Category Archives: basics

DIY {homemade tempeh}


I’m a big fan of anything fermented (check out my post on how to make kimchi!), so I was super excited to try making my own tempeh. I lucked out and found a package of starter from Cultures for Health at my local co-op. I’ve had a lot of success  in the past with their kombucha and vegan yogurt starters. 

There are are few caveats that I should get out of the way before preceding. Making your own tempeh isn’t going to save you money. Tempeh is pretty inexpensive and is readily available in many grocery store. Making tempeh is also going to take some time and effort. The fermentation process alone takes 2 days and that’s not including the preparation time. What you will get is a fresh, delicious homemade product that will taste better than anything you buy in the store. In my opinion, that alone is worth the effort.

So let’s get to it!


All of the equipment and ingredients are listed in the recipe below. The list doesn’t need to be exact; these are just the items that I ended up using. Do your best and make do with what you have on hand in your own kitchen. 

Start by soaking 2 pounds (about 2-1/2 cups) of soy beans in a large bowl over night or for at least 12 hours. The beans will expand so make sure to cover them with enough water that they remain submerged.


The next step is probably the most labor intensive. The beans need to be split and de-hulled. Use your hands, a potato masher, rolling pin, or what have you to smash the beans and remove the skins. If you just happen to have a grain mill laying around the house, give that a try as it might save you a lot of time. I used a combination of hands and rolling pin. I had some success with soaking the beans in water, squeezing, letting the hulls float to the top, and then draining them off. Don’t worry about getting every last hull removed.



Move your beans to a large pot with fresh water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans become tender. Remove any hulls that float to the top. Prepare 2-quart sized zip lock bags by puncturing holes throughout with a needle or skewer. I placed my holes in 1-inch intervals. This allows the beans to breath during the fermentation process.

Drain the beans and spread them out on 2 towel lined baking sheets. Pat them dry and allow to cool completely. Transfer into a clean bowl and mix in vinegar. The vinegar will lower the pH of the beans and inhibit the grown of unwanted bacteria. Sprinkle the tempeh starter onto the beans and make sure to thoroughly incorporate.

Evenly distribute the beans between the 2 bags and seal closed. They should be about 1-1 1/2 inch thick when laid flat. Now decided on the method of incubation. I’m using a TSM harvest food dehydrator because it has a temperature control. Other incubator possibilities might include the oven or a yogurt maker. Whatever your method, the tempeh needs to be kept between 85° and 90°F for the next 48 hours. 


 Check the temperature after 12 hours. The fermentation process will cause the beans to generate their own heat, so it might be necessary to turn off the external heat source. Since my dehydrator regulates the temperature, I’ve leave it on without any problems. The white mycelium should start growing between 12 and 24 hours.  After 24 hours my beans were completely encased in the mycelium, binding the beans into a solid cake. A light nutty aroma will also become more apparent.


At this point, remove the tempeh from the dehydrator and refrigerate until ready to use. I’ve found that sometimes my store bought tempeh will have a slightly bitter taste; I didn’t notice this at all with the homemade tempeh. It was slightly softer than store bought but I figured this was do to it being freshly made. In the next couple of posts I’ll follow up with some of my favorite tempeh recipes. Enjoy!


Homemade Tempeh
  1. 1 pound ( about 2 1/2 cups) soy beans
  2. 2 tablespoons vinegar
  3. 1 packet tempeh starter
  1. 2 large bowls
  2. Colander
  3. Large pot
  4. 2 baking sheets
  5. Measuring spoons
  6. Spatula or mixing spoons
  7. 2 quart-sized ziplock bags
  8. Skewer or large needle
  9. Towel (optional)
  10. Thermometer (optional - depending on incubation method)
  11. Dehydrator
  1. 1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with enough water that they stay submerged as they begin to rehydrate. Let beans soak over night.
  2. 2. Remove the hulls and split the beans by squeezing or smashing with a potato smasher or rolling pin. I used a combination of both and found that wrapping the beans in a towel and running the rolling pin over them worked well. This is by far the most labor-intensive step. Split and de-hull as many beans as you can but don't worry about getting every last beans.
  3. 3. Move beans into a large pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans become tender. Periodically skim the top for any remaining hulls.
  4. 4. While the beans simmer, prepare the ziplock bags by using a needle or skewer to puncture holes in 1-inch intervals throughout the bags.
  5. 5. Remove cooked beans from the pot and drain. Spread them out onto a towel or 2 cookie sheets and let cool completely.
  6. 6. Transfer the beans into a clean bowl, add vinegar, and mix. The vinegar will lower the pH of the beans and help inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria. Sprinkle on the tempeh starter and mix thoroughly.
  7. 7. Evenly distribute the beans between the 2 bags and flatten to a thickness of 1 to 1-1/2 inch before sealing.
  8. 8. Place bags in dehydrator and maintain temperature at 85°F to 90°F for the next 48 hours. Check the temperature of the bags after 12 hours. The fermentation process will cause the beans to generate their own heat and require turning off the dehydrator.
  9. 9. The white mycellium will start to cover the beans after 24 hours and will completely incase and bind the beans together into a solid cake by 48 hours. The tempeh should have a pleasant nutty aroma.
  10. 10. Remove from dehydrator and refrigerate.
  1. *unused tempeh can be frozen by steaming for 20 minutes and storing in an airtight container in the freezer.
Artisanal Vegan

