Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring sandwich with black bean tempeh

At yesterday's Portland Winter Market, Jaime Berhanu of Lalibela Farm offered me a sample of her latest experiment: black bean tempeh. Right away I was intrigued by the exotic black and steel color.

The flavor was mild and went well with the ginger-lime marinade I created. The texture is softer than soy tempeh, however, it crisps under high heat just like soy tempeh.

Black bean is the third sample I've tried, after navy bean and garbanzo bean. Jamie and her husband, Andy, are testing a variety of beans to see which one makes the best soy-free tempeh.

Each one's flavor reflects the bean it's made from while still offering the classic tempeh taste. Of the three, the garbanzo's texture was most similar to soy, but right now I'm feeling partial to the black bean.

After I let the black bean tempeh slices marinate for a couple hours, I cooked them on the griddle. Using toasted slices of a whole grain loaf I bought at the market, I served the tempeh with Raye's Mustard, mixed greens, fresh basil leaves, green onions and sliced red onions (my last storage onion from the fall). It was the perfect spring sandwich, and a wonderful testament to all the great food at the Portland Winter Market.