Tempeh and Green Okra With Grains Recipe for Post-Gastrectomy

Health Writer
Erin L. Boyle.

Here’s the second of two recipes Chef Hans Rueffert shared with HealthCentral for those who’ve had a gastrectomy (stomach removal surgery). These recipes are also useful if you haven’t had stomach removal surgery, proving both delicious and nutritious.

(The first recipe is his hummus, with a unique twist on flavor.

Rueffer, who made his name as the second-generation chef-owner of the celebrated Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia, was a competitor on season one of "The Next Food Network Star" (he took home third place) and is a stomach cancer survivor.

To read more recipes, or to see Hans in action, watch him cook in videos in the kitchen. You can also find more of his recipes in his cookbook, "Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow."

Tempeh and Green Okra With Grain

Serves 4-6

“This is a versatile, plant-based dish that became a staple for me when learning to eat after my surgery,” Rueffert writes. “It uses tempeh, which is a soy-based meat alternative, like tofu. It’s made from whole soy beans which are softened by soaking. The beans are then cooked, slightly fermented, and formed into a firm patty or block.”

ingredients tempeh and green okra

Credit: Erin L. Boyle


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups green okra, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup pre-cooked rice or whole-grain sorghum and quinoa (optional)
  • Drizzle of honey to taste (optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes, for garnish


Step one

In a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil with three to four cloves of fresh garlic.

fried garlic

Credit: Erin L. Boyle

As soon as the garlic begins to toast, becoming translucent, add the tempeh. Cook until slightly toasted and crispy around the edges. Add salt and mix well.

fried tempeh

Credit: Erin L. Boyle

Remove toasted tempeh to a bowl and set aside to prepare okra.

Step two

Using the same skillet as the tempeh, add remaining olive oil over high heat. Add spices, heating until aromatic. Immediately add the chopped okra for a quick sauté.

fried okra

Credit: Erin L. Boyle

Turn off the heat; there will be enough residual heat for the okra to become crunchy, but not raw. Do not overcook.

Step three

Add tempeh back in with okra. Mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Serving suggestion

The tempeh and okra mixture makes a great side dish on its own; or as a main dish, you can serve it over rice or whole-grain sorghum and tri-colored quinoa. Add a drizzle of local honey plus a bit more spice if you wish. Garnish with cherry tomatoes. Whatever you don’t finish, save for lunch or a snack. It’s great cold or warmed with a fried egg.

See more helpful articles:

Hummus Recipe for After a Gastrectomy

What Is a Gastrectomy?

Tips for Cooking and Eating After a Gastrectomy