The Tempeh Scramble
The first time I saw tempeh in the store I thought that whoever first made it must have been very hungry. It doesn’t look too appetizing.
The first time I ate tempeh I thought that whoever first made it was a freakin’ genius.
I think it’s one of the most under-rated foods around. Trust me. It’s not just for vegetarians and health nuts. It’s for anyone who likes really good food that easy to make.
Tempeh has more flavor and texture than tofu and is about ten times easier to make.
In fact, one of my favorite tacos to this day is my crispy tempeh tacos. This is actually kind of a riff on that dish made as a breakfast instead of a dinner. I ate this breakfast two days in a row which is pretty rare for me. It was just that good.
The Tempeh Scramble
Yield: Serves 2.
4-6 ounces tempeh, crumbled
1/2 red or orange pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 scallions, diced
2 tablespoons salsa
4 large eggs, scrambled
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
1 avocado, sliced
Salt and pepper
Cast Iron Skillet
1) Crumble tempeh and dice all your veggies. Mix the veggies in a bowl with salsa.
2) Add the small amount of vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet and get it hot over medium-high heat.
3) Add the tempeh and cook until it's well browned, about 5-6 minutes.
4) Stir in veggies and salsa and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two until veggies are soft.
5) Scramble eggs and add eggs to skillet. Stir vigorously so eggs mix with other ingredients. Cook until eggs are almost all cooked, probably just a minute or two.
6) Add on grated cheese and stick the pan in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about a minute just to melt the cheese.
7) Serve scramble with warm tortillas, cilantro, and avocado!
I’ve already raved in this post about my love for tempeh, but the reality is that it might be kind of hard for you to find. I only know of one health food store in my town that sells it.
Most grocery stores don’t carry it unfortunately. Maybe the demand isn’t quite there yet. But call around to a few places and you should be able to find it somewhere.
If you’re curious what tempeh is, it’s basically just fermented whole soy beans that have been mixed with other flavors like flax seeds or, in this case, random vegetables.
The nice thing about tempeh is that you can prepare it a million different ways. You can slice it thinly or just crumble it up. I thought for a scramble like this, it would be better to just crumble it.
While I listed specific vegetables in the recipe, I’d just encourage you to use what you have in your fridge. Some kind of pepper is good and something like an onion or scallion is a good idea.
It’s pretty flexible though… kind of like an omelet.
Whatever veggies you are using, dice them up and then stir them together with some salsa. This will give the dish a nice Tex-Mex feel.
Cooking the Scramble
I used my cast iron skillet for this dish, but you could use any large skillet really. I do recommend using one that is oven-safe so you can transfer the pan to the oven at the end and melt the cheese quickly.
The first step is to brown the tempeh. Add a small drizzle of oil to the pan and then add all the tempeh. Over medium-high heat, it’ll take 5-6 minutes to brown nicely. It’s pretty hard to burn this stuff. It’s very sturdy.
Once the tempeh is browned, add in the veggies and salsa and cook for another minute or two until the veggies are soft.
Then pour in your scrambled eggs!
Everything will cook pretty fast at this point.
Just stir it all together and let it cook until the eggs are almost completely cooked.
This is about perfect. It looks like a hot mess, but it’ll smell great.
Top the whole scramble with some cheese and stick it in a hot oven for a minute or two just to melt the cheese.
You could just eat this as-is or serve it as a side. If you want to make a really good meal out of it though, serve it with some flour tortillas, avocado, and maybe some fresh cilantro.
There’s a lot of nice things about this meal. For one, I guarantee you that you won’t miss the meat. The tempeh is very flavorful, filling, and has a great texture.
The other nice thing is that this whole thing takes less than 30 minutes to make. You could also easily double or triple it and feed a crowd.
This is a great introduction to tempeh if you’ve never tried it before so hunt some down and give it a go!