last night. It adds an extra step, but the recipe is simple enough that it's still pretty fast to get on the table. I simply used the microwave to steam it in a dish with a little water while I began the "Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce."

I also got a great tip from Lazy Smurf in the comments from the last Tempeh Helper post: apparently, Wheatsville carries a locally made tempeh that isn't as bitter tasting. I had the opportunity to swing by Wheatsville the other day (not my usual part of town), so I picked some up. This stuff is great! Made by The Hearty Vegan, it is flavorful, yet mild. (I also picked up a package of their tempeh sausage patties, and those are awesome, too!)

I switched up the pasta this time, using whole-wheat elbow macaroni instead of tiny quinoa shells. And, I diced up a zucchini and tossed that in the pot instead of using frozen green peas.

So, in conclusion - the change in tempeh protocol and brand made a huge difference in this recipe for this family. The kids liked it a lot, and so did El Hombre. Me? I thought it was okay. I've never been a huge fan of dinner-from-a-box style foods, and of course, this recipe is modeled after Hamburger Helper. I'm not sure if I'll ever make it again, but if this kind of food is your thing, it certainly is a fast, easy weeknight meal.


3rd grade teacher said...

You really didn't like it? I LOVE this dish, but I'm all for creamy foods. My husband and I could eat this every week. I have only tried it with steamed tempeh though. I have put broccoli in it, but I will have to try it with zucchini next time.

Julie Ann said...

Well, really I could just take it or leave it. It was "meh" for me. Everyone else in the family enjoyed it a lot, however! :-)
By the way, I just took a peek at your blog - I had no idea we have similar projects here!!! I'll have fun following along with you now.

Milk said...

I've used Turtle Island 5-grain tempeh for another dish and it tasted just fine without steaming.

I think this is one of the more widespread brands too. :)

Basht said...

I like to skip the easy breezy cheeze sauce for this and instead just add 2 tbsp nutritional yeast to the spice blend. I also make sure to marinate the tempeh and because my daughter likes it better, we add broccoli instead of peas. :)

Big Mama said...

Because I am not trying to lose a lot of weight, I modify a lot of these recipes to make them taste better, a.k.a add more fat. With this recipe I used about a 1/4 of the steamed tempeh, crumbled tiny, and then added a Field Roast apple and sage "sausage". Otherwise, I left the rest of the recipe alone. So good.

kaenhu said...

I find all the seasonings and cheezy sauce too overwhelming. I double the amount of pasta in the recipe and leave everything else the way it is and it works well for me. Not a big favorite but I still like it every now and then.