Along with a well-stocked spice rack, keep a package of tempeh and a tube of polenta in your fridge, and impromptu weekend brunch is always at your fingertips.
Fragrant with plenty of dried herbs, nutty from the tempeh, and a little spicy from crushed red pepper flakes, these guys are seriously flavorful. And if there are no fennel haters in your house, feel free to throw a little crushed fennel seed in there to put them over the top.
Because they have so much going on, the cakes pair particularly well with mild accompaniments, like toast, and with fresh, light items like a simple salad of orange segments drizzled with a light, fruity dressing.
8 oz tempeh
9 oz prepared polenta (half of a store-bought tube)
2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup masa harina
water, as needed
Steam tempeh 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cube polenta and use a potato masher to mash polenta with all other ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined (there will be a few visible chunks of polenta remaining).
When the tempeh is done steaming, and as soon as it's cool enough to handle, cube into 1-inch dice. Add tempeh to mixing bowl and mash again until mixture holds together when pressed by hand, adding water by the tablespoon, as needed, to help cohere. (You shouldn't need more than a tablespoon or two.)
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Form eight patties and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Let cool five minutes before serving.