My favorite vegan soul food chef, Bryant Terry does it again with this Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits; his version of the classic shrimp and grits recipe. He substitutes tempeh and makes sure it is spicey and delicious by using a variety of spices. This is one savory dish. Find this and other great recipes in his Vegan Soul Kitchen Cookbook.
1 ⁄ 2-pound (1 8-ounce package) tempeh
4 cups Simple Stock
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 ⁄ 2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying if needed
1-pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek (white and tender green parts), chopped finely (about 3 ⁄ 4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
21 ⁄ 2 cups water
1 cup Simple Stock
3 ⁄ 4 cup stone-ground grits
1 cup Almond Milk or unflavored rice milk
1 ⁄ 2 cup Creamed Cashews
1 scallion, sliced thinly, for garnish
Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits incorporates creamed cashews into the grits to give them the velvety texture that usually comes from heavy cream. For the tempeh:
Cut the tempeh into 1⁄2-inch fingers. Cut those fingers in half lengthwise and cut those pieces in half widthwise.
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the Simple Stock and 1⁄ 2 teaspoon salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved, then add the tempeh pieces. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-high, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, until the tempeh is moist and saturated with vegetable broth. Remove from the heat, drain the tempeh in a colander (reserving the stock for later use), and let the pieces dry for about 30 minutes.
In a medium-size paper bag, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, thyme, oregano, white pepper, and 1⁄ 4 teaspoon salt. Fold the top of the bag over a few times and shake well until combined. Open the top and set it aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the tempeh pieces and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. With a fork, turn the fingers over and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, immediately transfer all the tempeh pieces to the paper bag with the dried spices and herbs. Fold the bag over a few times to close and shake vigorously until all pieces are coated well with the seasoning, about 1 minute.
For the grits:
While the tempeh is simmering, combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, and 1⁄ 4 teaspoon salt in a bowl and toss well. Cover and refrigerate.
In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil with the leek and sauté, stirring a few times, until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Transfer mixture to a medium-size bowl and set aside. To prepare the grits, in a medium-size saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, the Simple Stock, and 1⁄ 2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Whisk the grits into the liquid until no lumps remain, return to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the grits have absorbed most of the liquid and are thickening, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the Almond Milk and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the Creamed Cashews and the remaining 1⁄2 cup water and simmer, stirring frequently, until the grits are soft but not runny, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the refrigerator, drain them of their juices, and transfer them to the bowl with the leek mixture. Add the tempeh pieces and mix well.
For each serving, spoon about 1⁄2 cup of the tempeh mixture over 3⁄4 cup of grits. Garnish with scallions.