Creamy Polenta with Tempeh Sausage and Tomatoes

September 22, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 4
What You'll Need
  • For the tempeh sausage and tomatoes:
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 18-ounce block of tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta or medium grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan buttery spread
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  1. 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 crumble it into pieces (whatever size you like—they can be big crumbles or smaller crumbles).
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh, thyme, oregano, paprika, and black pepper. Cook the tempeh for about 5 minutes, stirring often, or until it's lightly browned, adding a little extra oil as needed. Add the tamari or soy sauce to the tempeh crumbles and cook for another minute. Season the crumbles to taste with additional herbs or tamari before removing the crumbles from the skillet.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, or until clear and soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant but not burning. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the tempeh, taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and set the skillet aside.
  4. To make the polenta, bring the 4 cups water and salt to boil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the polenta and reduce heat to low. Simmer the polenta, stirring constantly, for 15 to 35 minutes (this can vary wildly, depending on the type of polenta you use), or until the polenta is thick and pulling away from the sides of the pot. Stir in the soy or almond milk, oil or buttery spread, and nutritional yeast. Season to taste with extra salt and black pepper as needed.
  5. To serve, top a heap of polenta with the tomato and tempeh mixture, as well as some chopped fresh herbs or torn basil, if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tanya
  • bellw67
  • Gabriella Scali
    Gabriella Scali
  • jennywwu

7 Reviews

jennywwu April 21, 2019
Delicious! I used soy milk, and the polenta didn't even take a full 15 minutes to cook for me. Relatively easy to make too. Will make it again.
Jason February 1, 2019
Made this recipe last night. The tempeh and sauce part came out great, nicely seasoned. The polenta didn’t do it for me though. I know in my experience polenta can be verrrrry finnicky, but this seemed all wrong. It finished like soup! I would omit the milk and maybe cut it to 1 Tbsp of oil. Even next day out of the fridge it’s as thin as water! I’ve had better experiences with polenta with just adding cheese. The nutritional yeast was a nice touch tho
Tanya September 29, 2018
I was surprised when my husband chose this recipe for dinner as he's not a huge fan of tempeh. But it was a success.

I used a 400g block of tempeh, didn't take it out of the pan at step two (just added onions and kept on through step 3,) added chopped yellow pepper after onions/before garlic, added chili flakes for a bit of heat and bit of white miso instead of salt for an umami kick (which tempeh lacks.)

Also... trying not to use almond milk over environmental concerns and don't like soy milk. Had homemade coconut milk on hand and subbed it just fine.

Husband said he'd add it to his go-to recipes. Easy, fast, healthy, tasty.
bellw67 March 1, 2018
Sounds good.
Gabriella S. November 9, 2017
was delicious!
sepej October 25, 2016
Should this read: 1 8-ounce block of tempeh? I've only ever seen tempeh in 8oz blocks, not 18.
Sybille May 29, 2017
i used two packages (16 oz total) and I liked that ratio. You can put as much tempeh in it as you like