Vegetarianized Recipe: Tempeh Piccata


I don’t cook with tempeh a lot so I resolved to try it out. Tempeh tends to have more calories than other faux meats, but it’s packed with a protein punch. This recipe is a vegetarianized version of chicken or veal piccata. A beautifully delicate lemon-caper sauce lightly dressing a triangle of sage-cornmeal-encrusted tempeh. Serve over buttered egg noodles or salad, or even use as a sandwich filler!

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Adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Times, March 2005
Servings: 6
Time: Less than 30 minutes active and total

For the Piccata Sauce:
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large or 4 medium)
2 cups dry white wine (I used Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend, but you could also use Sauvignon Blanc)
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed well
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

For the Tempeh Triangles:
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

1. Make the sauce: Add garlic to a small pot heating over medium heat. Saute constantly for about 20-30 seconds. Do not let it burn! Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch. Cook about 10 minutes and do not boil. Stir in dissolved cornstarch and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Make the tempeh: While the sauce is cooking you can start on the tempeh. Whisk together the soymilk and mustard in a shallow dish. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sage, salt and pepper in a second shallow dish.

3. Lay each tempeh piece flat in landscape format and cut vertically into three equal portions. Then cut each square on a hard diagonal into two pieces. In the end you should have 12 pieces.

4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Dip six of the triangles into the soymilk mixture then dredge in the flour mixture. Add to the skillet and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes. If the pan gets dry, spray the triangles with cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining extra virgin olive oil and tempeh.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.