Black Pepper Tempeh

I swore I wouldn’t buy another cookbook. My cookbook collection has grown to just under 100 books and while I can justify adding an Elizabeth David or Diana Kennedy classic to the shelf, I decided to not buy any more books until I could cook at least 5 recipes from each. Then I came across Heidi Swanson’s new book Super Natural Every Day from our local bookstore and well, let’s just say I broke down.

I bought two copies on the spot, one for me and one for you, which means I can make this one exception…plus it was a spontaneous and arbitrary rule anyway.

If you’ve read and cooked from Heidi’s 2007 James Beard Award-nominee Super Natural Cooking or from her blog 101 Cookbooks, then you know how her photographs, recipes, and words lure you into the kitchen. Her unique combination of flavors and whole ingredients exceed expectations of healthy food. Think Macaroon Tart with blackberries, coconut, and pistachios or White Beans and Cabbage with Parmesan, potatoes, and shallots. Simply put, it’s the kind of cooking I aspire to do every day. But often don’t.

Before you rush to the kitchen to make Heidi’s Black Pepper Tempeh, click on my giveaways page for a chance to win your copy of Super Natural Every Day.

black pepper tempeh

Black Pepper Tempeh
adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1 cup chopped leeks (white part only; wash, rinse, and cut into rounds)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water, plus more if needed
1 cup sliced mushrooms (clean, remove stems, and slice thin)
8 ounces tempeh, sliced pencil-thin
12 ounces cauliflower, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed

In large skillet over low heat, combine the coconut oil, leeks, red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. Cook slowly, taking care not to brown the ingredients and stirring occasionally, until the garlic cloves are soft throughout, about 15 minutes.

While the garlic is cooking, whisk together the shoyu, maple syrup, and water in a small bowl.

Increase the temperature under the skillet to medium-high and add the mushrooms and tempeh. Gently stir to get them coated. Add the shoyu mixture and stir again to coat. Cook for a minute or two, then add the cauliflower. Stir and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat up even more, and cook until the cauliflower and tempeh starts to brown. If you need to add more water to prevent sticking, add 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and stir in the black pepper. Taste, add more pepper if you like, and serve immediately.


  1. Laura Ortega says

    Heidi Swanson is the woman deliciously, enticingly responsible for me considering vegetarianism and going with flexitarianism as a midpoint. She’s an inspiration. I visit her site at least once weekly and am the owner of her “Cook 1.0” and “Super Natural Cooking”, treasured books in the library.

  2. says

    I really like what you did with the leeks and mushrooms in this recipe, I’ll definitely have to give that a try, as I also liked this recipe quite a bit!

    If it interests you, I actually just blogged about how much I love this cookbook, and this recipe in particular. Since this tempeh dish is one of my favorites, I included a link to this post in my recipe round-up. Just thought you might like to know :)

    This is a great looking blog, btw!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Ashley, Thanks for including my post in your round-up and for your comment! I look forward to reading your blog…


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