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VeganMoFo #6: Vegan Dad’s Tempeh Burgers

I read Vegan Dad every day. I love that his recipes usually quick and kid friendly yet still imaginative. I appreciate a good fancy dish with twelve different steps that I have to start the night before, but those recipes don’t help me on a Wednesday night when I got home late from work and just want to eat something tasty as soon as possible before watching Project Runway. That’s one of the reasons I am completely in love with these tempeh burgers—they take fifteen or twenty minutes to make, start to finish. And they freeze well for even faster meals. But the real reason this is going into regular rotation? They’re freaking incredible. I’m so sick of making veggie burgers that fall apart in the skillet or on the plate. These hold together wonderfully, even if you make them really thin. In fact, the thinner you go, the better they get. Nice and crispy, and there’s more room for toppings! I know from experience that it’s a little difficult to cram half an avocado on a typical veggie burger. And what’s a burger without half an avocado and a smear of Veganaise?
I’ve changed up the spices in these based on what I’ve had around (and also because fennel seed is the work of the devil) and they’ve always come out tasty. Vegan Dad has changed the recipe since publishing this version, but as it includes homemade sausages that I’m ulikely to have around, these will remain the winner. Oh, and another plus? With one package of tempeh, a bit of wheat gluten, bread crumbs from the heels of a loaf of bread, and a bunch of spices, I can get six burgers, enough for two family meals. With a cheap meal like that as part of my grocery list, I might not cry the next time I have to pay nine dollars for maple syrup.

Dan’s Birthday Dinner


Last week was my lovely husband Dan’s birthday. But since we had just returned from our Seattle/Portland vacation (where we ate roughly 80,000 calories, I’m estimating) two days before, there wasn’t much time to plan much of a celebration. On the cab ride home from the airport (at 11:30 on a Tuesday. ugh), Dan declared that he wanted cheesy mac and garlic bread for a birthday dinner. Now, due to those roughly 80,000 calories, I wasn’t too stoked on this idea, as what he wanted was one of the first recipes I mastered when I was in college. I have no idea where the original recipe came from, as I think I received a stained print-out from someone along the way. It was incredibly creamy and velvety and delicious but called for loads and loads of both oil and margarine. Add super greasy garlic bread to that, and my vacation-stuffed stomach wasn’t thrilled. So I decided it was finally time to de-fat (at least partially) the recipe and see how it turned out. It still needs some tweaking (I think the tempeh needs to be grated for a more “sausage” like texture, and it could maybe be a bit moister), but overall it was a (much-healthier) success. And it gets even better the next day. The tempeh sausage crumbles are straight from Vegan with a Vengeance (minus the spices I had unexpectedly run out of), but the rest is straight from my head.

Tempeh Cheesy Mac

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp margarine
paprika
1 1/2 cups macaroni, slightly undercooked
1 recipe tempeh sausage crumbles

Mix nutritional yeast, flour, water, soy sauce, garlice powder, and turmeric together in a small saucepan and heat over medium until thickened. Melt in margarine. In an 8×8 casserole dish, mix together sauce, macaroni, and tempeh and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

And to totally mess up the “healthiness” of the cheesy mac, Dan made his “world famous” garlic bread. Whenever he cooks something, he calls it world famous, even (or maybe especially) when it’s the first time he’s ever made it. I think the only time I’ve disputed this title was when he found a cucumber in the fridge, thought it was a zucchini (not sure how one makes that mistake), and put it in chili! Then again, maybe that is world famous, just not in a good way.

And dessert. Strawberry shortcake, with biscuits from Martha, with WAY less sugar on the berries, and whipped Soyatoo. Oh my God, Soyatoo is the best thing ever. Seriously. I whipped it up with half a vanilla bean and a few spoonfuls of sugar, and it reminded me of being a kid and eating spoonful and spoonful of Cool-Whip straight out of the package. I loved that stuff. But knowing that it’s 99% chemicals, 1% whey freaks me out now. So thank you, Soyatoo, for actually resembling whipped cream (or whipped-cream-like product) without being icky. The whole thing was incredible, and such an improvement over those weird little sponge cakes at the grocery store.

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