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Tempeh Ragu Spaghetti with Eggplant
テンペ茄子スパゲッティ

Spaghetti is one of my absolute favorites.

We had lunch served everyday at elementary school when I was growing up in Japan.

It was not a cafeteria style they have in the U.S., but a set menu was served to everyone, so there were no choices available.

We can certainly talk about pros and cons about this system, but today I want to focus on what were served.

You may think we had a lot of rice because rice is the most important food item in Japan; when we learned early, maybe in st or 2nd grade, that Japan would never import rice, even a piece (my google search today, however, indicates that they now do import some from other countries).

Surprisingly, we had bread 70% of the time, rice about 20% of the time, and some type of noodles 10%.

I so looked forward to non-bread days, and it made me so happy when we had spaghetti.

It was always served with ragu type meat sauce, and it was forever associated with my happy mood (lol), I guess.

Things have changed since the time, including my diet.

Because I don’t eat meat anymore, I use tempeh sausage.

I make my own tempeh sausage, which leads to an extra step but it’s so worth it.

Doesn’t it look tasty?!

I happened to have this beautiful eggplant from the local farmers market and decided to fry and add them to the sauce.

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables and whenever I see slim eggplant like this one in the picture, I buy them.

They are similar to the Japanese eggplant I grew up with and I like that their seeds are much smaller.

Lots of sauce please.

Tempeh Ragu Spaghetti with Eggplant

tempeh sausage
– 1 package tempeh, crumbled into small pieces with hands
– 75ml soy sauce
– 75ml maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/4~1/2 teaspoon paprika
– 1/2~1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– salt and pepper
olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 28-oz whole tomato can, pureed with hand blender
3 oz tomato paste
a pinch of baking soda
sugar
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
Italian seasoning
cooked spaghetti
Chopped basil, for serving

1. Make tempeh sausage. Marinade crumbled tempeh in the marinade overnight. Drain and pat the tempeh with paper towel to remove excess liquid. Fry it in olive oil until browned. Salt and pepper if needed.
2. Cook eggplant in olive oil. Salt and pepper.
3. Cook garlic and onion with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients. Boil and then turn down to low heat. Simmer. Add tempeh sausage and sauteed eggplant. Serve over spaghetti with freshly chopped basil.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

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