Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Layered Tempeh Loaf

3 red peppers, destemmed, deseeded, and cut into quarters lengthwise
olive oil
2 - 8 oz. pkgs. tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. garlic, minced
1 - 10 oz. pkg. spinach, triple washed, destemmed, and roughly chopped
3 cups water
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein) granules
1 cup rolled oats
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
3 T. nutritional yeast flakes

Place the red peppers, skin side up, on a cookie sheet. Using your fingers, coat the skins with a little of the olive oil. Place the peppers under the broiler and broil for several minutes or until the skin has charred and blackened. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, place the peppers in a brown bag, and allow them to cool in the bag for 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag, remove and discard the blackened skins, place the peppers on a plate, and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the cubes of tempeh in a steam basket, and steam the tempeh for 20 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the steamer basket and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Using your fingers, crumble the tempeh into small pieces, place it in a small bowl, and set aside. In a non-stick skillet, saute the onion in olive oil, for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the onion mixture to a plate, and set aside. In the same skillet, place the roughly chopped spinach, cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted, transfer to a plate, and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the water, tamari, ketchup, and peanut butter, and bring to a boil. In a large bowl, place the TVP, oats, basil, oregano, thyme, and pepper, and stir well to combine. Pour the hot tamari mixture over the TVP mixture, stir well to combine, and set aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Add the crumbled tempeh, sauteed onion mixture, flour, parsley, and nutritional yeast flakes, stir well to combine, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. To assemble each meatless loaf: place 3 cups of the tempeh-TVP mixture in the prepared loaf pan. Press it firmly to cover the bottom and sides of the pan, cover with 1/4 of the roasted red peppers, evenly layer half of the wilted spinach, cover with another 1/4 of the roasted peppers, top with another 2 cups of the tempeh-TVP mixture, and press down slightly to pack the layers down.

Repeat the procedure for the remaining loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until heated through and browned on top. Allow the loaves to sit in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them on to a large plate or platter, and slice each loaf into 8 pieces with a sharp knife.

*Leftover slices make an excellent sandwich filling.

Yield: Two 9x5x3-inch loaves or 16 slices


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