Yes, soy bean for big game

Buffalo Tempeh is on the menu at Cafe Del Rio in Virginia City.

Buffalo Tempeh is on the menu at Cafe Del Rio in Virginia City.

By the time you read this we’ll finally know who’s going to be in the Super Bowl. I can tell you right now it won’t be my team, the Dallas Cowboys.

I was fortunate enough to live in Dallas during a time when the Cowboys and “dynasty” were often used in the same sentence. Sundays were full of optimism, anticipation and parties.

In those days the food was not that big of an issue. There was no Food Network or reams of magazine and news paper articles guaranteeing a successful gathering by following their culinary game plans. It was about the beer, and that beer better be Coors.

Coors was by far the most popular beer in Dallas made even more so by the fact it could only be had in about five states. People would actually drive over the border just to buy the stuff. The liquor store I worked at one year had even devised a way to put a handle on a case of 24 cans so you could carry it onto your plane as luggage. God Bless Texas.

Always the renegade I would show up with anything but Coors. Partly because I fancied myself as an individualist, and partly because you could be safe in knowing no one else would drink your beer.

We came up with today’s recipe in that spirit of individuality since tempeh — the protein rich fermented soy bean cake — is hardly your normal tailgating fare.

For those of you not familiar with tempeh, it’s usually packaged in eight ounce blocks. Besides pure tempeh which is what we’re using, you can find it mixed with various whole grains and rice. In comparison to tofu, also made from soy beans, it has almost twice the protein (22 grams vs. 12 per four ounces). The fact the beans are fermented makes all the nutrients more readily digestible. Since soy beans have a bad history of being genetically modified, we use Westsoy brand (available at Raley’s or Whole Foods) which is a non GMO variety.

Today’s dish is more about procedure than recipe — there are only three ingredients. Once the tempeh has been steamed it’s ready to take on whatever marinade suits the occasion. And what would be more apropos for an afternoon Super Bowl bash than the flavor of Buffalo hot wings? They can be made well ahead of time and reheated in a sauté pan or a hot oven.

So if you’re like me and hope to live long enough to see your team achieve greatness once again (and that could take a while), skip the chips and dips for this healthy and tasty alternative.

“Buffalo” Tempeh

About 40 bites

2 8 oz packages Tempeh*

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce**

1/2 cup (4oz) butter***

Blue cheese dressing for dipping

Carrot and celery sticks

A steamer is the best way to prepare the tempeh. However, gently simmering in a sauce pot will work.

In a small sauce pan melt (not boil) the butter with the Frank’s. Keep warm.

Cut each block of the tempeh into bite size pieces, about 16 or 20 per block. Place in the steamer and steam for about 15 minutes. Remove the tempeh to a glass or stainless bowl and toss with the warm Frank’s. Allow to sit for about an hour or so, gently tossing occasionally.

Preheat the oven to broil. Spray an oven proof casserole or baking pan, and using a slotted spoon transfer the tempeh to the pan. Broil for about five minutes, spoon a little of the marinade over it and toss with a spatula. Broil for another four or five minutes. Remove from the oven, allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before placing on the serving dish along with the blue cheese, celery and carrots.

It’s really not important the tempeh be piping hot. We were eating the room temperature leftovers from the photo three hours after we made it — delicious.

*We prefer Westsoy brand

**You have to use Frank’s Original (not the Buffalo version)

***You can substitute Earth Balance vegan butter for the real butter if that’s a concern for you.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment