i have no idea why i was stressing out about this years thanksgiving meal- maybe it’s because i used to be the ‘seitan guru’ and not having my usual wheat based, classed up centerpiece to fall back on left me feeling lost. then i remembered my often forgot about friend, tempeh. duh! tempeh! *smacks forehead
tempeh was the perfect solution to my centerpiece ‘problems’. its naturally gluten free, has a great texture, and can get jazzed up easily. i’ve made this tempeh several ways now, once with tomato jam holding the nuts in place, and the second with a thick maple glaze doing the work. both are equally delicious, but not everyone will be able to find tomato jam at the grocery store so i’m sticking with maple for this recipe. this was fabulous as our thanksgiving main, but if cut into smaller triangles, would make an excellent appetizer, or side dish!
Maple Pecan Walnut and Sage crusted Tempeh Cutlets
1 bundle fresh sage leaves, about 4 large stems full of leaves
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbs gluten free soy sauce/tamari
2 packages lightlife tempeh, original soy flavor
1/2 c grade b maple syrup
1/2 c raw pecans
1/2 c raw walnuts
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp each marjoram and thyme
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
start by poaching the tempeh; take each rectangle of tempeh, and slice into 3 slightly odd shaped triangles. place in a skillet and cover with the vegetable stock, soy sauce, and submerge 2 of the stems of sage into the broth. take a fork and lightly prick the top of each piece of tempeh. cover, and bring to a simmer. cook for 15 minutes, flipping once. let cool completely in the broth, or let marinate over night.
place the nuts, 10 sage leaves, the paprika, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper into the bowl of your food processor. pulse until the nuts are finely ground. simmer the maple syrup in a small saucepan until reduced slightly and it clings firmly to the back of a spoon. brush all sides of your tempeh cutlets with the syrup, and then press into your nut mixture, coating each side evenly. i baked mine in a toaster oven for 20 minutes on the broil setting, without flipping. you could also pan fry, or bake these little guys in a regular oven.
other thanksgiving delicacies
my sister makes her own cream of onion soup and crispy onions, rendering this staple vegan, gluten free, and perfect for mushroom-phobes!
she also made these amazing truffles, from a recipe on fragrant vanilla cake!
from top center to right; maple pecan sweet potatoes, cranberry cherry relish, mashed potatoes with savory mushroom gravy, cornbread, cranberry, and apple stuffing, maple walnut pecan and sage tempeh, and green bean casserole in the center. YUM.
as you can see, GF crusts may roll out well between 2 pieces of parchment, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to just drop in like normal. i ended up pressing the crust in, but i might add a little chia gel next time to help pliability and moisture retention. the fluted edges started to crack off during the extended baking time since i made a deep dish pie. i’d also brush the crust with a little earth balance and agave nectar to help the edges brown more as well. but, it was a delicious stand in for a wheat based crust!
i’m not a huge fan of molasses, so i cut the amount down to 1 tbs, and subbed extra maple for the rest. most vegan pumpkin pies call for tofu, but the cashews are such a superior stand in! the texture, and flavor of this pie are unlike any other and is going to be in the rotation every year from now on. also- this made a deep dish 10″ pie, that easily served 12.