Late Summer and Autumn is the perfect time for a sweet root vegetable dish. Adding fried tempeh is a great way to give your children some hearty and satisfying vegan protein in a way that is both strengthening and energizing for their active lives.

I originally made this dish for a friend who needs strengthening food that is easy on her digestive system. The moment I finished it, though, I knew it would be a hit with a younger crowd as well.

I have used carrot, daikon, onion and rutabaga here. Feel free to use any combination of root vegetables, including turnips and parsnips.

Sweet Vegetable Sauté with Fried Tempeh

1 8oz package tempeh
sesame oil (amount will vary)
1/2 medium onion sliced in half moons, or diced
1 medium rutabaga, peel off rough bits and slice into thick matchsticks
4-5 inch piece of daikon radish, sliced into thick matchsticks (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots, sliced into thick matchsticks
sea salt
2-3 tsp shoyu or gluten-free tamari (optional)

1.  Steam the tempeh for 20 minutes. Cool and then cut into bite size pieces.

2.  Heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add about 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil. Add onion when a little piece of it sizzles gently in the oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch or two of sea salt. Add the tempeh and mix. Spread the tempeh and onions out so most of the tempeh is touching the bottom of the skillet. Let sit and fry until some of the tempeh is light brown. Then stir and let sit again. You may need to add a little more oil. Tempeh tends to absorb a lot.

3.  When tempeh is light brown on most sides, move the tempeh and onion closed to middle of the skillet. Layer the other vegetables on top. Rutabaga, daikon and carrot. Add another pinch or two of sea salt on top and about 3 Tbsp of water around sides. Bring to a light simmer and cover. Let cook until vegetables are almost tender.

4.  Sprinkle a little shoyu on top if desired. Mix and cook for about 7 more minutes. Add a little water if necessary to keep the vegetables from burning.

Leftovers are great tucked into a tortilla with a little vegan sour cream.