vegan buttery lentils with tempeh

Here at Master Indian Spice, our staff routinely experiment with Indian cuisine. This is one vegan recipe that blew us all away! Especially for those of us who are vegan or vegetarian, having a variety of Indian meals on hand can really help with the enjoyment of traditional vegan proteins such as Tempeh. In this recipe for Butter Lentils with Tempeh, Master Indian presents a sumptuous recipe full of protein.



1-3 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance or Becel Vegan are both great)

 1/8 tsp asafoetida or hing (optional)

1/8 tsp carom or ajwain (optional)

1.5 tsp cumin seeds

2-3 inches cinnamon stick or cassia bark

2-3 Indian Bay Leaves or tej patta (optional)

1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1 medium sized onion, fine diced

3-6 garlic cloves minced

1-2" knob of ginger, peeled, minced

1 cup lentils

2 tomatoes, diced.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp sugar (optional)

1-3 tsp chili powder (to taste)

1 package of your favorite tempeh (about 200 g) - We recommend lightlife tempeh because of it's firmer texture and it doesn't have the chalkiness that many tempeh products seem plagued with. 



1. Start by boiling 2 cups water, and adding your lentils. Bring to boil and then simmer over medium-low.

2. peel and dice your onion, garlic, ginger. Hull and dice your tomatoes.

2. In a wok or large pan, melt your vegan butter on medium-high heat.

3. Once the butter is melted add your carom, asafoetida, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Let these fry in the oil until brown and fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. 

4. Add onion, garlic and ginger, garam masala, and fry until transparent.

5. Large dice your tempeh, and add it to the mixture.

6. Add the diced tomatoes, plus paprika, turmeric, and salt, cook until tender

7. Now add your lentils, lemon juice, and sugar (optional)

8. Add your Indian chili powder (lal mirch) until the dish is hot enough. 


The Indian Spices in this recipe (ajwain, hing, tej patta, lal mirch) are readily available at all Indian grocery stores. The recipe can do without them, but really they're the authentic ingredients that make the dish, and having them on hand and getting into the habit of using them will soon transform your cooking!)

Serve with Naan, Paratha, basmati or wild rice.


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