lasagna with tempeh
There’s been some tempeh lurking in the fridge for a week or so…(cue creepy music)
To be honest I am a bit afraid of tempeh. I’ve had it prepared deliciously and I’ve eaten it where it was just awful. If it is undercooked I find the texture and taste horrible. I like it best when it is fried to a crisp. The best tasting tempeh I ever had was a snack I made in a cooking class in Bali in Indonesia. It was very thinly sliced tempeh dipped in water that had just salt and pepper in it. It was then deep-fried until really crisp in coconut oil. It just called out for a beer. It probably helped that the tempeh was super fresh, bought at the market that morning, handsomely wrapped in a banana leaf.
For some time I’ve been wanting to try out Mark Bittman’s idea of crumbling tempeh and frying it and then using it like mince. Basically you just crumble the tempeh into a couple of tablespoons of hot oil and stir it for 5-10 minutes until it browns and crisps up.
Lasagna seemed like an obvious choice to use as a crash test dummy for my first tempeh mince project. I had all the makings in the fridge and the weather in Melbourne has been ridiculously cold.
I had a litre of cashew milk left over from the great creme caramel making project. I also had some leftover bits and pieces of vegan cheeses. There were some roasted veggies that needed using.
All that was left to be done was to whip up the sauces. I’m not going to provide recipes for these, you can find a million of them on the web.
The bechamel with the cheese scraps and a quick tomato sauce with some smoked chillis and garlic in it took about 20 minutes. Then I layered the instant lasagna sheets with the tomato sauce, cheesy bechamel, the fried tempeh, some spinach leaves and roasted pumpkin. I did three layers and then topped it all with some grated Vegusto and baked it for 45 minutes. When putting sauce between the layers, don’t skimp. The instant lasagna sheets slurp up the liquid while cooking. There is nothing worse than a dry lasagna. We’re aiming for excess. This is comfort food.
Six meals later and I’m still not tired of it.