Forgive me, for I have sinned.

This weekend, I lunched on chocolate truffles and ice cream sundaes and fewer vegetables than I normally consume in the first half of an average day.


I drank five espressos, fifteen cups of coffee and exactly two alcoholic beverages.  (Water is really such a waste of intestinal space when there are stimulants to be had, no?)


I was wined and dined by a food network star, ate French fries at cocktail hour, reveled in my best friend in the entire word being close enough to touch and met people I have dreamed about almost every night for the past three years (oh how time does fly).

(Don’t worry.  These were all fully clothed, PG-rated kind of dreams.  I’m not that creepy.)

(Okay, fine.  Most of them were.  You know me too well.)


I walked six miles there and back from the Mission to Union Square.  Smelled (but did not inhale) the marijuana in the bad part of town and understood why sometimes two Donut Plants in a two block radius is just…necessary.

And now.  I’m headed home.

Full. Tired. Indulged.

And anything but sorry.

I refuse to rue the day.  It’s just not my style.


But if I were to feel a hint of guilt.  I’d do my penance in shreds of cabbage and strips of peppers and triangles of mirin/maple/soy soaked tempeh.

Which really isn’t penance at all when you think about it.  Just one truly delicious dinner.


Star Anise-Glazed Tempeh with Stir-Fried Peppers
Serves 4, adapted from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
  • 8 oz tempeh, cut in half width-wise and then into eighths
  • 4 tsp peanut oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, chopped


  1. Place the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, maple syrup and five spice powder in a saucepan.  Boil for 4-5 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the tempeh.  Let it soak four minutes on each side.  Set aside, reserving the marinade.
  2. Heat a wok to medium-high and add 2 tsp peanut oil.  Add the tempeh and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Add a few tbsp of the marinade and cook until it has evaporated and glazed the tempeh.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the wok and add 2 tsp peanut oil.  Over medium-high heat, cook the garlic, ginger and scallions for 1 minute.  Add the peppers and cabbage.  Cook until slightly softened, but still crisp, about ten minutes.  Add the remaining marinade. and cook an additional five minutes.  Serve over rice.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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80 Responses to Star Anise-Glazed Tempeh with Stir-Fried Peppers

  1. Simply Life says:

    sounds like you had a great time! I’d love to hear more about it! Looks like the perfect meal to come home to!

  2. That tempeh looks tempehting:) Its good to indulge once in a while and if you did it on Sunday your sins would be automatically forgiven:)

  3. Sounds like you didn’t sin to me you just had the most food adventure EVER! So who was the food network start? I am so curious- did i miss that in the post. The glaze on that tempeh is amazing- like perfection

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I love purple cabbage both for the taste and its vibrant color. I remember foodbuzz last year and feeling like I’d gain 10 lbs in just the three days. But goddang it was worth it

  5. I love all the colors in this dish, especially the purple. I want to know who the food network star is too! All in all, sounds like an awesome weekend!

  6. Deborah says:

    I think it is definitely ok to indulge every once in awhile!! I’ve never had tempeh before, but this looks fantastic!

  7. Claudia says:

    Don’t call this meal penance! It’s just delicious. And now you have inspired me – who has been over-indulging for the entire autumn to go back and truly enjoy some vegetables… and tempeh.

  8. Foodycat says:

    The glaze you have on that tempeh is amazing!

  9. Joanne says:

    Looks delish, so long as we can have some of those chocolate truffles, hot fudge sundaes and cups of coffee for dessert!

  10. Nicole, RD says:

    I love it! 🙂 We were just talking about tempeh and now, this is what I must make! I have 2 sad packages that keep getting pushed to the back of the fridge because I dunno what to do with’em. Problem solved. Thanks again for this weekend…amazing! 🙂

  11. lovely and colorful dish look forward to hearing about foodbuzz

  12. Don’t leave us hanging–who was the “star”?

    This dish looks beautifully delicious!


  13. Jennie says:

    Stunning, vibrant, sexy. I love tempeh, and I love this dish!

  14. that glaze sounds heavenly. put that on a rock and I’d eat it. LOL
    well your chocolate snacking adventures are fine as your skinny ass can take a few hits with no problems.

  15. daphne says:

    hey, one has to live sometimes! That tempeh looks awesome though and not just for a “light” day!

  16. sally says:

    The star anise glaze sounds fantastic and the veggies are so colorful! It looks like a great dish!

  17. What a gorgeous colorful dish, not to mention a unique combo!

  18. Beth says:

    You have to tell us more! I kept scrolling down, hoping you’d spill everything about your weekend, and suddenly the post was finished. Don’t keep us hanging — I want details!

