Spaghetti with Garlicky Swiss Chard & Crumbly Golden Tempeh

Maybe it’s the pretty colors, or perhaps just its reliable presence at the farmer’s market, but I am consistently drawn to swiss chard. I love its texture and depth of flavor, and the way it always feels a little more unexpected than, say, spinach or kale. (Of course take a quick scroll through my recipe index and you can see very clearly that I have major love for those two as well.) Here I’ve combined chard with spaghetti and golden pan-fried tempeh to make a dish that’s earthy, garlicky, and straight up delicious. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.

12-oz spaghetti, capellini, or pasta of choice
1 8-oz package of tempeh, cut into bite-size pieces
¼ tsp garlic powder
olive oil
red pepper flakes
sea salt and black pepper
3 to 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch of swiss chard, ends trimmed, stalks and leaves chopped separately
½ vegetable broth (I’ve been using the organic vegetable Better Than Bouillon), divided

  • First, steam your tempeh. Place tempeh in a bowl with about an inch of water, cover, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Alternatively, place in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over high heat until boiling, then cover with lid, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  • Drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium. When hot, add tempeh and season with garlic powder, salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Use a wooden spoon to mix and break up the pieces of tempeh. You’re going for crumbly here. Then let cook, without touching for about 3 minutes, til it starts to get golden. Warning: you may want to use a splatter guard here (or a lid tilted on its side). Stir/turn pieces over, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove tempeh from skillet and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. If it finishes before everything else is ready, toss the drained pasta with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  • Drizzle some more olive oil into the skillet and add garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in chopped chard stems and ½ cup of vegetable broth. Cover, turn up head to medium-high, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and remaining ½ cup vegetable broth and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Add the pasta to the chard mixture, sprinkle on the tempeh, drizzle with a little more olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix everything together. Serve.

Yield: About 4-5 servings


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