BBQ Tempeh

by angelika on February 2, 2011

I went grocery shopping yesterday and I saw something I haven’t seen in a long time. Apricots! I know what  some of you locavores will be thinking, apricots, in February? I confess, they were not local. (clearly, right?) They were not even organic. (gasp!) But, you see, there is this BBQ sauce recipe I love, and it is an apricot BBQ sauce. I have been carving it since my sister in law made it for me last July. So I just had to, and you know what? I am not sorry. This is the best BBQ sauce EVER! 

Apricot BBQ Sauce 
1TBS olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 lb apricots, pitted and sliced 1/2″ thick
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
several pinches fresh pepper
1/4 cup molasses 
2 TBS tomato paste
3 TBS soy sauce or tamari 
1 tsp liquid smoke 
This BBQ sauce come from Veganomicon. I didn’t change it at all, it is perfect as written, which I would not have known had my visiting sister in law not offered to make an entire 4th of July menu for us last year.  This was one of her dishes. 
Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions until they lightly brown. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and deglaze the pan. 
Add the apricots, ginger, coriander and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, cover, reduce to simmer, and wait 10 minutes. 

Uncover and add the remaining ingredients. I have found that recipes only ever call for a small amount of tomato paste, and the can is always way more than I need. I measure out 1 tsp servings onto a baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen I put the portions in a plastic bag and use them as a recipe calls for. This way I am not wasting a whole can for 2 TBS of paste. 
Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing the apricots as you go. Taste the sauce and adjust for sweetness. My early season apricots were not very sweet and this was perfection. No adjustment needed. 

Wait for the sauce to cool, and then puree it either in a food processor or a blender. I used my mini prep, which is the perfect size. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze it. 

So now you may be thinking, what do I do with this divine sauce? If you are an omnivore, you probably have your own ideas. What we like to do with it, is make BBQ tempeh.  I know tempeh can be a bit scary. It looks weird, I’ll give you that. The thing is, it is so good for you. Way better than tofu. Tofu is raw soy, and raw soy is not he healthiest food. Tempeh is fermented soy, and the process of fermentation makes the soy so much easier to digest, and much healthier for you. The key to tempeh is the preparation. I always boil my tempeh for 10 minutes, and then stick it right into a marinade. The boiling softens the fibers in the tempeh, and opens them up to accept flavoring. I think if you try it this way, you may find you love it as much as we do. 
slice the tempeh into wedges 

Tempeh comes in a package in the refrigerated section of your health food store. I cut it in half, and then cut each half into two triangles. I then divide each triangle in two down the center. This leaves me with 8 wedges.  Add these wedges to boiling water and let them boil for 10 minutes. Remove immediately from the water and place into your marinade. In this case the BBQ sauce. Let it sit at least an hour. I let mine sit all day. I made the BBQ sauce last night and boiled the tempeh before work. They got to marinade for hours and were ready for dinner this evening. 
awaiting the last layer of sauce

When you are ready to serve, you can bake them at 375º for about 25 minutes, flipping half way through. I like to grill them. I have a double burner grill pan, which is the perfect size to cook the whole batch at once.

They take about 5 minutes per side, on medium heat. Look for the nice grill lines, and an easy release. I placed my tempeh on the grill with the sauce side down, and then basted the top side with a little more sauce. When they are done, serve with extra sauce on the side. We had enough sauce to marinate this tempeh, serve some on the side, and a lot left over. The left over portion is now in our freezer. 
We served the tempeh aside some roasted broccoli, with BBQ sauce, and an amazing rainbow coleslaw. (recipe soon) Clearly I am trying to relive July in February. Although I will say, that even though the majority of the country is locked into “snowmageddon”, we have been unseasonable warm and sunny. So who can blame me?
A votre santé! 

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