Maple-Balsamic Tempeh with Chestnuts and Golden Onions, Panfried Romaine, Challah

By Jennifer

Maple-Balsamic Tempeh with Chestnuts and Golden Onions, Panfried Romaine, Challah

My  brother told me about this main dish, which comes from the magazine Vegetarian Times, and it is just as he said, delicious.  It is supposed to serve 4, but I’ll confess, I had more than one serving (helped by the unfortunate fact that my 9 year old has declared he will not eat tofu or tempeh until he is 18).  If you’re never eaten tempeh before, look for it in the produce section near the tofu.  It is a fermented soy protein product that is much firmer and denser than tofu, great for stews or for grilling.  As for the side dish, from Gourmet magazine, who knew pan-frying Romaine would be so incredibly tasty??

This dinner serves 4 (I dare you, seriously, you’re going to want to double it so you can eat more).

Maple-Balsamic Tempeh with Chestnuts and Golden Onions

  • 4 tsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 8-oz. packages tempeh, each piece halved
  • 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 12 jarred chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TBS maple syrup

Bottled chestnuts

Onions in the pan

Heat 2 tsp. sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and thyme until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

Onions are done

Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.


Tempeh, cooked on one side

Heat the remaining 2 tsp. sesame oil in the skillet over medium heat and cook the tempeh, 3 minutes per side.

Adding soy sauce and water

Add the soy sauce plus 2/3 cup water, and cook on medium-high until the pan is dry, about 6 minutes.

Pan is nearly dry

Adding rest of ingredients to tempeh

Add the remaining ingredients plus the onions, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

After cooking, covered

Panfried Romaine

  • 1 18-oz. package Romaine hearts (should be 3 per package), trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, a little more than 1/2 tsp.

Romaine is ready to pan-fry

Rinse the Romaine halves and shake, then pat, dry.  Heat 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking.

First batch of Romaine in the pan

Add 3 Romaine halves, cut sides down, and sprinkle with a rounded 1/4 tsp. sea salt.

Romaine, turned over to cook the other side

Cook until browned, turning over once, about 2 minutes total, then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until crisp-tender.

Romaine, after cooking, covered

Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining halves.

Panfried Romaine is ready

Cool to room temperature before serving (gives you time to make the tempeh in the same skillet!).

Serve all together with the Challah.

Dinner is ready!


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