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I’ve been on a real tempeh kick lately. I only starting eating this stuff last year but since then it’s become a real staple in my diet. Also the fact that Trader Joe’s sells it for $1.99 definitely helped. Tempeh is a common food in vegetarian and vegan diets since it is free of any animal products and a fantastic source of protein. In fact, one serving of tempeh (about 100 grams) contains 19 grams of protein!
But what the heck is tempeh? Tempeh is actually soybeans that have been cooked and slightly fermented before being compacted into a patty. It has a crunchy texture and nutty flavour. Sometimes it is mixed with grains (be careful gluten-intolerant!) and spices. Since it is fermented it is much less processed which is why it has a higher protein and fibre profile. Plus the fermentation makes it easier on the digestive system because its enzymes are already partially broken down, making it easier to metabolize.
Vegan Pesto Pasta with Spicy Tempeh
My favourite thing about tempeh is it’s sponge-like quality. It literally soaks up whatever flavour you marinate it in then it takes about 5 mins to cook on the stove-top, then you’re good-to-go! It’s a fantastic source of protein for meatless mondays (or meatless everyday for you vege and vegans out there!) and won’t leave you bloated and gassy like other legumes.
Vegan Pesto Pasta with Spicy Tempeh

Another fantastic vegetarian product is nutritional yeast. As you can guess from its name, nutritional yeast is packed with nutrition, particularly B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein. It’s low in fat, gluten-free, and contains no added sugars or preservatives. Best of all, it tastes like CHEESE! Nutritional yeast is the best thing since sliced (gluten-free) bread for you lactose-intolerant out there! I love this stuff. I sprinkle it on pasta, use it in place of cheese on pizza and it tastes awesome on popcorn. Also, I recently discovered it is a fantastic source of B12. This is powerful stuff! So I figured with all the fresh basil growing in my mini-herb garden, why not mix it with some nutritional yeast and make vegan pesto. I can honestly say (and C can attest) that you will not notice the lack of cheese in the sauce. Topped with some spicy tempeh, this is a perfect dairy and gluten-free pasta dish that packs some serious protein punch.

Vegan Pesto Pasta with Spicy Tempeh

by The Healthy Maven

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Keywords: saute cook entree gluten-free vegan tempeh Italian

Ingredients (Yields: 4 servings)

  • 1 package of gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada brown rice linguine)

For the Pesto:

  • 1 cup of packed basil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Tempeh:

  • 1 package of tempeh (250 grams), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tsp sriracha (or more if you like very spicy)
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 T water
  • salt and pepper


For the pesto:

1. Mix together all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely pureed. Add water as needed to get mixture moving.

For the tempeh:

2. Mix together all ingredients (except tempeh).

3. Add tempeh and let marinate for 30 mins (or overnight in fridge).

4. When ready to prepare pasta cook tempeh on the stovetop with a bit of coconut oil over medium heat for 5 mins or until it begins to brown.

For the pasta:

5. Cook pasta according to package instructions

6. In a large bowl mix pasta with pesto sauce.

7. Stir in tempeh.

8. Top with salt and pepper and serve.

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Do you ever eat tempeh? What’s your favourite way to eat it? How about nutritional yeast?

Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

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  1. I love tempeh! This looks great! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Cindy from