Chermoula Tempeh

I spent all day cleaning the house in preparation for a very special night (which I hope to share with you soon).  And while I clean, I always turn on some peppy, get your bum in gear music. Today I listened to Hall and Oates. Go ahead, shake your head and glance down at the floor, embarrassed for me. I know. It’s ok though, because as a musician, I used to be a huge music snob. For years the only music I let willingly pass my ears had to be unique, inspired and well-performed. No silly love song pop ditties for me! Somewhere along the line, though, I loosened up. These days, I’ll listen to pretty much anything that’s not death metal or hard core punk. As it turns out, the universe only lets us be snobby about a certain number of things, and I’ve moved on.  I am now a food snob!

 I really don’t mean to be. And, don’t get me wrong, I still find myself happily munching down cheap diner food about once a month, and I’ve even been known to whip up a quick bowl of pasta with - gasp! – jarred tomato sauce. However, I really have found that good, quality home cooked food tastes SO much better. When I make that tomato sauce at home I use great olive oil, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. And when I use quality ingredients, I feel so much better. When things get hairy around here, and I fall back on quick prepared foods and take-out, I’m not as well-equipt to handle all that extra stress. I get tired easily, yet have a harder time falling asleep. My digestion goes all wonky, and I always come down with a cold. Needless to say, making dinner from scratch has become a top priority round here.

Now, on to the tempeh. For a more in depth look at the benefits of tempeh, check out this post. This recipe is adapted from Peter Berley’s in Fresh Food Fast.  Chermoula is a Moroccan marinade usually used on fish or seafood. All the spices used makes it extremely flavorful. When I’m making someone tempeh for the first time, I head straight for this dish. I’ve even converted die-hard carnivorous tempeh haters into lovers with this recipe. It’s that good.

Chermoula Tempeh

1 8 oz. package of tempeh, cubed
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
a handful of chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, but cilantro or parsley are both great here) 

Preheat oven to 400.

Place tempeh in a single layer in a baking dish. Set aside.

Combine paprika, cumin, coriander and pepper flakes in a mortar and pestle and pound until most of the seeds are split open.

Whisk together oil, lemon and 1/2 of water. Add the garlic, salt, crushed spices, and stir well.

Pour this mixture over the tempeh, making sure all sides are coated.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes; until most of the marinade is gone.

Serve sprinkled with the herbs.

serves 2-4

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