Cajun-Spiced Tempeh Po' Boys (Undressed) Recipe
Vegans from Brooklyn take on the Southern classic sandwich. It’s a great way to surprise your meat-free friends!
What to buy: Tempeh is fermented soy protein, formed into a cake. Look for it in health food stores.
- 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) tempeh, sliced horizontally into 1/2-inch fingers
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large green bell peppers, cored, ribs and seeds removed, and cut into long strips (1/4 inch wide)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 whole-wheat baguettes
- In a large bowl combine the tempeh fingers with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss well.
- Warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh fingers and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, adding more oil if necessary, until lightly browned. Turn the fingers over and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, until lightly browned on the other side. Transfer the tempeh to a large plate lined with paper towels.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the onion, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, red chili flakes, cayenne, thyme, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Slowly sauté for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning, until well caramelized.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add the green bell peppers and more oil if needed, and sauté for 10 more minutes, or until the bell peppers are softened.
- In a large bowl combine 2 cups water, and the tomato paste, maple syrup, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons salt. Whisk well. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices and the onion – green pepper mixture. Stir well.
- Place the tempeh in a large casserole dish. Pour the sauce on top, covering all the tempeh fingers.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, or until most of the sauce is absorbed.
- Cut each baguette in half widthwise and then slice each half lengthwise, as you would for a sandwich. Place about 5 tempeh fingers on one slice, making sure you cover it with plenty of sauce, and place another slice on top.
Beverage pairing: Once again, rosé comes to the rescue! This tangy and spicy version of a po’ boy is perhaps too substantial for most whites, but not quite beefy enough for a red. A dry but juicy rosé is just the ticket. Try one from Argentina, like the 2005 Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec.
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