Ever feel like if you eat another spoonful of tahini or drizzle of toasted sesame oil, you’ll turn into the seed its made from? Or that you eat so much coconut curry there’s no way you shouldn’t already be sitting on the next plane to Thailand? Maybe for you it’s cumin and chili powder. Rice and beans. Turmeric and chickpeas.
Perhaps it’s none of things – but all I know is that as a vegetarian, it’s rare I’m cooking something other than ethnic cuisine. Usually it’s Asian-inspired. Usually there’s tahini involved. Usually I’m a happy camper.
Sometimes, however, I just crave something more, I don’t know, American? After maple-tahini on my oatmeal, and soy sauce/tahini/sesame oil on my lunchtime beans and grains, I have to tell myself to step away from the tahini jar. I’m telling you – lately it’s been going on everything, and dare I say, might just be outcompeting peanut butter in my diet.
I can’t tell you how American tempeh is, but I’m fairly certain Old Bay is the country’s seasoning of the summer. So forget pizza, forget pasta. My non-Asian oriented meal is going to have tempeh, and I’m going to label it American. You can call it otherwise, I really don’t care. (In this case, perhaps an American flag would’ve made a better table setting than the Mexican blanket I used…)
Come summertime, throw some corn cobs on the grill, this tempeh on the stove, a beer in your hand, and a fresh tomato salad onto the side section of your plate, and then you can give me your answer. I’m already dreaming of this day as I type. Count me in for summer seasonings and garden-fresh sides all season long. (We’ll see if this can kick my tahini habit to a once-per-day max.)
- -1 package tempeh
- -3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- -5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- -1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- -2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- -2 Tbsp. warm water
- -1 onion, sliced
- -1/2 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
- -Soy sauce, splash
- -1 large tomato, diced
- -1/3 cup parsley, chopped
- -Soft tortilla wraps
- Slice the tempeh lengthwise into 6 strips. Cut those strips, width-wise, into thirds so you have approx. 1-inch thin slices of tempeh.
- In a medium bowl, toss tempeh with 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic, oregano, Old Bay, and warm water.
- Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook until you get a nice sear on the edges. Add a splash of soy sauce, to season.
- Use a spatula to add tempeh and its seasonings to the pan. Saute until tempeh is browned on outer edges, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a bit more water or oil to the pan, when needed. (Note: It's okay if the tempeh strips fall apart a bit. Rest assured, this won't ruin its texture in the wraps.)
- Serve a spoonful of tempeh and veggie saute onto tortillas. Top with a generous portion of diced tomatoes and chopped parsley. Eat.