When I first went vegan, I wanted to find filling sources of protein that left me satisfied. One of my favorite protein sources is tempeh. I find it “meatier” and more substantial than tofu or seitan, and I love its texture. You can cube it, crumble it, slice it… honestly it’s very versatile.
I also had spent 5 years living in Wisconsin by that point and cheese was a HUGE part of my life. I’d ask my friends, “Where should we go for dinner?” The unanimous response?
On Saturday’s, we would hit up the Farmer’s Market in Madison for a loaf (yes a LOAF)of
spicy cheesy bread, and would eat it all while we walked around the square sampling cheese curds from 4 different stalls… in addition to the pestos, honey, crackers, but those were really pit stops until we completed the path around the square. By that point, we had eaten the entire loaf, so we would buy another one to take home. #CollegeDiet.
Toppers Sticks (basically bread with melted cheese) were the norm for our post-bar food. Or we’d improvise and make our own cheesy bread/nacho/basically a plate of cheese.
Needless to say, I ate cheese. A LOT. But then when I switched to being vegan, I obviously stopped eating cheese but still had crazy cheese cravings. So how do I get my cheese fix AND a substantial and hearty bit of protein?
Boom. Vegan Cheesy Breaded Tempeh.
First, whisk together your marinade. Mine consists of 1/4 cup vegetable broth, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Tempeh is pretty bland on it’s own, but luckily it’s very porous and easily soaks up a marinade. Ideally, you should marinate it for 30 minutes, but if you don’t have time you can just dunk the tempeh into the mixture before breading.
Then cut the block of tempeh into sticks. I made 12 sticks that were roughly 1/2 an inch thick.
Marinate the tempeh for 30-45 minutes. If my bowl is more shallow, I will check it once about halfway through and flip the tempeh over so both sides get equally dunked in the mixture.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 and coat a baking sheet with spray/oil. Prepare your breading; in a shallow bowl, I combine 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup bread crumbs (or if you don’t have any bread crumbs, I’ve substituted ground flax), 2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp cumin and a dash of garlic powder.
Take a strip of marinated tempeh and roll it in the breading mixture so it is nicely coated with “cheese,” and then place on the baking sheet.
Bake the for 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Cheesy breaded tempeh. Delicious. Om nom nom.
Cheesy Breaded Tempeh
** Depends if you marinate the tempeh for 30 minutes or skip the step
For the marinade:
For the breading:
Nutritional info (according to MyFitnessPal): 1 stick has 50 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 4 grams of carbs.
Cheesy Breaded Tempeh is easy to made and satisfies my need for cheese. I’ll dip it in marinara sauce and eat it like mozzarella sticks, add it to salads in lieu of breaded chicken, or use it in some delicious tempeh tacos.