Sweet, smoky tempeh steamed buns with creamy red miso-cashew dressing and spring mix

A lovely dish for brunch, this makes 16 buns, enough for a small appetizer for 8, or a light lunch for 4. Adjust the amount of spring mix and dressing to suit the serving size.


For the buns
2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2t coarse sea salt (or to taste)
1T yeast
1 cup warm water (as per the directions for your yeast)

For the filling
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt (or to taste)
2T scallion, minced, 1″ white reserved for the sauce
1T fresh garlic, minced
125g tempeh, finely diced (use pasteurized)
1T smoked paprika
A pinch dried red chilis (or to taste)
1 medium poblano pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup loose maitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely diced
1T tamari
1/2T balsamic vinegar
1 – 2T coconut sugar
1 cup vegetable stock
1T packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced (dehydrated, not jarred)
A few drops toasted sesame oil
Coarse sea salt, coconut sugar, and black pepper to taste
About 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
About 1/3 cup sauerkraut (I use unpasteurized)

For the dressing
2T red miso
2T cashew butter
2T white pickling vinegar
1T fresh garlic, minced
A pinch coarse sea salt
3-4T unsweetened plant milk
3-4T tomato passata (or puree)
1/2T scallion white, minced (as noted above)
1/2T smoked paprika
1t sriracha (or similar/to taste)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the garnish
2 -3 cups loose spring mix
2-3T dressing

Optional: Use unbleached all purpose flour for a white bun (although you’ll lose nutritional value and you may need to adjust the ratio of flour to water). A small amount of sugar is often added to the dough; here, it’s added to the filling, and so, omitted.

If you’re avoiding oil, skip the saute. Replace the oil with 1T cashew butter or similar. Add all of the ingredients for the filling to the pan (except as noted below for the sauerkraut and nutritional yeast). Simmer for 20 minutes.Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the pan begins to dry.


Start the buns first. Proof the yeast, and then mix the dry with the wet until a smooth elastic dough forms. Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a warm, moist tea towel and let the dough rise for about an hour, punching it down periodically.

At about the 30 minute market, start the filling. In a medium frying pan with a lid, bring the oil to heat on medium high. Add the scallions and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and tempeh and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, chili, poblano pepper and mushrooms. Stir fry another 3 minutes.

When the pan is starting to brown, add the balsamic vinegar and tamari. Deglaze the pan. Add the coconut sugar, stock, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon coconut sugar to start, and add more to taste if needed (see the note below).

Bring the pan to a light boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until the pan begins to dry. Remove from heat, and let the filling stand 10 – 15 minutes to cool. Add the sesame oil and season to taste.

When the filling is done, your dough should be ready. Divide the dough into 16 small balls (about 2 tablespoons in size). On a lightly floured board, roll out each to about 4″ diameter, about 1/6″ thick. Keep the remaining balls of dough in the bowl with a warm, moist tea towel until you’re ready to use them.

Flute the edges of the rolled dough with a small pinch. Fill each with about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons filling. Pack the filling a little. Add 1t sauerkraut. Sprinkle with 1t nutritional yeast.

Note, if you haven’t made steamed buns, purses or similar, start with about 1 tablespoon filling, and add more if there’s room. Be careful not to overfill or push your dough too much by packing the filling (it will tear). A lot will depend on how finely you minced the tempeh and the size of your piece of dough. You’ll be able to add more filling with practice.

With the bun and filling secure in your palm, gather the dough up and around the filling. Pinch the sides together to form a purse with pleats, packing the filling a little as I go around the ball. When the sides are all pleated in, twist lightly to close, mostly but not completely (there should still be a small hole. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Add about 1 cup cool water to your steamer. Add the buns at least 1″ apart (1 1/2″ preferred). If you’re using a stop top steamer, bring the water to a steam on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to remove the buns from heat, remove the lid, turn off the heat and let cool for 1 – 2 minutes. Steam in batches, adding more water as necessary. Repeat until all your buns are ready.

While your buns steam, make the dressing. Whisk the cashew butter, vinegar, plant milk, sea salt, garlic and red miso together until the dressing is light and fluffy. This may take a minute or so, but you’ll know when it emulsifies.

Add the remaining ingredients until the dressing is nice and smooth, adding the nutritional yeast last. Let stand covered until your buns are ready. It will thicken further as it stands.

When the buns are ready, stir the dressing. Add more plant milk or passata to adjust colour and taste to your preference, 1 teaspoon at a time. Add sea salt, black pepper, or more sriracha to taste.

To plate, add a small circle of spring mix to the middle of the plate. Add dressing in a line cross the edge of the plate or in a small bowl for dipping as you prefer. Rest the buns on top of the spring mix and serve.