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Crispy Tempeh Instead Of Croutons Every Time

Our tempeh is made with soybeans, brown rice, barley and millet. It might not sound tasty, but just wait until we pan-fry it with capers and lemon.

No croutons necessary with this salad!

I used to say that tofu was the scary white stuff, but I found an ingredient that is more frightening than tofu — tempeh.

It is a protein source made with grains. The tempeh I’m using for this recipe is made up of soybeans, brown rice, barley and millet.

It might be a stretch for most people to think that a brick of grains sounds like a delicious addition to a meal, but I found a way to make it taste good. Be aware: This recipe is not vegan because it uses butter (a generous amount of butter at that), but you could try it with olive oil instead.

This dish is reminiscent of a meuniere, which in French means “in the style of the miller’s wife.” The miller would grind flour and trade it, usually in exchange for dairy products. You’ll see part of the recipe calls for the butter to be browned — that’s key for a meuniere!

Let me emphasize how important it is to crisp up all sides of the tempeh. You are trying to mimic croutons with this cooking technique, so the crunchier, the better!

Crispy Tempeh With Fresh Greens

Yield: Feeds 4 people


  • one 8 oz. brick tempeh, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • splash lemon juice
  • splash caper juice
  • handful chopped parsley
  • fresh greens for salad
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. When it is nice and hot, add cubes of tempeh.
  2. Flip the tempeh over to crisp both sides and add the butter.
  3. Once the butter browns, add the lemon zest, capers and parsley.
  4. Add splashes of caper juice and lemon juice.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste, but do so sparingly, because the capers will provide a salty element.
  6. Serve the tempeh over a bed of fresh arugula and baby spinach. Finish with dashes of lemon juice and olive oil.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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