  19. MM says:

    The colors in this dish are amazing! No chance of finding tempeh in my small, pork-loving town, but I certainly could do a lot with those beautiful stir fried peppers.

  20. Hannah says:

    Wow, sounds like an incredible experience you had… Hope you’ll elaborate in a future post! 😉

    Anise is a flavor that I rarely cook with, but am very intrigued by. This sounds like a great way to play with it a bit more.

  21. Kristen says:

    So glad you had a wonderful time. Moving to Florida from Arizona SO messed up my plans to attend. Hoping for more photos. Saw you on another blog…that doesn’t count.

  22. Now you’ve made me feel really bad… I did not eat a single shred of vegetables today…and if you feel that downing water is a waste of stomach space, I suggest that you try Dragonwell Chinese tea instead of coffee… rich on antioxidants and breaks down fat…:)

  23. Pam says:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time!!

  24. Miriam says:

    Goodness, what a weekend!! The food looks awesome :), [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  25. As a “mostly vegetarian” family, I will have to bookmark this one!

  26. Claudie says:

    With a dish like this, almost anything could be forgiven!! I know I often repeat myself saying your dishes look amazing, but can I do? This dish does look amazing!

  27. Allison says:

    LOVE the color and flavors you bring to a plate. Your posts never disappoint.

  28. Amy says:

    HOW. FUN. !! I missed something…where did you go? Who did you hang with? Sometimes it’s okay to kiss and tell!

  29. I love your recap of the weekend. Pretty much exactly how I felt all weekend. I was also having some major coffee and chocolate withdraws this morning. Not to worry though, I brewed a cup before I got the shakes 🙂

    It was really great meeting you this weekend!

  30. Jenna says:

    The colors in that dish are so divinely vibrant! The purple is just popping off the screen . . . unfortunately it’s not popping itself into my mouth.
    The event sounds like fun–are more details forthcoming? Pictures? Please?

  31. Five espressos and fifteen cups of coffee on a single weekend? Did you get any sleep? Love this dish, it’s so colorful!

    Camila Faria

  32. That tempeh looks perfectly browned yum! And this sounds like an amazing dish. I love the use of cabbage.

  33. Nicole says:

    I agree with the stimulants and wow does this recipe look amazing!

  34. Mary says:

    Oh my gosh, I’ve never been remotely tempted to try tempeh before, but your photos are absolutely gorgeous! They look absolutely mouthwatering and can hardly even guess what it would all taste like. Glad your back home rested or not. What a fabulous weekend!

  35. Sounds more like a dream than a sin to me…yes, I suppose I have my secret fantasies as well.
    -_- Anyway, who was the star to woo you? Come on girl, dine and tell! 😉

    Your tempeh dish looks amazing, Joanne. If this was my penance, I wouldn’t mind sinning a bit more! The photography is beautiful and the colors are just so impressive.


  36. Rachel says:

    Aww, you were at the Foodbuzz fest and I missed you. I was there too! It sounds like you had fun : )

  37. Beautiful salad. I love purple cabbage. It always adds so much color and an interesting crunch. I don’t often eat tempeh, but this makes me crave it.

  38. That is so insanely beautiful…I just want to stare at it. And then I want to eat it. It sounds so tasty and I know it’s good for me with all of those colors. 😀

  39. Cara says:

    I just want to stare at this picture, all day long.

  40. Juliana says:

    Joanne, this dish looks delicious, and the colors are just amazing…it sounds that you had a great time at the Foodbuzz…
    Hope you have a nice week ahead 🙂

  41. Candace says:

    What a colorful and yummy looking meal, Joanne! I really expect nothing less from you though. Everything always looks amazing over here. It sounds like you had a wonderful and exciting weekend. I hope we hear more about this Food Network Star. I’m off to Google “tempeh”. I’m almost embarassed to say that I don’t know what it is. Almost. 🙂

  42. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, It sounds like you had fun! This dish certainly does not look like penance. It looks delicious. Blessings my dear, Catherine ox

  43. Shannon says:

    LOVE the purple cabbage in this… beautiful! I haven’t made tempeh… I’ve just ordered it a few times at restaurants. I’ll have to give it a go. Glad you had fun at foodbuzz!

  44. teresa says:

    what a day! sounds like a party to me! i absolutely love this dish, it’s like a rainbow in a bowl, gorgeous!

