December 15, 2016

But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan: review and recipe for Maple-Miso Tempeh Cutlets

Printed by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

So, vegans, have you ever had a friend tell you they would love to invite you for dinner but they have no idea what they could make? What they don't realize, is a lot of us feel the same way about them. We agonize over what vegan dishes we can make to appeal to our non-vegan family and friends. I feel pretty lucky that my non-vegan dinner guests have been extremely accepting (or at least they are good liars!) of my vegan cooking, but I still spend a lot of time thinking about what foods would be most appealing. If you're always trying to come up with tasty vegan foods for omnivorous guests, Kristy Turner has a solution for you. Her new cookbook, But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan, 125 Recipes to Win Everyone Over is filled with recipes meant to delight the non-vegan eater. Of course, we vegans benefit from her creativity, too! Not only are the recipes satisfying, the book itself is a beauty. It's easy to read, and filled with gorgeous photos by Kristy's husband, Chris. Follow my link to and 'look inside the book' for a generous preview of Kristy's compendium of general cooking-related information, as well as many of her recipes. Then order a copy for your bookshelf!

Photo credit: Andrea Zeichner

I sampled four recipes when I received my copy. The first one I tried was Kung Pao Cauliflower. I was craving Chinese food, and Kristy's version of Kung Pao "chicken" was mighty appealing. After enjoying the dish myself, I can easily see serving it to family; I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It's supposed to have green onion strands beautifying the dish as a garnish, but unfortunately, I took the photo before remembering to add the onions, so just picture it delicately graced with green onions. Delish!

Photo credit: Andrea Zeichner

The next recipe to catch my attention was Mushroom-Kale Skillet Hash. The end result was toothsome, but I had a bit of a problem following the directions for this one. The potatoes kept sticking to the pan, and refused to crisp up, even though I turned the heat down and added a splash of broth, as directed. They also took forever to soften — maybe I had mutant potatoes. I eventually decided to cook the kale in a separate pan and add it to the potatoes after they were finally cooked, because it didn't look like there was any way the kale would soften in that potato-filled pan. It all worked out in the end, and although I ran into a bit of trouble during the preparation, we definitely loved the final result.

Photo credit: Andrea Zeichner

My next delicious recipe adventure was Chinese Chickpea Salad. I may have taken a few liberties with some of the salad ingredients, but nothing major. It looks like I added some arugula, and used peanuts instead of almonds — and the original recipe was topped with crumbled rice crackers, which I didn't have. However, the basic idea of crunchy salad with cabbage, toasted chickpeas and miso-ginger dressing is what matters, and it was perfect.

Photo credit: Andrea Zeichner

The last dish I'll show you is Maple-Miso Tempeh Cutlets — I've even got the recipe to share. Tempeh is one of those foods that some people, even vegans, don't like, but, if there's one tempeh recipe that might tempt the recalcitrant, this may be it. It was wonderful the day I made it, and great the next day as cold leftovers. I'm thinking of bringing it to a family dinner this weekend. Either this or the Chinese Chickpea Salad — or both! Do you have a favorite dish to make when cooking for non-vegan family and friends?

Kristy and her publisher have allowed me to share a recipe with you, and I've chosen the fabulous Miso-Maple Tempeh Cutlets. I hope you'll try it. As I mentioned earlier in the post, you can see more of Kristy's recipes by looking at her book on Amazon.

Photo credit: Chris Miller. Printed by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.
Maple-Miso Tempeh Cutlets
Serves 4// Prep Time: 5 Minutes // Active Time: 20 Minutes // Inactive Time: 20 Minutes
Though it would be nice if the whole family were cool with you replacing the turkey or ham or whatever poor animal has to be the centerpiece of the holiday meal with something vegan, that’s not likely to happen. Not right away, at least. What we always do is bring along a vegan main dish that’s just for us (and the other vegans/vegetarians at the gathering). The rest of the family can still have their traditional main dish and you don’t have to sacrifice your lifestyle choice. Although I could bring a store-bought faux meat dish, I like to bring something homemade (I’m going to get far fewer jokes about some tempeh than if I’m heating up a “tofurkey”). These tasty tempeh cutlets, glazed in a savory maple-miso sauce, are best enjoyed the day they’re prepared. If you need to prepare them somewhat in advance, steam the tempeh and prepare the sauce so that all you need to do on the day of is cook the cutlets in the sauce.
  • Two 8-ounce (225 g) packages tempeh ¼ cup (60 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) liquid aminos (or gluten-free tamari)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons white soy miso (or chickpea miso)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Chop each tempeh block in half horizontally, then chop each half diagonally so you
    have eight triangles. 
  2. Fill a large shallow saucepan with a couple of inches of water and fit with a stea
    mer basket. Place the tempeh triangles in the steamer basket and cover with a lid. Bring to a
    boil, then reduce to a simmer. Steam the tempeh for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the triangles once halfway through. Remove the steamer basket from the pan (keep the tempeh in the basket) and set aside. 
  3. Dump the water from the saucepan. Combine the vegetable broth, liquid aminos, maple syrup, miso, sage, and thyme in the pan and stir to mix. Add the tempeh triangles
  4. and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let the tempeh simmer in the sauce for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping them once halfway through, until the sauce is absorbed and starts to caramelize. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
For a killer Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich, slice one of the triangles width-wise so
that you have two thinner triangles. Use those in the sandwich.

Credit: Recipe from But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!: 125 Recipes to Win Everyone Over 
© Kristy Turner, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review. All opinions are my own. The blog post contains Amazon links.


  1. I must admit that I wrote thus one off initially based on the title, being that I have no family to cook for and am well beyond the newbie vegan stage, but those recipes do look really good! You won me over- I'll have to give it a good look through now, even though I'm trying hard not to buy more cookbooks for the time being. Exceptions can be made!

    1. It would be a great book for new vegans trying to cook for family and friends, but I found a lot of great recipes that will probably become long-term favorites.

  2. Everything looks great! Love any crunchy cabbage salad - especially with peanuts. Also I'm planning on making chickpea cutlets for the holidays, I wonder if temeph cutlets would be any less labor intensive. Probably, although I feel like the chickpeas are still the tastier option...

    1. Chickpea cutlets are a great choice, even if they are more labor intensive, though I have to say, the tempeh was delicious. I'll definitely be making it again.

  3. So many new, amazing cookbooks available right now, this one looks like a keeper. I would have picked the same dishes as you, especially the chinese salad and tempeh cutlets. I always take liberties with recipes, it's just how I am. :-)

    1. I just made the Chinese salad again today to take to a family dinner. It's fabulous. This time I actually used red cabbage and Napa cabbage (couldn't find them last time!) and the salad looks even more beautiful. I'm still using peanuts instead of almonds, fresh daikon instead of water chestnuts, fresh clementines instead of canned mandarins, and no crushed rice cakes. And I did a slight variation on the dressing. Oh, and roasted the chickpeas instead of woking them. Ha. I guess we share the recipe tinkerer trait!

  4. That is so true! I really fuss over the meals I make for non-vegans, because I don't want them to have a bad experience and bias them against veg food forever... These dishes look really good! I'll definitely check out the book. There's always room for more delicious cookbooks on my bookshelf! :-)

    1. I think I always worried about what to cook for guests even before I was vegan. Being vegan just adds one more layer to the decision of what to prepare. It's nice to have a good guide to help with the menu.

  5. I've had my eye on this book! I've always wanted to try those cauliflowers. Thanks for the review x

    1. You're welcome! The Kung pay cauliflower was delicious.


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