janet @ the taste space

Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce

In Mains (Vegetarian) on February 1, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Not only have I been craving cabbage, but I have also been on a sesame/tahini kick lately.

It all started when I basically made my own tahini with freshly roasted sesame seeds to go with sauteed spinach for Terry’s oshitashi recipe (Sesame Wow Greens). So good, yet so simple.

Then, I discovered tahini heaven. I had heard that tahini could taste so good that one could eat it straight from the jar. Not so with my previous brand. But now I am a tahini-convert after spreading my way through Prince’s tahini: smooth, rich and creamy with a deep sesame flavour. I love it! I want to eat it with everything! I honestly wonder if I should try out Deb’s Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad again (I found it too bitter the first time) because my tahini was probably at fault.

This time, I went heavy with the tahini. I spotted this recipe in The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East (recipe here) and thought 1/3 cup of tahini would be great simmered with tempeh and green beans. I liked it but it wasn’t as sesame heavy as I was anticipating. The dressing, of course, also had lemon juice, broth, tamari and mirin, creating a more complex flavour palate. Nice and light, and quite soupy, too, and easy to put together. The tempeh was a bit more meaty and juicy because I pre-steamed it, dry-fried it to lock in the shape and then simmered in the sesame broth. The green beans were a perfect match. Serve with quinoa so that you can savour this down to the last drop of sauce. 🙂

Barring hummus, what is your favourite way to use tahini?

Here are some other tahini recipes I’ve had my eye on:

Miso Tahini Magic Sauce from Fresh Young Coconut
Smoky Red Pepper, Chickpea and Tahini Dressing from Choosing Raw
Miso Sesame Dressing from Choosing Raw
Low-Fat Tahini-Chickpea Dressing from Fat Free Vegan
Orange-Miso-Tahini Gravy from My New Roots
Carrot Ginger Tahini Soup from Kahakai Kitchen
Beet, Tahini and Pomegranate Dip (Mama Dall’ou’ah) from Taste of Beirut
Roasted Carrot Hummus from Enlightened Cooking
Tofu Tahini Scramble from Choosing Raw
Burnt Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegrante from Ottolenghi
Noodles with a Lemon-Miso-Tahini Sauce from ExtraVeganZa
Tangy Tahini Noodles with Tempeh and Vegetables from Julia’s Vegan Kitchen
Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles from Vegan Yum Yum
Creamy Kale Soup with Tahini from Vegan Yum Yum
Quinoa Pilaf with Spiced Miso Tahini Sauce from Sweet Potato Soul
Spinach, Chickpea and Tahini Soup from Soup Chick

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chris, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, and to this month’s Veggie/Fruit A Month featuring lemons.

Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce

8 ounces tempeh
2 1/4 cups water, divided
2 tbsp tamari, divided
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed off
1/3 cup tahini
3/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Sesame seeds, for garnish

1. Begin by steaming your tempeh: Place the tempeh in a microwave-safe dish with half a cup of water. Cover it with a lid and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Drain any excess water.  Slice the tempeh into 4-8 cutlets.

2. While the tempeh is steaming, prepare your marinade: place 1/4 cup of water,  1 Tbsp of tamari, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, and the mirin in a shallow dish and whisk well.  Add the tempeh, mix well with the marinade and allow to sit for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally.

3. Place the sesame oil in a large sauté pan (I used a large wok) over medium high heat. Add the tempeh and the contents of the shallow dish, and cook for 5 minutes, gently turning with a spatula to flip occasionally. Add the green beans and 1 cup of water, and cook until almost all of the water is dissolved and the green beans are a vibrant green, approximately 7 minutes, gently stirring frequently.

4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp tamari, and 2 tbsp lemon juice and gently stir well. Add the tahini, stir well and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if necessary and adjust the salt to taste.

5. Garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds before serving. Serve with quinoa (or your favourite grain) to sop up all the extra sauce!

Serves 4.

  1. I’ve been craving tempeh lately, and this is good reason to make some! What a grounding and savory recipe.

    Thanks for the link love! The dressings and scramble all get consistently positive reviews.

