Just before I decided to go vegan about 7 years ago I was eating tons of hot wings. I just really liked them, I loved how they tasted, but at the same time I knew each chicken only had two wings and seeing huge piles of them on plates or in baskets just made me feel so sad…even though for a while I kept eating them despite this internal conflict. But eventually (after watching tons of documentaries on Netflix… first Food Inc. followed by Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and anything else I could find about food and farm animals) I just couldn’t handle the guilt I felt over eating those tiny little wings. So, inspired my love of both animals and hot wings I started making these Buffalo Tempeh Nuggets. For 7 years I have made these for all kinds of people; meat lovers, tempeh haters, health nuts, and picky eaters. They all love them, but my recipe has always been time intensive and required dirtying a lot of dishes. But yesterday I made a marvelous discovery and figured out how to cut the prep time by quite a bit, create way less of a mess to clean up, and make them taste even better than they always have! This isn’t what I would consider a health food but it’s so much better for you than nuggets made out of chickens and such a delicious alternative for anyone who wants to make compassionate choices when it comes to food. They are hot and spicy, crispy, hearty, and filling. Dip them in some vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing to satisfy a nostalgic craving (I just finally got to try the Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressings made by Daiya and was blown away by how thick, creamy, and accurate both of the flavors are).
- 3 oz. block organic tempeh (for this recipe I prefer Lightlife’s original, flax, or garden veggie tempeh but any brand will work fine)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- spray oil (optional)
- 1/3 cup hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or Texas Pete)
- 1/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set to the side.
- The easiest way to unwrap the tempeh is to just cut it in half directly through the wrapper. It should now easily slide out and you’re now left with two squares or rectangles of tempeh. Cut each of these into 4 quarters, then each of those quarters into two triangles. Should end up with 16 triangles.
- Boil the tempeh for 10 minutes in a medium-sized pot of lightly salted water.
- In a small-medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, garlic, and pepper with a fork. Add the almond milk and stir to create a batter.
- When the tempeh has boiled for 10 minutes, pour off the hot water and cover in cold water. Let the tempeh sit until cool enough to handle. Once the tempeh bites aren’t too hot, take each one out of the pot one at a time and squeeze out the water like a sponge with one firm handclasp.
- Dip each piece first in batter, letting the excess drip off, before rolling in breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 12 minutes on parchment lined baking sheet. Flip each one and set the timer for 12 more minutes.
- While waiting for tempeh nuggets to brown in the oven make the buffalo sauce by melting the Earth Balance buttery spread over low heat using the same pot you already have out from boiling the tempeh (with the water dumped out of course). When the buttery spread has melted, remove from heat, add the hot sauce and whisk together.
- Toss each tempeh nugget (one or two at a time) in the buffalo sauce, making sure to completely cover the entire surface area. Pour any extra sauce over the top of the nuggets.
- Serve with vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing to dip in with celery and carrot sticks on the side! Yum!
- If you need clarification on how to cut the tempeh or get it out of the shrink-wrapped packaging it often comes in, refer to pictures below.
- When tossing the tempeh nuggets in the buffalo sauce, try not to let them sit in the sauce for too long or the breading will loose its crispiness.