Tempeh Marsala is fancy enough to impress any dinner party guests, but it comes together quickly enough that it also makes a great weeknight meal. This easy vegan recipe only takes about half an hour to make.
Vegan Chicken Marsala
Anything chicken can do, tempeh can do better! At least that’s my motto in the kitchen. This recipe was originally inspired by a non-vegan recipe I came across in a magazine.
Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish that's made with chicken cutlets, mushrooms, and garlic or shallots along with marsala wine. Traditional Italian versions of the dish aren't served with pasta, but American versions usually are.
In this vegan version, tempeh cutlets are used instead of chicken. I like to serve it over brown rice or mashed potatoes.
Marsala is a fortified wine that's often used in cooking. It has a sweet flavor with hints of brown sugar and vanilla. I've found both sweet and dry versions at the store, and I prefer to use the dry variety in this recipe. A bottle of it is around $10, and it lasts a while. Just store it in the fridge if you're going to have an bottle open for longer than a month. Madeira wine can also be used.
Cooking with Tempeh
Tempeh is a fermented soy bean patty that originated in Indonesia. Because it's fermented, it can have discolored spots that almost look moldy. It's perfectly safe to eat, though. Some people say that the fermented flavor of tempeh bothers them, but I've never had a problem with it myself. If that's it bothers you, simply steam it for a few minutes before cooking it or simmer it in a bath of vegetable stock for about half an hour before adding using it in the recipe.
Some tempeh makes mix grains in with the soy beans to add a little texture. If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your tempeh isn't made with barley or wheat berries.
Tempeh can usually be found in the same area of the grocery store as tofu, which is usually the produce are or the refrigerated section.
Making Tempeh Marsala
The first think you want to do to make Tempeh Marsala is to cut your tempeh. I cut my blocks in half so that I have two squares. And then I cut it into thin slabs by carefully slicing though the center, as if I were slicing a roll or bagel.
If the tempeh sticks to the pan as you're cooking it, you can add water to stock a few tablespoons at a time. It will absorb the liquid as it cooks, so you can add up to half a cup.
I cook my tempeh and mushrooms in two different pans to cut down on cooking time. If you only have one pan, you can cook the tempeh and mushrooms separately. First cook the tempeh and then place it in a warm over to keep it hot. Then cook the mushrooms in the same pan.
Tempeh Marsala Can Be Made in Just a Few Easy Steps!
- First, cook the tempeh.
- While the tempeh is cooking, cook the onion in another pan. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan and cook a little longer.
- Then, add the wine, stock, and cornstarch to the pan, bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until it reduces by about half.
- To serve, pour the mushroom and wine sauce over the tempeh and garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
If you're meal prepping and cooking your food ahead of time, store the tempeh and mushroom sauce separately. When stored together, the tempeh will absorb the sauce in the fridge.
I like to serve my Temeph Marsala with greens and cooked brown rice. It's also great over pasta or mashed potatoes.
- 2 8-ounce packages tempeh
- 2 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil divided
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound white button or baby bella mushrooms sliced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup marsala wine
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 2 tablespoons parsley or chives chopped, optional
- 4 cups cooked brown rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta for serving, optional
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives or parsley chopped, for serving
- Slice the tempeh in half so you have two square-ish pieces. Then carefully slice each of those squares in half through the thinnest side, kind of like slicing a roll or bagel.
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of the oil along with the tempeh slices. When the tempeh beings to brown, flip the slices. It will be ready when it’s golden brown and a little crispy on both sides. If the tempeh sticks to the pan, you can add a little vegetable stock or water.
- While the tempeh is cooking, cook the mushrooms. Add the remaining oil to another large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the onions for several minutes, until they become translucent start to brown slightly. Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt, and thyme and continue cooking until the mushrooms have started to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the cornstarch in the stock and add it to the pan along with the wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the liquid has thickened and reduced by about half.
- Serve the tempeh marsala by pouring the sause over the tempeh cuts, and serve on top of the cooked brown rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta, if using. Garnish with parsley or chives.