Yid.Dish: Apricot Glazed Tempeh & Onions


Thanksgiving can be a tough time for a vegetarian.  Sure there are a million delicious side acts to choose from, but the star of the show – that juicy, golden-brown turkey, straight out of Norman Rockwell’s fantasy – is strictly off limits.  But that’s no reason for meat eaters to have all of the fun.

I’m absolutely terrified at the thought of consuming a Tofurkey, and think its a bit of a cop-out to try to replicate and entire turkey for one’s vegetarian Thanksgiving table.  I’m also a bit scared to think that someone out there dreamed up the bacon-wrapped Turbaconducken. (It’s probably delicious – but come on people!)  Instead, here’s a delicious recipe for apricot-glazed tempeh & onions that will keep any vegetarian happy at the Thanksgiving table.

Below the jump: The recipe and a bonus Thanksgiving surprise! Keep your eyes peeled next week for more Thanksgiving recipes.

Apricot & Apple Glazed Tempeh with Onions
Serves 6-8

For Tempeh
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs minced ginger
1 cup tamari
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
16 oz tempeh (I use Soy Boy’s 5-grain brand)

1 large white onion, quartered, and sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs olive oil

For Glaze
Remainder of marinade
1 cup apple butter
1 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup brown vinegar

Make the marinade: combine ginger, garlic, tamari, and sesame oil in a bowl.

Cut Tempeh into 1 inch x 1/2 inch rectangles. Place tempeh rectangles into a large, sturdy plastic bag, and pour marinade into bag. Let sit for one hour, rotating bag occasionally, to evenly coat tempeh. Meanwhile, slice onions and set aside. Combine apple butter, apricot jam, and vinegar in 2-cup measuring bowl.

After one hour, remove tempeh from plastic bag and place in one layer onto baking sheet and broil on either side for 5 minutes. Stir remaining marinade into glaze mixture.

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbs olive oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat. Turn heat up slightly and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn fragrant and brown. Add glaze and stir to coat onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glaze thickens slightly.

To serve: Arrange tempeh on a flat serving dish. Pile glazed onions on top.


BONUS: Tips for being a happy vegetarian on Thanksgiving (via Treehugger)

1) If a relative is baiting you, don’t rise to it. Some wag once said, “Of course your family can push your buttons, they installed them.” Chances are the uncle who is goading you is never going to see things from your point of view, and is just trying to get you going, so don’t bother arguing with him.

2) Offer to bring a vegetarian main course so that you aren’t making extra work for your parents. Make something that is ready to serve and doesn’t require precious oven or stove space.

3) Don’t cover old ground. Families have a way of endlessly reprising touchy topics. Keep in mind a list of things to talk about that will help you avoid the mobius strip of argument.

4) Before the big day, ask the cook to keep unnecessary meat additions out of the side dishes. Really, no one is going to miss bacon bits in the salad.

5) Be open to friendly discussion about your food choices if this is your first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is a normal, everyday thing for you and if you are matter of fact about it your family will see that it needn’t be a big deal.

6) If you’ve already had the friendly discussion and you don’t want to keep having it, it’s time to set some limits. Politely point out that there may be other topics more interesting than what you eat.

7) Don’t apologize to your family for your food choices, but also recognize that they have the right to their own choices as well.

8) Smile and be thankful.

Related Posts
I Caved Into Turkey
Gobble Glatt
Celebratory Sides: What Are Your Favorites?

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6 Responses to “Yid.Dish: Apricot Glazed Tempeh & Onions”

  1. Rachel B. Says:

    That actually sounds really good! Salty and sweet.

  2. Chris Says:

    Hi Leah

    Have you thought of replacing the olive oil in your recipe for hemp seed oil. Not only is it a fresher taste (in my opinion) but it’s half the saturated fat of olive oil so it dramatically reduces the calorie count in your dish.

    Cold pressed hemp seed oil is a great alternative oil that is often used as a healthy alternative to both olive and rape seed oils – as it contains essential fatty acids (Omegas-3, -6 and 9) which have been successful in helping lower the risks of heart disease.

    You can buy Hemp Seed Oil in many supermarkets and is definitely worth a try (Waitrose usually stocks a wide variety of culinary oils). If you’d like to sample some, drop me an email and I’ll send you over a sample of GOOD OIL – which is the brand that I represent. Other hemp seed oils are available too, although there aren’t others that follow our farming and harvesting process, which is why they may not taste the same. So keep your eyes peeled…

    Keep up the good work


  3. Bruce Righter Says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Our vegan group always has a Thanksgiving get together, and I substituted this for the Tofurky roast/ veggies that I normally bring.
    Everyone really enjoyed it.
    I took the liberty of adapting the recipe, filling a 12 X 18 X 4 roasting pan with carrots, potato & onion, topping with a double batch of your tempeh & onions and then baking for a couple hours. The glaze turned into a rich gravy that permeated the veggies.
    It turned out great, and I look forward to putting the leftovers over rice for tomorrow’s meals.

    While I DO love the Tofurky roast, I’ve never been crazy about trying to imitate meat since it makes vegans seem like wannabe-meat-eaters.
    The tempeh proudly proclaims that it’s NOT turkey but still mighty tasty.

  4. Hilla Says:

    Chris, I’m pretty sure that oil-is-oil-is-oil in terms of the calorie count. Ie, 1 gram of fat = 9 calories, regardless of the kind. However, I agree with you that different oils can have different fat compositions and health benefits. I appreciate you bringing up hemp oil, because I am interested in learning more about it.

  5. Darya Says:

    Maybe nobody checks these comments a year out, but I wanted to note that I made this recipe recently — I thought it sounded delicious — and it was unbearably salty. I should have anticipated this, given that it calls for an entire cup of tamari — I’ve never seen more than three or four tablespoons in a recipe — but I followed the recipe exactly and the results were, as I said, nearly inedible. The glaze was, likewise, a great consistency and a nice mix of flavors, but the saltiness was overpowering. My housemates and I had to bury our tempeh in mounds of rice to counteract the salt, and rather than saving it for future stir-fries, I had to throw the leftover glaze away. I would recommend that future users of this recipe reduce the tamari a *lot* — by maybe three-quarters — but would also be interested in hearing if others have had this problem with the recipe as it’s posted.

  6. Leah Koenig Says:

    Hey Darya, sorry about your salty tempeh disaster! I’m not sure what happened b/c, at the time, I tested the recipe twice and it came out deliciously sweet/salty (not super salty) both times.

    That said, it was over a year ago…so it’s possible I made a mistake in typing 1 cup tamari for the marinade. Maybe I meant 1/2 cup? Next time I make it, I’ll report back – in the meantime, of course go ahead and adjust the recipe to your liking.

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