Steamed Chicky Seitan

Isa Does It by Isa MoskowitzIsa Does It by Isa Moskowitz is probably one of my favorite vegan cookbooks. It contains a range of recipes from basic necessities to more complex dishes; I highly recommend getting your hands on copy as it’ll be a book that you’ll continually reference.

I’ve tried many different seitan recipes with varying degrees of success. The steamed chicky seitan in this book has become my goto when in need of a realistic fake meat. The texture and consistency create the perfect analog. It’s also highly versatile; cut it into strips, chunks, or whatever size you prefer. 


This is a pretty quick, straight-forward recipe to make. Prepare your steamer before mixing any ingredients. While you wait for the water to reach a boil, mash chickpeas thoroughly in a large bowl. Remove the skins if you prefer; I didn’t and it really didn’t make much of a difference to the end result. Mix in broth, olive oil, and soy sauce. Add in vital wheat gluten and remaining dry ingredients. Use your hands to knead into a dough.

Quarter dough and form into 4 to 5 inch wide patties. Wrap each patty in foil. Make sure to not wrap too tightly as they will expand during steaming process. Place patties in steamer, cover, and allow to steam for 40 minutes. The patties will be slightly soft to touch after being removed from the steamer but will become firmer as they cool. Let cool before cutting if you plan on using immediately or store in refrigerator for later use.


Steamed Chicky Seitan
  1. 2/3 of a 15 ounce can chickpeas (1 cup), rinsed and drained
  2. 1 cup vegetable broth
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  5. 1-1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
  6. 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  7. 2 teaspoon onion powder
  8. 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  9. 1 teaspoon sage
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. black pepper
  1. 1. Set up your steamer and bring water to a full boil.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mash chickpeas. Mix in broth, olive oil, and soy sauce. Add in remaining ingredients and use hands to knead ingredients into a dough.
  3. 3. Quarter dough and form into 4 to 5 inch wide patties. Wrap each patty in foil but not too tightly as they will expand.
  4. 4. Place each patty in steamer, cover, and steam for 40 minutes. The patties will become firmer as they cool. Cut into any shape desired or keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days until ready to use.
  1. *The patties also freeze well for several months.
Artisanal Vegan

Tempeh Bacon

Many mainstream grocery stores now carry tempeh bacon on their shelves, but I find making your own to be much cheaper, quick to prepare, and a whole lot tastier. Trader Joe’s has their own brand that’s relatively inexpensive. I’ll often pick up a pack or two when I make a trip. Tempeh is super nutritious and high in protein and fiber. I try to regularly incorporate it into my diet.

tempeh bacon

Cut the tempeh lengthwise into fairly thick strips. Ten to 12 should fit nicely into a large frying pan. Next cut crosswise so that the pieces are about 3 to 4 inches long. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and soak the tempeh strips for about 30 minutes or however long you can wait. 

tempeh bacon

Heat a large frying pan to medium heat. When the pan is ready, lay out tempeh in a single layer. Pour half the marinade on top, cover, and let cook for about 5 minutes or until browned. Flip, pour on remainder of marinade, and cover. Remove from pan once both sides are browned and the sugar from the maple syrup has caramelized.

tempeh bacon

These go great on sandwiches, tofu scrambles, or even eaten alone. Sriracha or cayenne pepper would be nice additions of you like your food a little more spicy. Leave a comment if you give this recipe a try; let me know what you think or any modifications you made.

