by Bill Tara and Marlene Watson-Tara






by Bill Tara and Marlene Watson-Tara

Vegetable and Tempeh Wellington with Rich Shiitake Gravy

This recipe takes time to prepare but it’s well worth it. Rather than making your own pastry, a short-cut option is to purchase an organic vegan pastry from the frozen section of your natural food store or supermarket. With a plethora of roasted root vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s been our go-to festive meal year after year. I would recommend making the vegan egg wash before assembling the wellington.
Course Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Macrobiotic
Keyword health cooking, macrobiotic, tempeh, vegetables
Servings 8 people


To braise the tempeh

  • 225 g pack organic tempeh
  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp rice mirin
  • 1 tbsp ume plum seasoning
  • ½ tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ½ tsp dried mixed herbs

Other ingredients

  • 250 g pack vegan puff pastry
  • 225 g pack organic tempeh cubed and marinated
  • 1 bunch spinach chopped
  • 6 medium portobello mushrooms sliced ¼ inch thick
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large leeks white part only, trimmed and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 cups celery thinly sliced
  • 2 cups red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cups carrots thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large carrot thinly cut on the diagonal and steamed
  • Basil pesto

Vegan egg wash

  • 1 tbsp aquafaba chickpea water
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ tsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup

Rich Shiitake Gravy

  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cm piece Kombu
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp rice mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice syrup


  • Cut the tempeh into bite-sized cubes. Put all the other braising ingredients (marinade) in a jar, close the lid tightly and shake well to mix.
  • Warm a little filtered water in a heavy-based pan over a low-medium heat, add the tempeh cubes and cook covered for 5 minutes. Pour over the marinade, cover and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, adding water if the pan dries out. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Follow the instructions on your pastry packet for thawing. Remove the pastry from the box. Let sit for 15 minutes then gently roll out to make a large rectangle if necessary. Lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bring a small pan of filtered water to a boil. Pop the spinach into a steamer basket. Cover and steam the spinach for a 1–2 minutes until wilted. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.
  • In a heavy-based pan, heat a little filtered water and cook the mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt for 7–8 minutes. Add the red wine and allow to soak into the mushrooms; cook until the pan is dry. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
  • Using the same pan, add a splash of filtered water and sauté the garlic, leeks, celery, onions and carrots, tamari and herbs. Cook for 5–7 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the mixture to cool. Add this mixture to the tempeh bowl, use a paper towel to blot any moisture from the mixture, then transfer to a dish and chill in the fridge.
  • The secret to a deliciously juicy yet flaky wellington is to pat everything dry and make sure it is completely cold before wrapping it in your vegan puff pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas 6. Layer the mushrooms onto the prepared pastry sheet, spreading them evenly along the edge of the pastry nearest to you. Layer some of the filling on top of the mushrooms, then the spinach, and top with a layer of the steamed carrots. Add a thin layer of basil pesto along the full length of the filling. Very carefully fold the pastry over the top of the mixture and press down to seal the edges. Trim any excess pastry and crimp around the edges with the back of a fork.
  • Using a sharp knife, score diagonally across the pastry in both directions. Put in a couple of vents by pushing a sharp knife down into the middle of the pastry.
  • To make the vegan egg wash, whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, very lightly coat the wellington. Place the baking tray with the wellington in the freezer for 10 minutes before repeating with another layer of vegan egg wash and freezing for a further 10 minutes.
  • Place the baking tray in the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until golden and flaky. Beautifully layered colours of delicious vegetables encased in puff pastry will be the end result, which, served with some shiitake gravy is heaven on earth.
  • For the Gravy: Soak the dried shiitake and kombu in two cups of warm water for 30 minutes. Remove the soaked mushrooms and reserve the soaking water, saving the kombu for another recipe. Slice the caps of the fresh mushrooms thinly and discard the stems. Heat a splash or two of water in a small pan and sauté the mushrooms, garlic and onion over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Lower the heat, sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and slowly add the soaking water while stirring with a wooden spoon to stop the flour from going lumpy. Keep stirring until the gravy begins to simmer and thicken. Add the tamari, mirin, rice syrup and thyme and more water to reach desired consistency. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Serve as is or blend to a cream.


Use any remaining filling and leftover pastry to make mini pastries that are great for snacks or picnics. Any leftover vegetables also work well as a pie filling.