Spicy Sweet and Sour Tempeh Balls

These Thai-inspired tempeh meatballs will make you dream of faraway places.

Lemongrass and Thai ginger-spiced tempeh meatballs are cooked in an aromatic, pineapple sauced spiced with coriander seeds and smoky cumin. A topping of fresh mint adds a layer of refreshing flavor while a sprinkle of black sesame seeds adds nutty crunch.

Just the perfect appetizer for a New Year celebration dinner or any party you wish to impress guests with a delicious crowd-pleaser.

vegan tempeh balls

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  • 7 ounces tempeh
  • 7 ounces pineapple without the skin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered galangal or ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of mild olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice starch
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 3 red radicchio leaves or other green
  • 3 Keffir lime leaves
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 piece of fresh turmeric root
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh mint leaves, to taste
  • Black sesame seeds, to taste


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Whisk together the cumin with chopped lemongrass, lime leaves, coriander, peeled turmeric, onion, and enough water to obtain a grainy cream.

In a wide shallow pan heat the coconut oil over low heat, then add galangal powder, the garlic, and the diced and seeded red pepper. Add the creamy mixture and continue cooking for a few minutes, covered.

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Meanwhile, prepare tempeh by cutting into thick slices and boil it in water and lemon for 3 minutes, to soften. Drain and place in a blender with the radicchio leaves, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Blend to combine — it shouldn’t be too smooth. Mix in the rice starch.

Using your hands, form tempeh meatballs. In a pan, combine pineapple and spices. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in coconut milk and sugar. Finally, add tempeh meatballs and cook over low heat for a few minutes.

Serve tempeh meatballs in a bowl garnished with fresh mint and sesame seeds with sauce on the side.

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