In case you didn’t know, my last name is Libutti. It is my married name, but that doesn’t change the fact that whenever Italian food is concerned, I’d better BRING IT. My husband grew up with “gravy” (what they call marinara sauce) on everything, and his favorite dish was his grandmother’s chicken parm. I had the idea of switching out the chicken for sliced tempeh and I started messing around with the recipe last week.
It was one of those very few, but awesome times where it came out perfectly right away and my husband inhaled the first batch in less than 5 minutes. Of course since it came out great the first time I wanted to challenge myself a little more, the tempeh slices were battered and then fried in oil in a pan then transferred to the oven. I wanted to see if we could skip the frying in oil part to make it healthier and after a few rounds of testing I figured out that the broiler did the trick with just a small spray of oil! This dish would even make Grandma ‘Butti proud, I hope you guys love it too!
Grandma’s Tempeh Parmesan
2 8oz packages of tempeh, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 overflowing cup of vegan Mozzarella, (melting tip: let the cheese sit out on the counter for an hour or two to let it get to room temp, or you can always microwave it for a couple of seconds at a time until it warms up a bit but keep an extremely close eye on it so it doesn’t melt in the microwave!)
3 tbs follow your heart veganegg mixed into 1 cup ice cold water
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
½ cup vegan grated parmesan
1 25oz jar marinara sauce (if you’re having pasta with this, you’re going to need 1 ½-2 jars, or if you’re feeling up to it, make your own!)
¼ cup fresh basil
Pasta of your choice
Arrange your oven rack in the upper middle part of your oven, it should be about 3 inches away from the heating element. Turn the broiler on high.
Place the flour on a plate, the vegan egg on a plate or bowl, and combine the parmesan and the breadcrumbs on another plate.
Dredge each piece of tempeh in the flour, dunk it in the egg, and then roll it around in the parmesan/breadcrumb mixture, then place on a clean baking sheet in one layer. (Tip: I used the casserole dish I’m using later to bake it in, I just rinsed it out afterwards) Repeat with all tempeh. Spray the top of all of the tempeh with some cooking oil
Place broiler-safe baking pan in the oven and preheat for 1 minute
Remove the pan from the oven and working quickly (but carefully!) place the tempeh, sprayed side down, on the sheet, then spray the top with oil as well, and place back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the top is browned. Remove from the oven, flip all pieces over, and broil 5 minutes.
While the tempeh is broiling, pour the jar of marinara sauce into a medium-sized pot and warm over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the oven, turn the broiler off, and turn the oven to 425 degrees. You’re going to need to keep the door open for about 5 minutes or so so it cools down faster.
Once the marinara sauce is warmed, pour it into a baking dish, place the tempeh into the warmed marinara, flip to coat, sprinkle it all evenly with the mozzarella, and once your oven is down to 425 degrees bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you want to have this over pasta, go ahead and make it now. (Tip: If you need help to melt the cheese you can turn the broiler on again for a minute or so) Enjoy! Don’t forget to tag me in your photos on Instagram so I can share!