You’ll be surprised at how versatile this recipe is. I’ve used these crumbles in tacos, burritos, pasta sauces, lasagnas, bowls, stir-fries, casseroles, vegan mac n’ cheese, nachos, and in countless other ways. Once you get the hang of making the crumbles, it’s easy to modify them to fit any flavor profile (Italian herbs and extra garlic for a pasta dish, a pinch of chili and cayenne or a teaspoon of adobo sauce for something Mexican). —Gena Hamshaw
3 to 4 as an appetizer
8-ounce block of tempeh
vegetable oil (such as safflower or grapeseed), plus extra as needed
Bring a medium pot of shallow water to a simmer. Add the block of tempeh and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the tempeh and pat it dry. Allow the block to cool, and when it's cool enough to handle, crumble it into pieces (whatever size you like—they can be big crumbles or smaller crumbles).
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh, thyme, sage, oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Cook the tempeh for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, or until it's lightly browned, adding a little extra oil as needed.
Add the tamari or soy sauce and the garlic to the tempeh crumbles and cook for another 2 minutes. Season the crumbles to taste with additional herbs or tamari before removing the crumbles from heat and using them in your favorite recipe.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.