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5 from 2 votes

Vegan Crispy Pesto Tempeh with Parmesan Polenta

Crispy tempeh nuggets, creamy dreamy vegan Parmesan polenta all topped with light fresh pesto. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Lauren Hartmann


Vegan Pesto

  • 2 C. Basil, fresh
  • 2 Tbsp. Walnuts or pine nuts
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 C. Vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Crispy Tempeh

  • 8 oz. Tempeh
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper

Vegan Creamy Parmesan Polenta

  • 2 C. Vegetable broth
  • 2 C. Almond milk or other non dairy milk
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 C. Yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegan butter, I used Earth Balance
  • 3 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 C. Coconut milk, full fat


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Now, make the pesto. Add all the pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse until everything is combined and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside. 
  • Next bake the tempeh, crumble the tempeh into a mixing bowl and pour the olive oil and salt and pepper on top. Toss to coat thoroughly. Pour onto a baking sheet. Spread out in a single layer and then bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and brown. Tossing half way through baking.  
  • While the tempeh is baking, make the creamy parmesan polenta. in a medium or large pot, add the veggie broth, almond milk and chopped garlic. Heat on medium high and bring to a boil. 
  • Once the liquid is boiling, slowly, and carefully pour the cornmeal into the liquid in a slow stream, whisking the whole time. This will keep it from becoming lumpy. 
  • Whisk the polenta until fully combined, add salt and pepper, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 more minutes until it is really thick and the cornmeal is all really soft and creamy. 
  • Turn off the heat, then stir in the vegan butter, nutritional yeast and coconut milk. Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. 
  • Once the tempeh and the polenta are done, pour the tempeh into a bowl and toss with about half the pesto. Then serve with polenta on the bottom, topped with crispy pesto tempeh, and then top with another drizzle of pesto. 


If the pesto is a bit too thick for your liking, add just a splash more veggie broth.