Tempeh and Cucumbers On a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip
This is the fastest party appetizer known to man.
Or the fastest and most flavorful snack known to busy woman.
It’s a slice it ‘n spear it special.
Make the brown sugar and balsamic reduction dipping sauce in just a few minutes.
And clear out your sinuses from the vinegar vapors in the process.
My $5 thrift store find dishes were begging to be used and I wouldn’t say I made this just so I could use them in some photographs, but I kind of did.
Normally when I think of food on-a-stick, I think corn dogs or cotton candy. Never raw, vegan, vegetables, or healthy. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
I wish I had a party to bring my toothpick creations to but I didn’t, so I had a festive protein-packed vegan snack on the couch instead.
A party with me, my sticks, and my dip.
Tempeh and Cucumbers on a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip (Vegan, Gluten-Free if GF tempeh is used)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup diced tempeh
1/2 cup diced cucumber (Tip: English cucumbers have fewer seeds and less water than traditional cucumbers; try zucchini, bell peppers, radishes, carrots, hearty mushrooms on the sticks too)
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and allow sauce to boil for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until reduced by half or is as thick as desired. Stir occasionally while boiling and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over or get too thick. Pour sauce into serving vessel so it can cool while preparing the tempeh and cucumber. After the sauce has cooled (or been refrigerated), it will thicken considerably. I serve this sauce hot, warm, or cold. Store leftover sauce in the refrigerator for week(s) and use leftover sauce on vegetables, salads, as a marinade for tofu, chicken, or a dip for crackers or bread. Tip: Immediately put your dirty saucepan into the sink with running water and dish soap or it will become a sticky, stubborn mess if sauce is allowed to cool on the saucepan.
Dice equal portions of tempeh and cucumber and spear with toothpicks. Serve with sauce on the side.
Notes: I do not sautee my tempeh first (I use it straight from the package), but if desired, pan-sautee diced tempeh over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil (or just use cooking spray) in a non-stick pan for 3 minutes or until golden brown, sprinkling with salt, pepper, and other seasonings (garlic, onion powder, curry, turmeric, Mrs. Dash etc.) if desired. Then spear the cooled tempeh cubes with the cucumber.
The balsamic dipping sauce is not for the faint of heart. A little goes a long way.
It’s powerful stuff, but I love it. I love dips of all kinds and usually like a little food with my dip.
I love all things vinegary:
Homemade Salad Dressing (vegan) with apple cider vinegar
Homemade Komboucha. There is something about the tang of vinegar I have always loved and kombucha is right up my alley
Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, GF) – with an intro to canning
Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, GF) – no canning required but vinegar is required
I’ve been on quite the tempeh kick lately. It’s so easy because unlike tofu, no pressing is required, and tempeh is packed with plant-based protein.
I love the way it tastes both raw or in a Fig Butter and Cumin Tempeh Stir Fry.
This toothpick creation is slightly classier than eating tempeh straight out of the package and nearly as easy.
If I would have had carrots, radishes, bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms on hand, I would have added them to my mini raw kebobs but went with just cucumbers and tempeh.
Springtime at the farmers market is coming up.
There will no shortage of vegetables to spear along with the tempeh cubes.
Another easy, no-fuss, wrap ‘n eat favorite to make with spring and summer vegetables are Fresh Vegan Spring Rolls with 2-Minute Peanut Sauce
Do you like tempeh? Do you enjoy vinegary foods?
I’m sure you could do the same thing with tofu on sticks but the thought of raw, unpressed tofu, straight out of the package is not appetizing to me.
It’s too mushy in comparison to tempeh, which is firm, has plenty of texture, heartiness, and chewiness. Combined with the crunch of the cucumbers, and that nasal-clearing balsamic reduction, I was in heaven with my little sticks.
Do you have a favorite fast and easy party appetizer you make? Or a fast and easy go-to snack or small meal?
Thanks for the Baking Supplies Giveaway entries