In my quest to think of more creative vegan recipes with tempeh, I bring you Italian Tempeh and Bell Peppers. Grilled red and green peppers and red onion mingle with tempeh seasoned with fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, garlic and oregano, and all of it served over a bed of toasted farro with fresh basil, parsley and lemon juice. It’s a savory summer meal that works well in the oven or the grill.
In fact, this vegan tempeh bell pepper recipe was also an excuse to showcase one of my favorite grains. Farro is popularly used in Italian cuisine, namely soups and salads. It has a bouncy texture, and takes on flavor well. I used pearled farro, because it cooks quicker. And I toasted it to create a heightened flavor.
This Italian tempeh recipe makes me think of an abundant farmer’s market. I can see the produce leaping from the stalls right into my bag for purchase. It showcases the late summer bounty very well–peppers, onions, fresh herbs. As a variation, add some squash to the vegetables that are broiled or grilled. Enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine!
Italian Tempeh and Bell Peppers with Farro
1 cup pearled farro
1 cup broth (fake chicken or vegetable)
2 Tbsp torn fresh basil
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp dijon mustard
Peppers and Onions:
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced into crescents
1 tsp garlic powder
Olive oil, to drizzle
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
8 ounce package tempeh, torn into large chunks
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp crushed red pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
½ tsp dijon mustard
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp torn fresh basil
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
1. In a dutch oven or heavy medium saucepan, add farro over high heat. Constantly move the farro around (I do figure eights all over!) for 1 minute. Turn heat down to low, and continue toasting for 2-3 more minutes. Some of the grains may pop, but as long as it isn’t burning, it’s all good. You just want them to get a bit darker. After the 3 minutes is up, add water and broth, and cover with the lid to simmer on low for 25-30 minutes.
2. While farro is simmering, get started on the vegetables.
TO BROIL: Preheat oven to BROIL on HIGH. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment. Spread peppers and onions across the cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Move around on cookie sheet, so that everything is evenly coated. Once oven is ready, put the cookie sheet in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely, so it doesn’t burn. Flip, and put back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
TO GRILL: In a mixing bowl, drizzle peppers and onions with olive oil, and season with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Dump the vegetables into a grill pan, and grill for ~10-20 minutes. Remove when it looks like it has a good enough char on it, and set aside.
3. Once farro is done, drain off any excess liquid. Stir in basil, parsley, dijon, and lemon juice. Taste, and make any adjustments (salt? more lemon?). Set aside.
4. In a large skillet, add garlic cloves and olive oil. Sauté over low heat for 1 minute, then add fennel seed, paprika, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper and sauté another minute. Add crumbled chunks of tempeh, and fry until slightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).
5. Add dry white wine and loosen any of the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once the wine evaporates, add the soy sauce and lemon juice. Allow it to evaporate. Remove from heat, and stir in dijon and nutritional yeast. Then, add peppers, onions, fresh basil and fresh oregano. Serve over herbed farro.