Virtual Vegan Potluck, Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, a Guest Post from Chef Ian Brandt


So, in the last couple of weeks, I had not one but two recipe snafus while trying to put something together for this year’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.


First I made a tofu piccata. It was delicious. I photographed it and got it all set up and ready to pre-schedule the post. Then later that night I was flipping through a cookbook I own and saw a tempeh piccata that was nearly the exact recipe. Not wanting anyone to think I plagiarized a recipe, I decided not to post it.


Then I made a second recipe, this time a lentil, olive and thyme hummus. Conceptually it was brilliant. The execution not so much. If you’ve ever tried to blend lentils as smooth as garbanzos, you may find out instead of getting deliciously creamy, they turn into lentil glue. Blast.

sages cafe edit

Thank goodness I had backup! Several weeks ago Chef Ian Brandt and I had met up and discussed him sharing guest post recipes on my blog from time to time. So I called in a favor and Ian pulled through with this fantastic appetizer! A huge thanks to Ian for saving my vegan bacon.


As you can see, this dish is exquisite, but probably leaves me out of the running for any potluck awards! I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway!


Chef Ian Brandt

Executive Chef, Owner:  Sage’s CaféVertical DinerCafé SuperNaturalCali’s Natural Foods. All downtown Salt Lake City, Utah locations.

All photos by Somer McCowan of Vedged Out

Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 brick diced tempeh
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup, diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  •  1 head romaine lettuce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno chili, minced and deseeded
  • 1 thumb minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a few sprigs cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling / garnish

What You Do:

  1. In a sauté pan on medium temperature
  2. Put into the pan the oil, tempeh, onions, carrot, celery, garlic, jalapeno and ginger. Saute ingredients till dark brown.
  3. Add tamari and maple syrup
  4. Cut down lettuce into leaves used to wrap the ingredients
  5. Put the reduced filling into a serving bowl and garnish with lime wedges, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro and Enjoy!

Somer’s notes: I made these wraps with radicchio instead of romaine, because, pretty! I made these a second time with tofu instead of tempeh with equally delicious results. My kids ate the tempeh mixture over basmati rice and loved it so much!


A huge heartfelt thanks to Annie at An Unrefined Vegan for creating and organizing this event, and for Poppy and Angela for being her trusty sidekicks along with other helpers. I’ve been privileged enough to help out with the VVP in years past, but life is just a bit too crazy for me to be on the VVP train right now!

Previous Potluck Posts from Vedged Out:


If you run into any broken links along the way, (some bloggers show up a little late to the party) here’s a list of the bloggers in the potluck to help you get back on track. Pretty cool to see over 86 bloggers from all around the world flaunting their vegan awesome! Use the buttons below to Go Back to visit Veggie Inspired JourneyGo Forward to see what Glue and Glitter brought to the party.

Stay-Calm-Go-Back2 Stay-Calm-Go-Forward2 (1)


    1. Thank you Teresa! I can’t say I’m sorry! These Tempeh Lettuce Wraps will now be on regular rotation at my house! The serving size said it makes 6-8… My family went through two batches in one night!

  1. Sorry to hear about your recipe problems.😦 I created a recipe for pumpkin white bean curry a month or so ago, and then I got a cookbook in the mail and there was a recipe that was almost identical in it. I guess it has to do the the collective unconscious. This dish looks delicious though – great idea in calling for backup!

    1. Crazy! I guess there’s only so many ways to make things! I’ve never had that happen to me before! I’m glad I’m not the only one! I do think calling for backup was much better than dropping out, that way, everyone still gets this delicious recipe!

  2. Oh man, I have TOTALLY been there with lentil hummus. I kind of forgot about it until now, pretty sure I blocked it from my memory… the silver lining is that a) you still made it to the potluck! and b) these lettuce wraps look amazing!! Thank you Chef Ian for a beautiful and delicious idea for preparing tempeh. Happy VVP!

    1. Shannon! I should have known! I blended a lentil soup into glue oblivion once! I guess I blocked that incident from my memory too! I’m so happy to be here and so glad Chef Ian was willing to share such a lovely recipe!

  3. The wraps look so colorful, healthy and delicious😀 Tempeh is great, I think I never would have tried tempeh if I didn’t got into vegan cooking. Immediately loved it.

    1. Thank you! They are seriously delicious and really simple to make. Even though they are listed as an appetizer, they also make a really great light meal! It’s quite funny that I had so much trouble with the recipes, but mostly I’ve just been too busy to get my brain functioning. Thank goodness for Ian!

    1. Nicole! You’ve got that right! Colorful foods always taste more delicious to me! You should see Ian’s restaurant, Sage’s Cafe! They’ve got a raw section of the menu. I love the raw plates because they are always bursting with color! And SO yummy!

  4. It’s so stressful when recipes keep thwarting you when you’re on a deadline. That happened to me last year with Kristy’s cookie swap. Everything I tried flopped, and I had the upside down kitchen to prove it! I’m glad you had such a delicious back-up!

  5. Delighted to see you on VVP, Somer! How awesome you met Chef Brandt, I’ve never been to his cafe before, but we are both from PA!🙂 These lettuce wraps are scrumptious, love the tempeh!

    ★ HAPPY VVP ★

    1. Rika! He is so nice! I love meeting other vegans so much, it’s like coming home! If you’re ever in Utah, you’ll have to pop by one of his locations! I highly recommend both! Sage’s is casual, but with tasty food and fancier options including raw plates. Vertical Diner is just the best vegan diner food ever! Cali’s Natural Foods has local produce as well as superfoods and top selling items from both of his other locations. So fun!

      Also, that tempeh. So good!

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