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Tempeh Sausage & Heirloom Tomatoes over Black Pepper Cheezy Polenta


I had this whole big post about how adorably creepy my cats are but after reading it I realized it was a bad time to be completely candid about the little jerks I share my home with. See in about a month we’re going to be living in an apartment in a neighborhood that’s better for visiting and potlucks. If I want people to actually come to my parties… I probably shouldn’t be telling everyone how they like to peek in at me in the shower or how Percy likes to watch me sleep. I mean these two have no respect for personal space.

"I missed you while you were sleeping."
“I missed you while you were sleeping.”

So for the sake of future entertaining and merry-making – you’re just going to have to trust me these 2 are huge weirdos…like super creepsters. if they were X-men their super powers would be head booping someone while they’re trying to type and climbing into clothes while you’re trying to get dressed. Completely useless when battling Magneto & The Sentnials if you ask me.

So let’s just skip to the recipe! See we’re moving and I found a huge glass jar of corn meal in our cabinet that was begging to polenta-ed. I know a lot of folks already buy their polenta pre-made and that’s cool. Polenta requires about 45 minutes and constant attention to make right so I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to skip all that. But even though it takes awhile and requires lots of stirring, it is actually really simple. So I mapped out the steps below on how to make polenta from corn meal in this recipe but if you want to go with a pre-made product it can totally be swapped in and then this recipe becomes something you can make in like 15 minutes.

We used the Tempeh Sausage recipe from our Tempeh Sausage & Artichoke Lasagna recipe because honestly – I crave it on a weekly basis. A week without tempeh (especially prepared like this) is kinda like a day without a cat sitting on my shoulder like a pirate parrot purring in my ear. In other words – a total nightmare!

Tempeh Sausage & Heirloom Tomatoes over Black Pepper Cheezy Polenta

 Tempeh Sausage

1 8oz package 3 Grain Tempeh
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Amino Acids
1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
dashes liquid smoke
1 clove garlic-minced

Black Pepper Cheezy Polenta

4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup corn meal
2 pinches crushed black peppercorns
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Other Ingredients

1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1 large red onion, diced small
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (we used heirloom cherry tomatoes but you don’t have to)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized peices
1 cup raw baby spinach leaves
5 large fresh basil leaves, cut small

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients for the Tempeh Sausage in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let marinate while you make your Polenta.

In a Dutch oven or another large pot, bring 4 cups of water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Gradually add your corn meal to the boiling water using a whisk to blend it in. Try to break up any clumps you see start to form. Once all your corn meal is added, whisk in your pepper and nutritional yeast. Then move to stirring your Polenta with a wooden spoon, be sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the pot while you stir. You’re going to be stirring pretty much continually while your Polenta thickens for like 40-45 minutes. Sorry there are just some things even I can’t hack – per say. Polenta is a needy dish.

Once your Polenta is soft but firm – you’ll know what I mean, put a lid on top . Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your deepest skillet over a medium heat. Once your oil is hot, toss in your Tempeh Sausage mix, white wine, Braggs and onions and cook while mixing with a spatula until your tempeh has slightly crispy edges. Then toss your tomatoes and bell peppers in and let them cook for about 5 minutes, flipping them every once in a while to make sure they’re cooking evenly. Once your peppers are tender, mix in your spinach and basil leaves. Once they’re wilted, you’re done!

Serve your Tempeh Sausage & Heirloom Tomatoes over your Polenta – being sure to get some of the thin “sauce” on the bottom of the skillet.

9 thoughts on “Tempeh Sausage & Heirloom Tomatoes over Black Pepper Cheezy Polenta”

  • I have a question about one of the items in your sausage recipe. (I’ve been looking for something really yummy to make from tempeh!) Why use Liquid Amino Acids. Is it just to add protein to the recipe? Does it provide a flavor? I have never used it before and usually avoid purchasing extra ingredients that I can substitute with something I already have on hand.
    Thanks for your thoughts and recipes!

    • We use Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids for a bunch of reasons. Primarily for flavor – it adds a “beefy” savory flavor to the tempeh without using animal products and has less sodium than soy sauce and most tamari brands. Also having additional amino acids are good for vegans to work into their diet when they can but mostly we use it for flavor. We try not to use salt that often – especially when working with mock meats – so we use Bragg’s in a lot of our recipes to add that savory flavor enhancement a lot.

      You can always substitute Bragg’s with soy sauce or tamari.
      Hope that helps! Hope you like the recipe!

  • Made this tonight for me and a friend and it was a big hit, will make it again for sure! Ideal recipe for scaling up in a big household :P. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Get thee a pressure cooker. Polenta comes out AHMAZING in a PC with no stirring. Yes, you read correctly, no stirring.
    I use a Fagor 6 qt. from Amazon. I don’t remember the exact model name, but it has a purple lock. You’ll see it in the picture. Best $60 I ever spent.

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