tempeh bacon

Tempeh Bacon
  1. 1 8oz package of tempeh
  2. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/8 cup liquid aminos or soy sauce
  4. 1/8 cup maple syrup or agave
  5. 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  6. 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  7. 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  8. 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
  9. Black pepper (optional)
  10. Siracha (optional)
  1. 1. Cut tempeh lengthwise into 10-12 slices and then cut again crosswise.
  2. 2. Mix all ingredients together and marinade tempeh for about 30 minutes.
  3. 3. At medium heat, place tempeh in a pan and pour half of marinade on top and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until underside is nicely browned.
  4. 4. Turn tempeh and brown the other side until golden brown and sugars start to caramelize.
  1. I store my unused tempeh bacon in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Chez Bettay, The Vegan Gourmet
Artisanal Vegan

How to Make Kimchi!


This week I’m really excited to attend a fermentation demonstration and book signing at my local co-op. I’ll update more on the book and event in the following days, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to tie in this event with one of my favorite fermented recipes: kimchi.

Update: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the demo. The weather has been crazy here in the Pacific Northwest which typically translates to nightmare commuting. I’ve attached a link to the book. It’s called Fresh & Fermented; I’m excited to get my hands on a copy and tryout some of the recipes.

This is the firindexst kimchi recipe that I made that I’ve really enjoyed. I generally stick with the traditional ingredients you find in kimchi such as napa cabbage but it really seems like you can use any type of cabbage – even good ole’ green cabbage which you can find in any grocery store will work – or pretty much any vegetable for that matter.

The recipe that I make can be easily doubled. The only problem I’ve encountered when making large batches is finding a big enough bowl to hold the cabbage, although, once you mix in the salt water solution it wilts down significantly. This recipe doesn’t take much physical work but it does take a few hours from start to finish. I’d recommend starting early so that you’re not up till the wee hours of the morning scooping fermented cabbage into jars. I end up in this situation all the time!

  I usually start by cutting the head of cabbage into quarters and then remove the core. Cut the whole head into bite sized pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact.

Mix up your brine and pour it over the pieces. I use my hands to get the liquid evenly distributed. Cover it and let sit for about 4 hours.

 Drain and rinse the cabbage to remove any excess salt. Add and evenly distribute the ko choo kah rhoo paste and green onions.

Blend together water, apple, onion garlic, and ginger until liquified and add to cabbage. Spoon into clean jars leaving enough room at the top for the kimchi to expand. Leave jars out for about 24 hours and then transfer into the refrigerator. The kimchi is a fermented food and will keep for a long time but the taste will become stronger as well. Enjoy!

Vegan Kimchi
  1. 1 head of nappa cabbage, chopped into bite sized pieces
  2. 1/4 cup sea salt dissolved in a small bowl with water
  3. 1/4 cup ko choo kah rhoo (Korean chili powder)
  4. 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  5. 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  6. 3-4 green onions, chopped
  7. 2 tbsp. salt
  8. 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  9. 1 apple, peeled and cored
  10. 8-10 pint sized mason jars
  1. 1. Place chopped cabbage in a large bowl and pour salt water solution over the top. Mix well and allow to sit for about 4 hours. The salt will pull water from the cabbage causing it to wilt and shrink down.
  2. 2. Move the cabbage into a colander and rinse thoroughly to remove any excess salt. Once it's drained move it back into the large bowl.
  3. 3. Add enough warm water into the ko choo kah rhoo to form a paste. Add this to the cabbage and mix together. Gloves might be advisable if you're using your hands. Mix in green onions.
  4. 4. In a blender add 1 cup water, onion, apple, garlic, and ginger. Blend until ingredients are liquified.
  5. 5. Pour contents of blender over cabbage a mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  6. 6. Transfer cabbage into jars leaving an inch or 2 at the top as the cabbage will expand as it ferments. I also tamp the cabbage down as I'm spooning it into the jars. Distribute any leftover liquid equally among the jars and cap tightly.
  7. 7. Leave the kimchi on the counter to ferment for about 24 hours then move into the refrigerator. I live in a colder climate and will often leave mine out for 48 hours or longer.
  1. The taste of the kimchi will get stronger the longer it's left to ferment. I typically know it's ready to eat when the lid hisses or pops after being opening. The taste has a fizzy, champagne-like flavor, in my opinion.
Adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen
Artisanal Vegan