Cajun Tempeh with Grits

Yesterday our not-so-little baby turned 5 months old.

<Insert every known cliche about how they grow up too fast>

We celebrated with a four and a half mile family run, which was the first time Ellie rode in the BOB without the infant insert.  It was SO much easier without it (I think because it was much lighter and had a lower center of gravity).  She obviously found it quite exhilirating.

Other highlights included a birthday celebration in Sacramento, a shopping trip at one of my favorite grocery stores (Berkeley Bowl!), and Chinese food and soft serve with some friends.  Ellie was awesome through it all.

Mike and I have become off the deep end obsessed with bulk bins, and one of my current favorites is polenta.

Polenta with tempeh on it is not a new thing around here (see mustard-glazed tempeh), and it’s definitely going to be making an appearance again.  I guess technically there is a difference between grits and polenta, but I’m going to refer to these as grits.

I always feel kind of guilty when I un-veganize recipes, but all we had in the house was whole milk, which I’ve been pretty fond of lately.  It makes the grits amazingly creamy.  The sauteed leeks with garlic add a nice pop of flavor and color.

Cajun Tempeh with Grits


  • 1 8 oz package tempeh, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Grits
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grits (or polenta)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (use the leftovers from cooking the tempeh)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • salt to taste


  1. To make the tempeh: bring the broth and salt to a boil and add the tempeh slices. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, then remove the tempeh pieces with a slotted spoon. Reserve the broth.
  2. Drain the tempeh in a sieve for about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the oil, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and add the drained tempeh. Mix well to coat.
  4. Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a skillet and add the tempeh pieces in a single layer. Cook a few minute on each side, until browned.
  5. To make the grits, bring the broth to a boil and stir in the grits, mixing well to get rid of any lumps. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Add the milk and a pinch of salt and continue simmering until soft and thickened, another 15 minutes or so.
  6. While the grits are cooking, cook the leeks and garlic in the oil over medium-low until tender. Stir in a pinch of salt.
  7. To serve, put the grits in a bowl and top with some of the leeks and a few slices of tempeh

(adapted from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry

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