Plan your weekend meals around these great, budget-friendly vegan foods

Within the early 2000s, after a debilitating three-year battle with arthritis, I met a kindred spirit named Melina. She was a gifted vegetarian/vegan prepare dinner and had simply moved together with her husband from Germany to the USA. She was a classically educated chef, however she suffered a number of well being crises that induced her to rethink nearly every thing she believed about meals and consuming.

Not fascinated about cooking meat or conventional dishes normally, she turned her consideration to creating lovely and scrumptious plant-based meals, meals that she believed performed an integral function in serving to her regain her well being. Her newfound ardour took her all around the world to coach and study from a number of the finest folks within the pure meals and well being trade on the time, and finally led to her opening a quick food-style vegan deli subsequent door to the place she labored. We met and hit it off straight away, and earlier than lengthy, I used to be serving to out within the kitchen on the weekends.

She did not introduce me to tempeh, however she modified the way in which I make it ceaselessly. When you’ve by no means tried it, you need to give it a strive. Cheap, nutrient-dense and stuffed with protein, it is one thing you’ll be able to add to your menu in the course of the week.

Melina felt strongly that solely organically grown and non-GMO merchandise ought to be used Fermented Soy meals, similar to tempeh or miso, have been secure to devour. She defined that soy was by no means meant to be consumed in giant portions, made into concentrated protein powder, and even consumed every day. I’ve considered tempeh and miso like espresso or chocolate: they’re good for most individuals, so long as they’re natural and consumed carefully inside the bigger scope of a nutrient-dense weight loss plan.

There’s a lot to clarify about soybeans, and there’s a lot of excellent data accessible if you happen to select to delve into the potential advantages, in addition to the issues related to it. One such downside is that like all grains – together with espresso beans, cocoa beans, grains, nuts and seeds – they’re excessive in phytic acid, a pure acid that inhibits mineral absorption. Phytic acid is the storage type of phosphorus in vegetation, essentially the most concentrated space being within the bran or outer hull of the seed. Because of the fermentation course of by which tempeh is made, phytic acid is damaged down.

As soon as upon a time, tempeh may solely be present in well being meals shops, however that’s not the case. It comes packaged as a skinny, dense cake and is now discovered within the produce part of most grocery shops. They’re typically constructed from soybeans, however lately, varieties constructed from varied legumes and even grains have grow to be more and more accessible.

Need extra nice recipe writing? Subscribe to Salon Meals’s publication, The Chew.

The fermentation course of makes tempeh a lot simpler to digest than different beans, whereas imparting an earthy, nearly nutty taste as a bonus. Tempeh is straightforward to arrange and extremely versatile. They’re agency and chewy, maintain their form, and are extra satisfying to eat than most different meat substitutes.

The tempeh will tackle no matter taste you favor with the thirty-minute marinade. The trick is that it’s important to steam or simmer it for about ten minutes beforehand. This precooking step removes the robust fermentation taste and prepares the tempeh so it might probably take up the flavors of the marinade. From barbecue to a vigorous Italian mix to one thing extra Asian-inspired and gingery, tempeh can embrace it.

Tempeh stays good and price range pleasant. You should purchase it and if you cannot use it, you’ll be able to put it immediately within the fridge as is – no extra wrapping or packaging required. Their packaging is vacuum sealed to stop freezer burn. I preserve it readily available for fast meals that I could make at a second’s discover.

This tempeh recipe is a kind of recipes I exploit after I need one thing simple and nutritious.


1 bag cauliflower and/or pre-cooked rice

1 block tempeh

For the marinade:

1 to 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos and salt

1 to 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar

A drizzle of maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 cloves of recent garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped recent onion

A splash of sizzling sauce, non-obligatory

To brighten:

Toasted sesame, non-obligatory

Black cumin or roasted black cumin non-obligatory

Inexperienced onions, chopped, non-obligatory


  1. Lower the tempeh into bite-sized items and place them in a pan with a pinch of salt and sufficient water to nearly cowl them.

  2. Cook dinner for five to 7 minutes, then flip the tempeh and prepare dinner for an extra 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Combine all of the marinade components collectively and stir properly.

  4. Drain, dry, place in a plate and marinate for at the very least half-hour.

  5. In a non-stick frying pan, add a little bit oil and fry the seasoned tempeh items for a number of minutes or Place the tempeh on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake till browned in a 415 diploma oven. Pour extra marinade over the tempeh a number of occasions because it bakes.

  6. As soon as the tempeh is cooked to your liking, add the cauliflower rice or plain rice to the pan and proceed frying till every thing is sizzling. Add marinade, broth, or water if essential to moisten the rice whereas cooking.

  7. Modify seasoning and add toasted sesame seeds and/or toasted black seeds (also called black cumin or nigella seeds) or chopped inexperienced onions.

Cook dinner notes


There may be nothing sacred concerning the components I discussed on this recipe. So long as you’ve gotten a little bit of one thing salty, a little bit of one thing acidic, a little bit of one thing candy, (and non-obligatory: a little bit of one thing spicy), the sky is the restrict. The identical goes for including extra recent or dried herbs and spices.

Cooking methodology

  • When you’re in a rush, you are able to do this in a single pan.
  • When you desire crunchy tempeh, you may must fry, air fry, or bake it individually from the cauliflower rice or common rice and add it final.
  • “Convection Bake” works nice and accelerates the method you probably have this setting in your oven.
  • You may as well steam/simmer the tempeh within the broth in the course of the pre-cooking step so as to add extra taste.

Learn extra

about this topic