  45. I’m sad to say I’ve never had tempeh, but it sounds absolutely wonderful, especially with all of those gorgeous colorful vegetables. That dish is a rainbow! That sounds like a fun weekend, not one you have to feel guilty about at all. 🙂

  46. That Girl says:

    I think I read “15 cups of coffee” about 3 times. Did you sleep at all?

  47. brocstar says:

    This looks wonderful… I love tempeh!

  48. Loving the post about foodbuzz and SF, but loving your photos even more. They’re absolutely stunning. I can’t stop staring. Something for us all to aspire to.



  49. I wish I could be you, what a fantastic day! Your marinade sounds delicious

  50. Emily says:

    What a beautiful and vibrant dish! Who is the Food Network star you speak of?

  51. Anonymous says:

    Since you’re in NYC I’d like to alert you to a source for fresh, unpasteurized tempeh.
    Barry’s Tempeh!

    BTW – your photos are beautiful.

  52. The colors of this dish are spectacular–really! You could almost make a painting of it. This looks wonderful!

  53. Swathi says:

    I need to try Tempeh, this dish looks awesome colorful and delicious.

  54. Mary says:

    What a colorful recipe. It looks delicious and I am really tempted to give it a try. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  55. Veronica says:

    You can NOT give teasers like this and not reveal the names of these people!! Oh you are cruel. But, since you offer such a beautiful recipe, I think I can forgive you. I’ve often wondered about tempeh and think I finally need to buy some and try it.

  56. Christy says:

    What a colorful dish!! I’m sure it must be very tasty and flavorful too 😀

  57. So colorful and appetizing! The flavors you used are fabulous.



  58. Joanne, this looks great! I had a lovely raw cabbage salad with chinese 5 spice, and Rob’s done some cooking for star anise, so we have just caught the star anise bug. This looks quick and tasty… and healthy! YUMMERS!

  59. I think the next time someone asks me about my weekend, I’ll just refer them to this post:-) LOVE!

  60. Candace Karu says:

    Gorgeous salad, gorgeous photographs!

  61. Ranjani says:

    I don’t always enjoy tempeh, but this looks like the prefect way to give it another chance. Love the colors

  62. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This looks delicious! I’m so inspired by all your vegetable eating 🙂 Do you think you will go back to even being a meat eater?

  63. Monet says:

    I had one of those weekends too…weekends in which I enjoyed myself, but I was eager for a meal full of vegetables and lean proteins come Monday night. Thank you for sharing this lovely vegetarian meal…and moments from your days. I hope you are having a blessed week.

  64. MyFudo™ says:

    The colors are so vibrant! If this type of post is what I will be seeing after you have indulged in the weekend, then sin again, if you please…(just kidding!)All I am saying is, I am bookmarking this pag and I am looking forward to lots more of these stuff. Thanks!

  65. Kelly says:

    Be Still my Heart. Absolutely FAN.tastic Joanne. The colours alone are spectacular but I also happen to love the star feature. Beautiful presentation.

  66. Jeanette says:

    Hey, we all need some fun! Love how vibrant this dish is, and star anise is one of my favorite spices.

  67. Cate says:

    Love all the pretty colors in this bowl!

    It was great seeing you (for 2 seconds…boo) at Foodbuzz. You should probably just move to San Francisco (pretty please?)

  68. Love your pictures! Do you use natural light or indoor lights?

  69. Vanessa says:

    Holy hell this sounds amazing! And looks delicious. =)

  70. Jamie Walker says:

    OMG – the colors…all those beautiful colors! Love this!!! CAn you come cook for me?!

  71. Joanne I’m so glad you went! I went last year and loved it. So fun.


  72. Dana says:

    Oooh! I haven’t made that recipe! I’ve stared at it so many times but just haven’t jumped in. You know how much I love that cookbook and it looks like we have another huge winner!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Made it with firm tofu today and it was DELISH!!!

  74. Joanne says:

    Anonymous – yay! I’m SO glad you liked it! And good to know that it works with tofu!

  75. Chris says:

    I love when I find gems like this in your posts:

    Smelled (but did not inhale) the marijuana in the bad part of town and understood why sometimes two Donut Plants in a two block radius is just…necessary.

    You made me SOL (snicker out loud….not shit outta luck)

  76. Malin says:

    Beautiful colors and I love tempeh! Going to try this recipe. Thanks for an inspiring blog!

  77. Cate says:

    Just made this for dinner, and served it over quinoa. I doubled the five spice powder and added extra bell peppers. DELICIOUS!!!

  78. Johanna GGG says:

    that tempeh looks amazing – am learning it is often best when chargrilled – if I were you I would be only more tempted to eat lots of indulgent food just so I could pay penance with this tempeh and veg!

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