Meatless Monday

Pan-Seared Tempeh in Thai Basil Cilantro Chile Paste Marinade

A couple of months ago I took a cooking class in the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. The main focus of the class was on the benefits of different herbs and spices and how to incorporate them in your daily cooking.

This recipe includes cilantro and basil. Cilantro has been a valued herb among healers for centuries. A major health benefit of cilantro is that it can help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while raising HDL or “good” cholesterol.  It is also has anti-inflammatory properties. Cilantro is rich in vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin A. Basil has many healing properties but perhaps its biggest benefit has to do with its antibacterial properties. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and also contains iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.





  • 2 ounces basil, stemmed
  • 1-ounce cilantro, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste
  • 3 (1/4 inch) slices ginger, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari


  • 2 (8oz.) packages tempeh, sliced ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup organic canola oil for pan searing


  1. Puree basil, cilantro, Thai chili paste, ginger, garlic, water and shoyu in blender. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a large plate or tray with paper towels for draining tempeh. Over medium heat, heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of a large saute pan. Brown both sides of the tempeh slices in batches, adding extra oil as needed. Sear each side until golden, approximately 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  3. Return all the tempeh to the pan. Add marinade. Simmer until liquid is almost evaporated.

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