1/2 Tempeh Helper

Happy New Year and happy Meatless Monday. They both make me feel optimistic. It is like clicking the refresh button on my life. At the end of December when all of the emotion and expectation of the holidays begins to mount, I find such  joy in the purchase of my new day planner.  It is a blank slate and there are hundreds of calendar days waiting to be filled in. Days to be filled with new and familiar experiences I will choose. No one else writes in my planner but me. It is up to me.  The New Year makes me feel like any and all things are possible.

This is the spirit of excitement for something new that I have found in the Meatless Monday movement. The Meatless Monday campaign centers around the idea that every Monday is the New Years Day of the week. It is a fresh start, an opportunity to make a new choice that benefits your bod, invigorates your health and excites your palate.  So on this first Monday of a brand new year, enjoy your opportunity to experience and enjoy something new.

Yesterday morning on New Years Day I woke up knowing we should veganize Hamburger Helper using Tempeh. I cant explain why.  I have never even had Hamburger Helper, with or without meat. This may be a strange culinary indicator of the year to come or just an attempt to make  dinner easy on a day that I had planned to spend in my pajamas with Chloe, a six of Java Porter and a stack of unwatched DVD’s. We’ll see.

Photo By: S. Duquet

Tempeh Helper

By: S.  Boulton


8 oz  pkg tempeh

2  1/4 C of your favorite curly or elbow pasta

1  1/4 C + water, divided

3 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

3 Tbsp liquid aminos

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

4 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground rosemary

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (more or less to taste)

1 C sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

1 C chopped bell peppers (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange)

2 C fresh chopped parsley

Make it Happen:

Prepare the tempeh by cutting the block into 4 pieces and boil for 10 minutes to hydrate.   Let tempeh cool enough to handle (can run under cold water).  Spray a large saute pan with cooking oil and crumble the tempeh in pieces into the pan, it will look like veggie crumbles or ground beef.  Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes (to brown) with 1 Tbsp of the liquid aminos. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 1/4 C water until blended completely and pour into the tempeh.  Add another 1/2 C water, the other 2 Tbsp liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, rosemary, ground pepper, mushrooms and bell peppers and simmer on medium low heat for about 15 minutes. During simmer, you may need to add some more water if the mixture looks a little dry.  Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain the cooked pasta and blend into the tempeh mixture and stir in the parsley. Serves 3 or two very hungry girls.

Photo By: S. Duquet

This dish was warm and creamy. The flavor was exciting and fresh in a way that surprised me. I knew it could be tasty and comforting like a mature mac and cheese but the parsley made it lively and the pepper gave it sass. It was tempeh in a way that I had not yet had and it was fantastic. What an appetizing way to begin a  new week and year.

Have a delicious day.

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Please leave a comment

  1. julie Says:

    I am printing this. What about a Vegan Stuffed Cabbage that what i want.

  2. Sherry Says:

    You are absolutely going to love Tempeh Helper and maybe even crave it. Here is a link for easy and crave worthy cabbage rolls. http://www.exploitsofaveganwannabe.com/2011/12/125-winners-your-dinner-solution/

  3. julie Says:

    I dont see the link. :)

  4. Sherry Says:

    I am sorry Julie. I just added it anew and thank you for telling me. I thought it was there. I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Greg Says:

    Am I correct that you are calling for 2 1/4 cups dry pasta? Recipe looks great! I hope to make it tonight. Thanks!

  6. Sherry Says:

    Yes Greg you are correct about the pasta being dry. We went for three 3/4 cup servings. This is such a hearty, soul satisfying dish. Please let me know how yours turns out and if you changed anything.

  7. Marilyn Says:

    Wow! This comfort food recipe is great! I think I’ll talk about it on my website during the month! Even though I don’t have any memories of eating “hamburger helper”, this recipe tastes like one my mother used to do! :) It made me so happy! Thanks a lot!

  8. Fast Food Made Healthier : Tempeh Helper! | Veggie Pawa! Says:

    […] cannot recall the exact taste of the original thing. But when I stumbled across this recipe on Exploits of a Wannabe Vegan, I instantly though of this amazing — yet so simple — beef macaroni my mother used to make. Oh, […]

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