Make Ahead

Herby Pasta Salad With Tempeh Bacon & Roasted Vegetables

July  2, 2020
3 Ratings
Photo by Yossy Arefi
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

Fresh, fragrant, tender herbs are infused in oil before being tossed with cooked pasta. The residual heat from the noodles warms the herbs just enough to bring out their bright flavor. Of course you can use whatever herbs you prefer, but I love an excess of fresh mint and basil—maybe it’s because I find that their sweetness compliments the smoky tempeh so well. This is also probably why I prefer roasting vegetables that caramelize while they bake, like onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Either way, this is a bright pasta dish that seems fitting for summer, and only gets better as it sits, if you want to serve it cold the following day. This is a hearty recipe that can feed a group of people, so consider halving the recipe if the occasion calls for it.

I also wanted to share a simple tempeh “bacon” recipe that calls for fairly humble pantry ingredients. Tempeh is whole, fermented soybean that has been compressed into a firm block. Unlike tofu, it doesn’t contain a lot of moisture, so it crisps easily, similar to bacon, when sliced thinly and fried under high heat. I imagine not everyone has liquid smoke or nutritional yeast in their cabinets at all times and, when you don't, this version can help you get around that. You can sprinkle this tempeh bacon over a Caesar salad or a bowl of creamy pasta as well. —Jerrelle Guy

What You'll Need
  • Dressing and pasta salad
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting the vegetables
  • 2 cups finely chopped fragrant herbs (such as 1 cup finely chopped mint, ½ cup finely chopped basil, ¼ cup finely chopped oregano, ¼ cup finely chopped chives)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (from 2 small crowns)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut to ½-inch dice
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 pound medium-length pasta (like rotini, penne, or fusilli)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Tempeh bacon
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut to ½-inch dice
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F, arrange two racks in the center of the oven, and have two baking sheets lined with parchment nearby.
  2. Make the dressing: In a large serving bowl, add ½ cup of olive oil, the chopped herbs, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Let all the flavors marry while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Add the broccoli florets, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes to one of the baking sheets. Toss generously with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and bake on one of the racks for 8 to 10 minutes while you prepare the tempeh.
  4. Marinate the tempeh: Add the soy sauce, olive oil, white wine vinegar, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a medium bowl, and whisk together until combined. Add the tempeh pieces and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Very generously salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  6. Shake the excess marinade from the tempeh—there won’t be much—and spread the pieces out on the second baking sheet. Bake alongside the vegetables for another 18 to 20 minutes, tossing and basting the tempeh with any extra marinade halfway through until the pieces are slightly charred and browned.
  7. When the vegetables and tempeh have just 10 minutes left of cooking, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Remove the vegetables and tempeh from the oven—the vegetable should be slightly charred around the edges, and the tomatoes beginning to blister and burst. Let cool, while you drain the warm pasta and add it to the bowl of herbs.
  8. Toss everything together, making sure the pasta gets well-coated with the herbs before adding the cooled tempeh and vegetables, tossing gently to distribute. Season lightly with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Eat right away, at room temperature, or save in the fridge for later.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • anna
  • FrugalCat
  • Dalila
  • Katie

4 Reviews

anna August 23, 2020
Incredibly delicious. One of the most flavorful dishes I’ve ever made and easy-to-follow instructions!
Dalila July 25, 2020
This was really delicious!! Fresh and tasty and filling. One note - the oven temp listed here was too high for the cooking times. Both my veggies and tempeh got too charred. Next time I will bake at 400 degrees.
FrugalCat July 20, 2020
Also good with real bacon. For the herbs, i used half cilantro and half parsley.
Katie July 3, 2020
I'm really excited to try this recipe - it looks great!

I wanted to ask re: the tempeh - have you ever tried steaming it before marinating? I've recently read quite a few recipes that do it, claiming it helps the marinade soak up better, but when I tried it I found it just made the tempeh wetter, and therefore took away some of that beautiful ability to crisp. I'd love to hear your thoughts as someone who knows a heck of a lot more about cooking than I do!