Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pineapple & Coconut Crusted Tempeh Burger

tempeh before it's cooked and sliced into 4 pieces

Pineapple & Coconut Crusted Tempeh Burger
This past weekend I attempted to hang out at the Vegetarian Food Festival in NYC. I missed it last year so I was really excited to go. There were many vendors I wanted to visit and foods to try.  It was a cold day and wasn’t dressed the warmest. I had my fingerless gloves on shoes with no socks, and no jacket just something light. No big deal since the venue is ½ block from subway. Oh but wait!!! When I got there the line wrapped AROUND the block and I thought know way was I going to wait in this, but there I was 1.5 hours later moving at a slow painstaking crawl. About half way through the line someone comes out saying it’s going to be another 2-3 hours, so I left. However, it's exciting to know there was such a good turnout.  Anyway, while waiting in line all I could think of was being warm and eating something hot, I was so hungry. I must have been daydreaming about someplace exotic because I came up with this tropical pineapple tempeh burger. When I got home I dashed for the kitchen, made it and ate it!!!!

Burger can be a little messy with the guacamole, if you prefer less mess slice the avocado.

Here it is. Enjoy!

Tempeh can be found in the tofu section of your market and definitely health food stores.
What is tempeh can be found at the bottom of this post.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the pineapple and onions.

Marinade for Tempeh
2 tbsp Noma Shoyu or Tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove minced
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar

1.Combine all ingredients for marinade in a small bowl and mix well. Transfer to a wide shallow dish and set aside.

Ingredients for Tempeh
One package Tempeh
1 large white sweet  or purple onion sliced thin
Panko – simply means flaky bread crumbs
Unsweetened shredded coconut
Coconut milk – I use So Delicious
Coconut oil
Flour - I used spelt, and I’ve used whole wheat
Pineapple sliced
1 Avocado

1. Remove tempeh carefully from package and cut it in half so you have two rectangles, cut it again keeping the same shape so that you now have 4 thin layers. View image below.  Using a medium pot steam the tempeh in a  covered pot for 20 minutes - this removes the bitterness tempeh is known to have and allows for more absorption of the marinade.

2. Remove the tempeh from pot and quickly add to the marinade. Turn over about 6 times in a row until most of the marinade is absorbed - an hour of marinating time is sufficient.

Crust for Tempeh
Add the flour to a plate, and a wide bowl for the coconut milk and another plate  for the combined panko and shredded coconut . Coat the marinated tempeh on both sides with the flour, then dip both sides in the coconut milk and then in the coconut panko. Set on a plate and repeat the step with the other 3 pieces.

Lightly fry crusted tempeh both sides in 1 tbsp coconut oil until golden.  I like to fry two pieces at a time to avoiding crowding the pan. Use a spatula to press down on the tempeh while it’s cooking about 3 minutes on each side or until medium browned. Add more oil for the remainder pieces.

Onion, Pineapple, Avocado – you can do this step while the tempeh is marinating
Thinly slice onion and transfer to a large bowl, add coconut oil or olive oil enough to coat and mix well, add two pinches of sea salt and mix again. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Add four slices of pineapple to the same baking sheet with onions and bake for 15-20 minutes. Onions and pineapple should be soft. Remove and set aside.

Mash one avocado in a small bowl, add juice of one lime and pinch of sea salt, cover and set aside.

Toast 4 buns at 350 for 3 minutes

Toasted 7 grain bun
More avocado if you like or other sauce.

What is Tempeh
Source: Wikipidea
Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor which becomes more pronounced as it ages.[2][3] Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.


  1. I clicked over here from So Delicious' facebook page and am so glad I did! I've never heard of steaming tempeh and with a few adjustments for allergies this recipe would work for our family. Gorgeous photos by the way!

    1. oh that's so great! glad you were directed to this recipe and thanks for the compliment. Let me know how you like it!! It's a huge hit here.


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