Recipe: “Tempesto” (High-Protein Probiotic-Enriched Pesto)

January 29th, 2012 - filed under: The Food » Recipes

So I’ve sort of been writing this book, slowly, intermittently, for oh I’d say the last . . . 2 years? Year and a half? I’ll have a flash of inspiration, work furiously for a while, and then put it down for 6 months, almost forget about it completely, and then *flash*, inspiration hits again. My creative cycle. See, I always have about a million and one random projects simultaneously percolating in the back of my brain. And one by one each of them – right now it’s this one – gets to take center stage.

Cooking with Cultures“, the book would be called. Because lord knows the Internet is over run with tutorials on how to *make* fermented foods (Am / I / right?), but there’s not a whole lot of direction regarding what to *do* with said foods, once they’re made.

And that’s what I’ve been dreaming about for the past few years. Unexpected, creative ways of incorporating cultured foods into every kind of meal. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Sauces, desserts, and beverages. And this recipe, when it first came to me . . . well that was the spark that ignited the whole idea.

Tempeh + Pesto = Tempesto

4 cups packed basil leaves
1 cup crumbled tempeh (steam it first if you care to cut the bitterness)
1/2 cup olive oil, more if needed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons white miso
2-5 cloves garlic, as preferred
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

I served this batch of tempesto over rice spirals, with home-roasted tomatoes and green olives.

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until completely combined. Adjust oil and seasoning, and serve – over pasta, as a sandwich spread, atop tofu or seitan, in a bean salad, as a party dip, or any other way you can conceive of using pesto.

The taste of the tempeh is completely masked (Damian is *not* a tempeh fan, but I serve this to him and he never notices). However if you’re concerned, you can replace half the tempeh with your favorite pesto-friendly nut (walnuts are my favorites, while pine nuts are traditional).

It keeps well and makes great leftovers!


  • Maria

    The book on cultured foods sounds like a great idea – I say go for it! You had a perfect timing posting this recipe. I have a packet of tempeh in my fridge which is waiting to be used, so I’m giving tempesto a go tomorrow! Thank you for sharing! x

  • Laura Agar Wilson

    Love the sound of this recipe, I love pesto and this would be great for getting that flavour in while still having plenty of protein, thanks!

  • Technosyncratic

    This recipe sounds great! I’m always trying to find new ways to get probiotics, and pesto is delicious. Interesting way to combine the two. :)

  • Greenfeatherherbs

    Love the book idea!!!

  • Francine

    I’m getting so into pesto lately, and it helps to see so many recipes for it circulating around blogs. I’ve never tried tempeh but am always hearing about it. Maybe it’s time to give it a try!

  • Kathryn B.

    OMG it’s not even 8:30 here yet and now I’m ready for lunch or dinner. That looks so good! P.S. You have the best food porn!

  • Danika

    Genius! Can’t wait for the book :)

  • Sarah C

    This looks/sounds delish! I love tempeh – it’s far and away my favorite of the big three (and easiest on my digestive system!). I know that originally tempeh was a cultured food, but is that still the case with modern food-saftey procedures? Do the friendly cultures survive the cooking process? I just don’t know enough about it to know how much probiotic effect I’m getting when I eat it – do you?

  • FoodFeud

    This is such a great idea! I love tempeh, but I also love the title. Stormy pasta dish.

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    This sounds gorgeous and a great way of getting that protein kick!

  • Ladies holiday

    So vibrant- it looks delicious! I’m going to add this recipe to next week’s menu.

  • Joselle Palacios

    This sounds delicious and you have a great concept for a book!

  • Wizardess9

    That sounds quick, easy & adaptable! Thanks!

  • Stacy

    Gotta try this–it looks excellent! Do you have a brand of pasta that you recommend? I find it difficult to buy non-white pasta that I like.

  • Jessica

    This looks delicious, and I would so buy a book on cooking with cultures!

  • Krystle Rose

    I’m not a big fan of tempeh but this looks delicious. Green olives? Yes, please!

  • erica

    i made this last night, but i crumbled & steamped the tempeh, then added it to thawed pesto from last summer so as to keep the texture. i had no olives so i subbed chopped pickled asparagus. it was delicious, thank you!

  • sara thomas

    i can definitely relate to the plethora of ideas and projects! hey, at least we’ll never be bored =) thanks for the recipe!

  • Rachel@MyNaturallyFrugalFamily

    Keep the creative juices flowing so that we can get a hold of this book!!!

  • Betsy

    I love the idea of this book! Sourdough and cheese and miso are some of my favourite foodstuffs ever :) Although, I’m going off soy for two weeks, if not longer (I am allergic to something, soy is my top suspect) – I think you’ll understand that not being able to eat miso is the toughest part of it all.

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten tempeh. Once I can have soy again I will definitely have to investigate it.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Betsy, in case you ever check back here I wanted to let you know, they make so-free miso’s these days! I use a chickpea miso and I love it.

    Check it! =D

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yay, so glad you liked it! Pickled asparagus sounds lovely. =)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    My heart belongs to the Trader Joe’s brown rice pastas, they are the BEST g-f pasta and are super cheap too.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Sarah, that’s a great question. It’s my understanding that most tempeh (and especially if you buy small local/artisan tempeh) should still have live cultures. If you cook it, then that will destroy the probiotics. However, even cooked probiotics are healthful (think miso) and fermenting the soy beans changes their nutrient profile, making tempeh a healthier form of soy.

    Also, I do not steam my tempeh first and I often eat this pesto cold, which means it *would* (hypothetically!) still have the live probiotics.

    I hope that helps answer your questions!

  • Mjmmt

    Beautiful pesto dish!! Looks great!! Easy looking recipe and love the green olives in there.
    My family would love that.

  • food suppliers

    This is a really helpful blog. You have some great ideas.

  • Punit Tiwari

    Action Fuel Pro is a splendid recipe that serves to improve the strong and sexual force, in the men body, who have crossed their age past 30. Its composed in such way that it general conveys key supplements to your body, which diminish down the recuperation time in muscle advancement. A percentage of the compelling fixings help up to support the vitality level for more workout sessions alongside higher sexual commute and remain. The outcomes with the wellbeing change could be seen with 2-3 weeks of beginning the course calendar of this recipe.

  • Punit Tiwari

    Action Fuel Pro Review has been nearing all the time of late thus obviously, being the test sort, I chose to really give it a shot. One thing I saw is that they assert that with Action Fuel Pro Review will give you comes about notwithstanding the amount you workout. Something I am not enthusiastic about accepting but rather in the event that its actual it could truly be the supplement for me. All things considered, we should examine how it lives up to expectations and how it can offer you those amazing results.