By Chef Linda
Sausage and peppers, with its classic aroma or sweet caramelized onions, oregano, basil, and fennel, is classic comfort food. To prove we don't need animals to create our favorite dishes, we developed this recipe for a “Vegan 101” cooking class and used tempeh in place of the sausage. By using the same dried herbs and succulent vegetables, our Tempeh and Peppers recipe is nothing short of authentic and amazing. This dish can be made on the grill for summer entertaining or indoors on the stove top for a cozy Sunday dinner: It's a dish for every season! Juicy and flavorful, this dish is perfect when served on a soft split roll, but you could also pile it high on a bed of rice. Make extra, your guests will likely come back for seconds!
Italian-Style Tempeh and Peppers
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut widthwise into 1/4 inch strips
1 1/2 cups water, enough to cover the tempeh
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced, about 3 cups
2 bell peppers, seeded, stemmed, and cut into strips (green, red, yellow or mix them up), about 2 cups
3 large garlic cloves, minced, about 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground fennel or fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons oil, plus more for brushing
First, soften the tempeh by simmering it in a pot with the water, tamari, and bay leaf. On low heat, simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place the onions, peppers, garlic, oregano, basil, fennel, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and toss until the vegetables are coated. Add the tempeh and gently toss again, being careful not to break the tempeh strips.
Pre-heat grill and set the temperature to medium-high. Use a grill pan or line the grill with heavy-duty foil. Brush with a little oil. Transfer contents of the bowl to the grill pan (or foil). Cook with the lid down, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill and serve in rolls, on rice, or by itself.
To cook indoors, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Arrange tempeh strips in a single layer. Cook about 3 minutes per side, adding a little more oil as necessary. Transfer tempeh to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Toss the vegetables and other ingredients together in a bowl as described above. Empty bowl into a hot pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers and onions are soft and caramelized. Return tempeh to pan to heat. Gently toss together and serve in rolls, on rice, or by itself.