This festive tropical coconut parmentier made with ginger marinated tempeh and grilled pineapple will bring a hint of exoticism to your plate!
This is part two of my Christmas Vegan Menu. If you subscribed to my newsletter, I warned you that this year Christmas wouldn’t be your traditional one. Not only because it’s vegan, but also because I played with exotic flavors with the idea to put some sun in your plate. And when you think about it, Christmas is not necessarily in winter depending on where you are on earth, so it kind of makes sense. I recently was in Mexico and it came as a (very nice) shock to see how hot the weather was there, only 3 hours away from Chicago.
In case you missed the first part, we started our Vegan Christmas Menu with some Caramelized Onions Polenta Bites, that comes as a starter or a mise en bouche. Today, I’m back with the second course of the menu, consisting of a tropical coconut parmentier. The idea here was to create a dish that would have the texture of meat, without the taste of course. And this is why I opted for tempeh.
Have you heard of tempeh before? Traditional soy product from Indonesia, tempeh is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. It has a high content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins, but also a firm texture (unlike tofu) and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of both its nutritional value and its texture, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.
I wanted this recipe to be gluten-free, so that it comes as an option to all gluten intolerant people as well. In its traditional fermented form, tempeh is made from soybeans and vinegar only, which would hypothetically make it gluten-free. However, most tempeh contains other grains with those soybeans, and those other grains are usually not gluten-free. So if you happen to be gluten intolerant, please read the ingredient and nutrition label carefully to make sure it is gluten free.
In this recipe, I made the choice of tempeh for the meaty texture, but I could have chosen other ingredients instead. Among them, seitan is probably the one that works the best and would give similar results. Be careful however, as seitan is not gluten free – it is indeed mainly made of gluten. One last ingredient I absolutely love since I tried it a couple of years ago is jackfruit, and it would indeed work pretty well in a parmentier recipe. I chose not to use it however, as I wanted the recipe to seem accessible to most of you, and I know that jackfruit is still hard to find in stores.
Here I simply marinated the tempeh, previously cut into tiny pieces, with a soy-ginger sauce involving garlic for extra taste. You can marinate it for one hour only if you don’t have too much time ahead, or let marinate over night for even better results. When you drain your vegan “meat” (i.e. tempeh), make sure you reserve the marinade, as you will use it again for the grilled pineapple slices. Then sauté the tempeh in a hot frying pan with oil, until you get a lovely golden color and crispy texture. In the end, it should look like chicken fillets.
To accompany this ginger tempeh, I prepared some mashed potatoes with coconut, taking inspiration from a delicious restaurant I tried in Mexico – Nectar, in Merida. As coconut milk/cream wouldn’t give enough results in terms of taste, I added some shredded coconut that I first pulsed into a food processor in order to get a thin sandy texture. It’s actually pretty easy and will definitely give a little kick to your mashed potatoes. Plus, coconut pairs beautifully with pineapple, giving this dish a lovely exotic flavor.
Note here that I used some cookie cutter to plate the dish in a lovely fancy way. You do not necessarily need to do so. Instead, you can simply make it look like a gratin, starting with a first layer of pineapple, topping with the ginger tempeh, with a thick and generous layer of coconut mashed potatoes on top. I recommend to serve this dish with a side of greens, such as mâche salad with a French vinaigrette. Enjoy and get ready for part 3 of this Vegan Christmas menu on Friday!
- 4-8 large pineapple slices (fresh or canned)
- 1 package (8 oz/225g) tempeh*, cut into bite sized pieces
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2,2 lb (1 kg) potatoes
- ½ can coconut milk, cream only
- 4 Tbsp shredded coconut flakes, powdered
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
- For the marinated tempeh: place tempeh in a glass bowl. Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic cloves and ginger in a smaller bowl. Pour over tempeh and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum, turning once.
- For the mashed potatoes: cook the potatoes in a large amount of water with salt until fork tender. Drain, mash, and add the coconut cream (the harder part of coconut milk). Pulse coconut flakes in a food processor until you get a sandy texture and add to the mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
- Drain the tempeh and keep the marinade.
- For the pineapple: line a baking tray with parchment paper. Display the pineapple slices, brush with the remaining marinade, and grill at 400 F for about 5-8 minutes, until golden. Flip it over and grill the over side. Remove from the oven and reserve.
- Heat sesame oil in a frying pan and once hot, throw in the tempeh, and sauté until brown and slightly crispy.
- Using a cookie cutter, place one pineapple slice at the bottom, top with the tempeh and cover with coconut mashed potato. Enjoy!
NB: choose carefully your tempeh if you are gluten intolerant, to make sure yours is gluten free.