Smoky Tempeh with Purple Asparagus

Smoky tempeh with purple asparagus
I don’t want to alarm you, but I think this is the best thing I have ever made. And, to be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be. 
Sure, I thought it would be good. I mean, salty, smoky tempeh combined with fresh asparagus? Sounds pretty amazing, right?
The end result is more than amazing.
As I was typing this out right now I got a little nervous and doubted myself. Could this really be the best thing I have ever made? 
*Takes another bite.* 
Yep, it is.  Affirmative. 
First we start with these spring beauties: purple asparagus.  Just look at that gorgeous color!
Smoky tempeh with purple asparagus
Smoky tempeh with purple asparagus
Smoky tempeh with purple asparagus
Asparagus is in peak season right now and I chose purple asparagus for this recipe because I love the color, but you can use any asparagus of your choice. This dish is perfect served over a bed of millet or quinoa or, if you are grain-free, fresh or lightly sautéed greens. I love using tempeh as a hearty, plant-based protein source and it’s a fabulous way to adventure into the world of fermented foods. (If you are new to cooking with tempeh, you can read more about it in my teriyaki tempeh post.)


Smoky Tempeh with Purple Asparagus
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2 - 4
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (if gluten-free)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 package tempeh, sliced into thirds and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ bunch purple asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  1. Add soy sauce (or tamari), water, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, cumin, paprika, and chile powder to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the tempeh slices and bring down to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 - 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Let marinate for about ten minutes.
  2. Add coconut oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the tempeh (reserve any marinade) and cook for about five minutes, flipping as necessary to ensure both sides are evenly browned.
  3. Add the asparagus. Saute for about 3 minutes, flipping as necessary, until asparagus is just browned on both sides. Add any remaining marinade and about two tablespoons of water. Continue cooking for about 7 - 10 minutes, until any remaining liquid has evaporated and asparagus is just tender. Remove from heat, top with green onions, and serve hot.


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