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Vegan Tempeh Ragu With Spiralized Zucchini

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Leah is a follower of the 21 Day Fix. She works in mental health.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Cooking With Tempeh

I've been hearing a lot about tempeh lately. In an ongoing effort to incorporate less meat in my diet without sacrificing protein, I started to play around with meatless meals. This means trying out new foods that I could barely pronounce, let alone cook. Thus far, I've lucked out and had great success with my recipes. While shopping last week, I came across tempeh, and I decided to give it a shot.

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is made from soybeans that are fermented to form a solid, squishy block. It's got a texture similar to the sponginess of tofu, but with a nuttier flavor. If I had to explain it, I'd probably compare it to tofu with chopped peanuts. It has a sort of crunch incorporated in it. It's a very distinctive flavor, different than anything I've ever eaten before. Since I hadn't cooked with tempeh before, I also used an equal amount of Gardein beefless ground, which is a vegan substitute for ground beef.

Diced tempeh before cooking.

Diced tempeh before cooking.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

25 min

30 min

4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
  • 1 1/2 cups Gardein beefless ground, can use a second package of tempeh instead
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 leaves basil, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized


  1. Spiralize two zucchini squash. I used the ribbon attachment to get beautiful curls.
  2. Dice the tempeh into small pieces.
  3. Place the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and garlic. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the tempeh develops a nice golden color.
  4. Add the spices (oregano, thyme, chili powder, salt) and stir for about a minute.
  5. Pour the undrained cans of diced tomatoes into the skillet with water and nutritional yeast. Tear up the basil and add it to the mixture. I rolled up the leaves and cut them into tiny pieces with scissors.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally while the ragu thickens.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, spray a smaller skillet with cooking spray and sauté the zucchini curls on low heat for about 2 minutes, just to soften the zucchini a bit.
  8. Place 1/4 of the zucchini noodles on a plate, with 1/4 of the sauce. Top with additional nutritional yeast if desired.

21 Day Fix Container Counts

As written, this recipe provides the following container counts:

  • 1 red container
  • 2 green containers

If you top with anything else, or add more ingredients, make sure to account for them.


There's a lot you can do with this recipe. Here are some ideas I came up with. Let me know if you have any other ideas!

  • Pasta. This would also work well with pasta. I like to cook a bunch of pasta at once and freeze the leftovers. This way, I can just put the frozen pasta into a colander and run hot water over it until it's defrosted and warmed. If you're gluten-free, make sure to use a gluten-free pasta. This could also work well with rice.
  • Kosher options. I added cheese to the top of mine rather than more nutritional yeast (since I'm not vegan). I used some shredded mozzarella with a dash of grated Parmesan. Since I used a vegan protein source, I was able to use cheese. If I wanted to skip the cheese, I could have used ground beef or turkey.
  • Non-kosher. If you don't keep kosher, you've hit the jackpot. This recipe can be made with regular meat and cheese if you like. Ground beef, turkey, pork, bacon, anything you like. Let your imagination run wild!
  • Additional veggies. This recipe is ideal for extra vegetables. Some ideas are onions, mushrooms, diced zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, carrots, celery, or peas. Once again, feel free to use whatever you have handy.


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© 2018 Leah