Tempting kebabs, starring tempeh


Tempeh’s firm texture makes it perfect for the grill, and its blandness allows it to pick up bold marinade flavors. A tempeh marinade can also become a quick dressing, no further cooking required.

Tempeh kebabs with cilantro-lime sauce

Adapted from “The New Persian Kitchen” by Louisa Shafia (Ten Speed Press, 2013).

Makes six servings

5 scallions, green and white parts, minced

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (3 to 4 large limes)

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 pound tempeh, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

1/3 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons sumac, for garnish (optional)

In a shallow casserole dish, whisk together scallions, oil, lime juice, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tempeh and toss to coat. Cover dish and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 2 hours before grilling. Thread tempeh and tomatoes onto skewers, leaving 2 inches of space at one end. (You should have enough for six 12-inch skewers.)

Reserve 1/4 cup of remaining marinade for basting, and pour rest into a blender. Add mint, cilantro and yogurt. Blend until smooth to make the sauce, tasting and seasoning with more salt, if needed.

Prepare a grill for direct heat.

Grill skewers, basting a few times with the reserved marinade, until tempeh begins to char, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Alternatively, cook kabobs indoors, under the broiler or on a grill pan over high heat.)

Transfer skewers to a serving platter and spoon sauce on top or serve it on the side for dipping, along with rice and salad greens. Garnish skewers with sprinkles of sumac, if desired.

Nutrition: Per serving: 340 calories, 16 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 27 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar.