Polynesian Cabbage Wrap: A plant-forward dish with a tempeh twist


Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Intermountain Healthcare chefs are offering Polynesian Cabbage Wraps in their cafeterias on May 26 — and the recipe for anyone to make at home.

"These wraps include cabbage, pineapple, peanuts and a homemade teriyaki sauce, and use ground tempeh instead of animal protein," said Josh Broadbent, executive sous chef for Intermountain Healthcare. "Tempeh is a cake made from soybeans, rather than a loaf like tofu. It's high in protein and less manipulated than tofu, creating opportunities for different textures and eating experiences."

The cabbage wraps are plant-forward, meaning plant foods, rather than animal proteins, are the focus of the meal.

Tempeh is a protein-rich food that is generally high in fiber and low in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium, which makes it a smart choice as part of a heart-healthy eating plan. Tempeh also contains considerable amounts of calcium to support bone health. The fermentation process used in creating tempeh contributes to a variety of potential health benefits including gut health.

"Everything in this dish is very fresh and light, and can be purchased at most any grocery store," Broadbent said. "It's also easy to make, and excellent for spring and summer."

Here's the recipe:

Yield: 5 Servings


Polynesian Cabbage Wrap

  • 2½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ pounds tempeh, thawed, diced
  • 2½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2½ tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp ginger puree
  • 2½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 2½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 1¼ tsp sesame seed
  • 5 each cabbage leaves


  • 2½ cups pineapple, diced
  • 2½ tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1¾ tbsp peanuts
  • 5 each lime wedges


  1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the sesame oil and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the diced tempeh and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, spices, ginger, garlic, sugar and sesame seeds.
  4. Continue cooking and stirring for approximately 5 more minutes.
  5. Use the mixture immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance.

Plate Assembly:

  1. Place the mixture in the center of a piece of cabbage – divide evenly between the five pieces of cabbage.
  2. Top with some pineapple, cilantro, peanuts, & a squeeze of fresh lime juice

Nutrition facts: 395 Calories / 445 mg Sodium / 37% cal./fat

For more information, go to www.intermountainhealthcare.org.

Aley Davis


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