Thursday, December 10, 2009


If you were vegetarian before you became gluten free, one rude awakening must have been that you could no longer pop into the grocery store for some of your old meat substitutes. Trader Joe vegetarian meatballs, Morningstar Farms sausages, Boca Burgers and other wheat-gluten-based treats are now off your radar. But don't despair. 

Teach yourself about the versatility of tempeh, and much if not all your nostalgia will disappear. Tempeh is a fermented soybean product originally developed in Indonesia, and often combined with wild rice or grains. Be careful that these grains are gluten-free; some are not. It is usually found in the refrigerator section (though it freezes very well) of your grocery, in approximately 4"x8" plastic packages. 

Many recipes direct you to slice the tempeh, marinate it and then grill or saute it, which is often wonderful. The following recipe addresses some serious wheat gluten nostalgia: faux meatballs. It's shown with julienned zucchini instead of pasta, adding another healthy aspect to this delicious dish.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.



8oz tempeh

1 c cooked millet

1 1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

2 egg whites

2T gluten free Worcestershire sauce

1T oregano

2T chopped parsley

2T gluten free all-purpose flour, or as needed

salt and pepper to taste


Saute crumbled tempeh with onions and herbs in pan sprayed with olive oil, at low heat, until onions are translucent.

Beat egg whites with olive oil.

Combine egg and oil with millet and tempeh mixture.

Form one-inch balls.

If the balls seem too loose, add a bit of gluten-free flour.

Bake, turning to evenly brown, on sprayed baking sheet for approximately 15 minutes.


Serve over spaghetti squash, zucchini spaghetti or gluten-free pasta.

Top with grated cheese

Makes 30 non-meat balls


sea said...

Yum! The tempeh balls sound lovely, and a great combo with the zucchini noodles.


G.F.Veg said...

thanks! i havent made them in a while and i probably should do a bunch. esp over zucchini noodles, nothing for me to feel guilty (the normal state of a carboholic!) about!

Anonymous said...

Just found this recipe via a search: have you ever tried freezing these? My big challenge with GF recipes is not having the easy option of just defrosting something quickly...

G.F.Veg said...

yes i have frozen them. but i was too rough with them. i just threw them in a freezer bag in my very crowded freezer. some survived, some fell apart. next time i'm putting them in a square plastic container and lining them up like eggs. they should be fine. have you seen my burgers? i freeze them all the time! look under PROTEIN BURGERS on the right sidebar of the page. i also freeze lasagna in individual packages and my fiesta casserole the same way. the microwave is my friend!

Unknown said...

Can you offer some brand names for gf tempeh?

G.F.Veg said...

the main thing is not have a tempeh package that says barley anywhere on it. that is usually the culprit. i will check around for you. one thing i know is that i never find tempeh i can eat at my trader joe--very frustrating!!

Kathryn said...

How do you make the zucchini noodles?

Lisa Konstandt said...

Any gluten free tempeh brand suggestions?

Donald Walker said...

Thanks for sharing. The vegetarian people who are suffering from gluten intolerance can choose this food.

Jeffrey Heeder said...

What brand tempeh are you using in this recipe? Not all tempeh is gluten free.