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Weeknight Vegetarian: Make 2015 the Year of Tempeh

I’m talking about tempeh, the cultured soybean cake with as much protein as beef. If you’ve seen it, it has probably been shrink-wrapped in the refrigerator case at your nearest Whole Foods, next to the tofu and the seitan and some veggie “crumble” or another. Or maybe you’ve tasted it in a veggie burger or on a vegan Reuben, or you’ve tried smoky strips marketed as Fakin’ Bacon.

Amy Chaplin, author of “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen,” has been eating tempeh occasionally since her childhood in Australia (and childhood trips to its birthplace of Indonesia). A recipe in her book served as my gateway to a new level of tempeh understanding: marinated in apple juice, mustard, tamari, olive oil and vinegar, then baked in the marinade. The tempeh absorbs every bit, becoming infused with a complex, slightly tart, savory goodness. I made it once, then quickly made it again: I’ve eaten it on salads and sandwiches and as a from-the-fridge snack, and as soon as I run out, I want another batch.

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