  2. Can you buy this tahini online? I can’t find it any where.

  3. How I love tahini! I, too, can eat it right out of the jar. It’s also good just drizzled on hot beans or grains. Your dish (and all the ones you link to) look fabulous. One of the things I do with tahini regularly is make a very simple sauce with 1 part miso, 3 parts tahini, and as much water as creates the texture I like. This is a great salad dressing, or a dip, and goes well with pretty much any simple vegetable, bean, or grain dish. Some of your links use this basic concept, but the basic recipe is also worth a try. Plus it takes 2 seconds to make with ingredients you’re almost always going to have on hand, and it lasts forever in the refrigerator. If you’re really just starting to experiment with it, you’re in for a very tasty tahini adventure!

  4. Lovely as always. I want to make everything you come up with.

  5. I’m a tahini freak. I love it so much that I’ll only eat hummus if the tahini flavor is INTENSE. I totally think you should re-try Deb’s recipe..it’s one of my favorites!

    I can’t wait to try this and some of the others that you listed!

  6. GROSS! your recipes are always disgusting. heres a good recipe!:



  7. Wow, there are so many great sounding recipes linked up here! I always have tahini around and use it for a variety of things, not that I can remember any of them now 😉 One of my favorite middle eastern dishes is fish baked in a tahini sauce. And I have a recipe on my blog somewhere for roasted eggplant and tahini soup, yum! I do think you should give the butternut/chickpea salad another shot, that recipe is fantastic! (And I pinned yours – it sounds great as well!)

  8. I always meant to try that warm butternut and chickpea salad but never did, thanks for reminding me! This tempeh bean dish looks so good. I just bought some tempeh bacon that I really enjoyed and want/need to give tempeh another chance. This preparation method sounds so good. As for tahini, I don’t really care that much for it but maybe I’m just not getting a good brand!

    • Hey Ashley, The tahini brand totally makes a difference… although now I wonder if it is because this is could possibly be roasted tahini. I have tried so many tahinis, nincluding the expensive organic ones, the tried-and-true Lebanese ones, and even the homemade ones from health food stores.. I didn’t like any of them as much as this one and I picked it up on a random whim… 😉

      But tempeh, that needs some special love. I have a sandwich on the blog that Rob (CAT food sandwich or something) and that was really good. However, it is much drier as leftovers which is not so fun.. but it kind of reminds of Matthew’s Delicious Tofu so I think you would like it!

  9. Oh and I think I’ve tried the noodles with lemon-miso sauce from extraveganza, and if it’s the one I’m thinking of it was quick and good. 🙂

  10. OMG looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it out tonight.

  11. In the summer time when I have cucumbers coming out of my ears I cut them up with a little onion and make a tahini sauce, basically tahini, water, salt and lemon juice. It’s super tasty and refreshing on a hot afternoon.

  12. Ooooh! Thanks for such a tempting recipe with tempeh. I am always looking for a way to prepare it. This is perfect for WHB! And, thanks for the links. It will be fun clicking though.

    The WHB round up should be up soon!

  13. […] Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce from Janet (The Taste Space) […]

  14. Definitely try the butternut squash and chickpea salad again – I think it is great! I’m bookmarking this post, both for your recipe and all the great ones you’ve linked. I’ve been meaning to cook more with miso, and so many of the recipes include it!

  15. […] then the other day, I received the most odd comment. I honestly thought it was spam, but there was no link to a website. So, I hit accept and posted a […]

  16. […] is this uber delicious tahini balsamic dressing that I spotted at Choosing Raw. I am loving all things tahini lately and balsamic remains one of my favourite vinegars, so I was eager to try out her […]

  17. […] can get boring. I would probably pick green beans. While I have made some great dishes with them, I don’t find them that versatile. Zucchini, on the other, doesn’t taste like much, but […]

  18. […] Sesame Wow Greens, a spin on oshitashi – so simple, yet a delicious way to eat spinach. I should try it with chard and kale, too. […]

  19. […] them. If you don’t like leafy greens altogether, I suggest trying this similar dish which is Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce. It is a bit more lemony but still very […]

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