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Tempeh Piccata

Tempeh Piccata

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

20 minutes





Tempeh Piccata Recipe

The original recipe for this Tempeh Piccata comes from the lovely Chloe Coscarelli. It has become a family favorite now, so I felt I just had to bring it to your attention. In case you haven’t discovered her on your own, Ms. Coscarelli has written several vegan cookbooks and is a fellow alum of The Natural Gourmet Institute. Her recipes are well-tested, approachable and delicious.

IMG_2500Tempeh, found in many grocery stores today, is made from fermented, whole soy beans, so it’s an easy and healthy way to get your plant-based protein. In this recipe, the tempeh is prepared in a similar way to traditional piccata but without the cruelty of chicken or veal. It uses lots of mouth-puckering lemon, salty capers and garlic in a velvety sauce. While it looks and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen, it’s pretty darned easy to prepare. With accents of vibrant green, interesting shapes and an aroma that will make you feel like you are in an Italian restaurant, Tempeh Piccata is a terrific dish to make for the special people in your life. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes and a green vegetable, like Roasted Broccoli and Garlic. With recipes like this, there’s no reason not to begin your vegan journey.

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    3/4 cup water

    1/4 cup tamari, or good quality soy sauce

    1 8-ounce package of organic tempeh, any flavor

    About 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

    1 medium onion, chopped small, about a cup

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    4-6 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly

    2 tablespoons vegan butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)

    1 cup vegetable broth

    1 tablespoon organic cornstarch or arrowroot

    3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

    Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

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    Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay tempeh on a cutting board and cut into three equal pieces. Take each piece and carefully slice it in half. Slice each piece diagonally to make triangle-shaped cutlets. Place water and tamari in a small pot over medium heat. Add the tempeh and simmer for 10 minutes. This important step ensures that the firm tempeh “blooms” or opens up and gets infused with flavor. When done, remove tempeh from liquid and lay on a paper towel to dry.


    Drizzle a little olive oil on the parchment-lined baking tray and spread with a spoon or spatula to cover surface of parchment. Place tempeh on tray in a single layer, and place the tray in the oven to roast for 10 minutes, carefully flipping each piece halfway through. When nicely browned on both sides, remove from oven.


    While the tempeh is roasting, place a large pan over medium-high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and the vegan butter. Swirl to melt. Add onion and salt, then cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the broth and let simmer for a few minutes.


    Place cornstarch in a small bowl and stir in a couple of tablespoons of the simmering vegetable broth to make a  slurry. When the cornstarch is dissolved, drizzle it into the pan while whisking with a fork or wire whisk. Add in the lemon juice and capers, and whisk until sauce has thickened. Carefully transfer tempeh from baking tray into pan and cover with sauce. Let simmer gently for a few minutes till the tempeh picks up the flavors of the sauce. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle with parsley.

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    2 Responses to Tempeh Piccata

    1. Susan says:

      I made this last night after watching snow pile up from winter storm Stella all day. It was a perfect answer to a cold, dreary day. The flavors were fabulous – the brightness of the citrus, and velvety texture of the sauce combined with the hint of salty soy on the tempeh was just wonderful. This will definitely be in regular rotation. Mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli on the side were the perfect accompaniments.

      • Linda Soper-Kolton says:

        So glad you enjoyed this! It’s one of our favorites at home. Simple to make, but tastes like you put a lot of effort into it. Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of the snow! Thanks for reading, Susan.

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No soy?

You can make this recipe using sliced seitan (wheat gluten), also sold in healthy grocery stores

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