As a Jersey girl, I grew up on chicken cacciatore and this vegan version is bringing me right back. Spicy and a bit saucy, this Spicy Vegan Tempeh Cacciatore is the perfect plant based dinner that practically tastes like your Italian grandma made it. This is quick, easy, extra colorful, super flavorful, and so delicious. The perfect dinner to serve any night of the week.
In the depths of winter, a meal like this excites me.
Because if there is one time of year that we crave saucy goodness, it is the cold depths of January. I always end up making warm stews and soups to try and help me get through this difficult time in my existence. Even this dish, however, takes the cake from me because it brings me right back to Jersey.
Bet you didn’t know this side of me, did ya?
One of my absolute favorite things to eat growing up came from the local pizza shop near my house. My mama and I would go and I would ALWAYS order the chicken cacciatore wrap with a side of fries. This wrap had juicy, saucy chicken with warm bell peppers and plenty of cheese. Heck yes!
So now that I no longer eat a lot of cheese and chicken, I have decided I needed a vegan version of chicken cacciatore in my life. This Spicy Vegan Tempeh Cacciatore uses baked tempeh instead of chicken to give the dish a plant based twist. Using tempeh lightens the dish up and makes the sauce the real star of the show.
So let’s get down to business.
First, we start by baking the tempeh in the oven to get it nice and crispy while making the sauce. You can also sauté it in a pan on the stove, but I like to do double duty and having my hands free. Making the sauce could not be simpler. We start by sautéing bell peppers, onions, and garlic in olive oil until they’ve gotten all soft and caramelized. Then we add tomatoes, lemon juice, capers, and red pepper flakes before cooking the sauce down to all its glory. Finally, add the tempeh and you are all set!
I love serving this alongside zucchini ribbons (I use this peeler to make them), with polenta, or even good old fashioned pasta. In addition, I will top it with some dairy free cheese or pickled jalepenos if I am feeling extra spicy. Regardless of how you top it, you will not regret it!
Yields 4 servings
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2 (8oz) packages tempeh, cut in half, then cut into triangles (I use the versions from Trader Joe's)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 medium bell peppers, either thinly sliced or spiralized
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 (28oz) can or 2 (14 oz) cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt + pepper
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flake
- 6-8 basil leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sliced tempeh triangles on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once, or until the tempeh triangles are crispy.
In the meantime, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add sliced bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, lemon juice, capers, chili flake, and dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Once the tempeh is crispy, add the tempeh triangles back to the skillet. Allow to cook together for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh basil. EAT