Tempeh is easy to love in this versatile make-ahead recipe. Savoury, smoky, crispy tempeh croutons are the answer to those predictable “But where do you get your protein??” questions from charmingly concerned friends and family. You can toss them in salads, pasta, as a filling in wraps or sandwiches, as a topping for soup or even to snack on alone with some dip. Perfect for batch cooking, only five minutes of prep gives you enough tempeh to last for a week. Having a tasty, prepared protein on hand in the fridge means you can spend less time trying to figure out how to make sure your meals are balanced and substantial– go ahead and eat that entire box of vegan mac and cheese for dinner, just throw some crispy tempeh croutons on top and it’ll fill you up for longer than an hour.
Crispy Tempeh Croutons
- 2 packages tempeh, about 800 grams total cubed about 1 inch thick
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or try balsamic if you like a bit more sweetness
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus more to grease the pan
- 1/4 teaspoon vegetable broth powder or msg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat your oven to 425° F. Cover a sheet pan in foil and splash a bit of olive oil on the bottom to help keep your tempeh from sticking.
- Cube your tempeh about 1 inch wide. If there is too much tempeh to fit in the pan in a single layer then you may want to divide the batch into two for the baking step, so the pan isn't over-crowded. Bear in mind this might make them cook faster, so keep a close eye on them around the 30 minute mark in the oven.
- Put the tempeh in the sheet pan, then drizzle all the remaining ingredients over top evenly. Get in there with your hands and toss them around so they are fairly evenly coated in the marinade.
- Bake your tempeh in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. When it comes out it should look golden and be just starting to brown, as shown.
- Turn the croutons gently with a spatula, careful not to tear the foil (if you do, no big deal! You'll just have to wash the pan after, which is what I generally try to avoid by using foil.) You will notice that although the tops of the croutons were golden, the bottoms are still looking quite raw. If that isn't the case in your oven and everything is all golden all over after just 20 minutes, take about 10 minutes off the cooking time in the next step.
- Return to the hot oven and bake for another 15-25 minutes, depending on how evenly cooked they were in the prior step. Start with 15, adding on another 5-10 minutes if your tempeh is still looking a bit pale in places. You want it to be golden brown all over, with some charred bits around the edges. That is what will make them irresistibly crunchy and smoky. Use right away if you like, otherwise store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days. May be frozen as well, just re-crisp in a hot oven for 5 minutes or so after you thaw them and before you use them.