Tempeh Gives a Twist to a Classic Dish

Piccata dinners are tangy and satisfying, but traditional recipes can contain a lot of fat (often a stick or more of artery-clogging butter). Tempeh Piccata with Seasoned Vegetables puts a healthy spin on this comfort-food classic. It uses a sensible amount of oil and tempeh as the foundation, but doesn’t sacrifice taste.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics endorses tempeh as a healthy, lean protein. Grocery stores usually stock it in the produce department. Unlike other soy products, tempeh is minimally processed and doesn’t contain a lot of added ingredients, according to the academy’s Food and Nutrition Magazine. Four ounces of tempeh average about 200 calories and 21g of protein. Furthermore, tempeh is high in riboflavin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron.

Tempeh originated in what is now Indonesia as a soy dish. Some contemporary versions use other beans, grains or vegetables. Because it is firm and chewy, it works well as a meat analog (substitute). High-quality tempeh has a mild, mushroom-like aroma and slices or cubes easily without crumbling, says the Soyfoods Association of North America.

Chefs Erick Maack and Eric Zito created this entrée with their Staten Island University Hospital colleagues Laura Selenka-Dufresne, RD, and Rachel Shafler, RD, for North Shore-LIJ’s 2014 Ultimate Chef Challenge.

Serving Size: 4.5 oz. tempeh piccata, ½ cup seasoned vegetables
Serves four. 
Preparation time: 35 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Per Serving: 280 calories, 8 grams of fat, 56 mg of sodium.

Ingredients, Tempeh:
15 oz., Tempeh
1 Tbsp., Egg white
1 Tbsp., Flour
2 dashes, Black pepper
2 dashes, Onion powder
Dash, Thyme
3 seconds, Nonstick spray

Ingredients, Picatta Sauce: 
½ cup, White wine
½ cup, Fresh onion, minced
1 oz., Lemon grass
1 tsp, Garlic
1 tsp, Capers
1 tsp, Corn starch
1 tsp, Fresh parsley
½ tsp, Fresh lemon, squeezed

Ingredients, Seasoned Vegetables:
12 oz., Vegetable stock
2/3 cup, Red potato
2/3 cup, Carrots
2/3 cup, Parsnips
1 tsp, Paprika
1 tsp, Olive oil
1 tsp, Onion powder
½ tsp, Garlic powder
½ tsp, Black pepper

Ingredients, Garnish:
4 oz., Asparagus

Directions, Tempeh:

  1. Season flour by mixing in black pepper, onion powder and thyme.
  2. Cut tempeh in half and put it in egg whites, then place tempeh in seasoned flour.
  3. Spray tempeh with non-stick spray and place into hot saucepan until golden brown.

Directions, Picatta Sauce:

  1. Sauté onions, garlic, white wine and stock.
  2. Cook down with spices and lemon grass.
  3. Add capers and thicken with corn starch.
  4. Squeeze fresh lemon juice to finish.

Directions, Seasoned Vegetables:

  1. Cut red potatoes, parsnips and carrots.
  2. Boil vegetables and save stock for sauce.
  3. Season the vegetables with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper.
  4. Sauté vegetables in olive oil.

Directions, Asparagus:

  • Blanch asparagus in boiling water and finish on grill.
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