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Twenty Minute Tamari Tempeh and Spinach

Twenty Minute Tamari Tempeh and Spinach

Spinach at the Portland Farmer’s Market

Do you lollygag around–on Pinterest for example–with the dinner hour looming?

Are you sometimes like me and your meal plan is made at the very last minute, pulled together from what’s in the pantry/fridge? Are you looking for a last minute dinner? Then try this quick and simple Tamari Tempeh and Spinach dinner.

I keep a package of tempeh in the freezer so it’s ready for emergencies, such as when I have not thought ahead about what’s for dinner.

Tempeh could be described as nutty and mushroom-like in texture, as well as meat-like. Tempeh is fermented soybeans, and packs plenty of protein. Try serving this meal to people who say they don’t like tofu. Everyone will love the tempeh’s meaty texture.

Tamari is another fermented soy derivative. Regular soy sauce and tamari can be used interchangeably, just know that Japanese tamari is thicker, darker, and richer than its counterpart. Think of it as the kinder, gentler soy sauce, with a more complex, smooth flavor compared to the bite of salty soy sauce. That is why I call for tamari in my recipes.

I think you will agree that salty tamari–spiked tempeh, barely bitter spinach and toasted sesame oil perform a lovely flavor dance. You can serve this quick dinner with steamed brown rice, but only if you’ve planned ahead–steamed brown rice takes about an hour.

A last minute bed for this tamari tempeh and spinach dinner is pasta, like soba noodles. Start the pasta water when you start the tempeh.

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Twenty Minute Tamari Tempeh and Spinach
Salty tamari-spiked tempeh, slightly bitter spinach, and toasted sesame oil perform a lovely flavor dance and make a fine last minute dinner.
Author: Letty Flatt
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach , stems removed, washed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or peanut or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups steamed brown rice , optional
Instructions
  1. Place the tempeh in a saucepan with enough water to just cover the block of tempeh by ¼-inch of so.
  2. Season the water with about 2 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes, turning the tempeh after 5 minutes.
  3. While the tempeh is in the water, tear the spinach into pieces about the size of a credit card.
  4. Remove the tempeh from the water. Cut it into cubes, about 3/4-inch square.
  5. In a non-stick skillet, on medium high flame, heat the oil. Add the tempeh cubes.
  6. Stir and cook 5 to 10 minutes, until the tempeh is golden brown on a few sides of the cubes. Add the spinach to the pan, right on top of the tempeh. Sprinkle with soy sauce.
  7. Cover, and steam just to wilt the spinach, 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Drizzle the sesame oil on top of the spinach and tempeh.
  9. Serve over rice, if desired.
Recipe Notes

Keep a package of tempeh in the freezer. It will be there when you decide at the last minute to make this for dinner. Simply "plump" the tempeh in tamari water 5 minutes longer than with unfrozen tempeh.
I use Westsoy brand Five Grain Tempeh, and it seems to be easily available, but there are more tempeh choices out there. Any tempeh is fine for this recipe.

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