Cooking for the Sensitive Soul… Err… Stomach.

So those of you who know me may know that I have an increasingly dissatisfied stomach. As in every week I convince myself I have a new food allergy. Thank you but not really WebMD ;-). But actually, I know I’m lactose intolerant, and I’m fairly sure I have some variation of acid reflux (as in, I have a sip of alcohol, a drop of hot sauce, a cup of coffee, and my whole being stages a revolt). Or it could be a gluten intolerance. Who knows??? But the point is, I’m too lazy/unwilling to do an elimination diet right now to truly figure it out, so in the meantime, I’m left with trying to cook the basics without any of the possible problematic ingredients in question and hope for the best! Which leads me to….

Non-boring protein for lactose-intolerant/acid-refluxive/possibly gluten intolerant vegetarians!!!!

The recipe of the day, to any who might be interested, is sautéed, lemon herb tempeh!

Note (one more preface and then I’ll get on with it I swear): I could never write a full-on food blog because I use, as the french would say about it, pif-o-metre. As in, I cook by my nose. As in, pinch of this, sprinkle of that until it starts tasting good so…. good luck with this very general guideline of a recipe ;-).


2 packages of precooked tempeh (trader joe’s, costco… most big places have them now and they come in pretty standard 8 oz rectangular packages)

1 large yellow onion

5-7 cloves of garlic

3-5 tablespoons of olive oil

3 lemons, juiced

1-2 teaspoons of soy sauce

Various spices, including but not limited to: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, parsley

^Note that I make this in a fairly large quantity because I save it to eat throughout the week, but you can easily cut this in half

1) Cut tempeh into about 1 by 1-2 inch cubes. I usually do one cut lengthwise down the middle then maybe 10 ish widthwise.

2) Put cubed tempeh on a flat plate or bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of soy sauce – the tempeh should soak it up pretty well. Set aside.


3) Chop however much garlic you’d like, set aside.

Oh hi garlic.
Oh hi garlic.

4) Chop onion. I usually chop it fairly finely, but coarse is okay too – it will be cooking long enough that it will shrink down a good deal.

5) Heat olive oil (2-3 tablespoons? enough to cover pan) in a large pan on medium heat. Add spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, onion and garlic powder now (I do a few shakes of each). As soon as the spices start to sizzle and shimmer in the oil, add the onions!

6) Stir onions and let cook until they start to soften and turn translucent. Note: if I have something else to do/dishes to clean up at this point, I’ll turn down the heat to low and just let them cook for a couple minutes, because either way it takes a while. The only key is to keep stirring every minute or two (especially if you keep the heat at medium) to make sure your onions don’t burn to a crisp at the sides.

Sautéing the onions.
Sautéing the onions.

7) If you haven’t already done this, remember to squeeze the juice from your lemons and have it ready!

8) Once onions are soft and translucent, throw in the tempeh. Try to stir it all as best you can, then turn it down to a simmer, cover and let cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The cubes may break up as you stir, but that’s okay – it’s why I cut them fairly big to start with. Note: If you’re concerned about an even brown color, you can keep the heat at medium and flip the cubes more regularly, but there’s more of a risk of burning that way.

9) After a few (3-5?) minutes, taste the tempeh. If it looks a bit dry/onions are clumping, add another spoonful of olive oil and/or soy sauce.

10) Add lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and peper. Note: I add salt and peper to taste at this point, trying bits of the tempeh and adjusting as I go. And if you’re concerned with the presentation, consider waiting to add the dried parsley until the very last minute, as the less it cooks, the more of that nice green color will remain.

11) When it tastes good, it’s done! Eat it warm or stick it in tupperware and have veggie protein at the ready for the week. I use it in the same way many people use grilled chicken – on salads, a scoopful mixed into a soup, on noodles, with rice… just on the side of whatever vegetable I’m eating… And it’s great warm or cold! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

The finished product atop a bed of arugula!
The finished product atop a bed of arugula!

Final note: if you made it through my messy instructions, congratulations. If you’re never going to dare attempt this but enjoy the case study of how my weird mind works (and barely manages to produce directions in a linear order) that’s cool too. And if you just skimmed pictures and are wondering where the stuff about reading/writing is – I got you! Coming at you tomorrow or Monday. 🙂

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