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Hamburger Helper Remixed

March 3, 2011

I have Hamburger Helper issues.  I blame Joey.

When I first met him he lived in a house with 3 other guys.  As you can imagine, the house was none too clean and healthy eating definitely wasn’t being done there.  Watching Joey eat his dinner of HH straight from the pot was gross enough but even worse was seeing that same dirty HH pot sitting in the kitchen over a week later.  That pot belonged on Fear Factor.

I was convinced that HH could be remade healthy and meatless.  And that it would be just as simple to make as the boxed stuff.

I was right, as usual.

Tempeh Helper

Inspired by Post Punk Kitchen


Serves two hungry people

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 oz small shell pasta (I used quinoa shells)
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth

For the seasoning mix:

3 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or arrowroot or cornstarch)
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Have a lid at the ready because you’ll need to cover it at some point.

Drizzle the oil in the pan and tear the tempeh into bite sized pieces, adding them to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, until tempeh is lightly browned. In the meantime, mix the seasoning together in a mixing bowl.

Add vegetable broth to the tempeh to deglaze the pan. Add the 3 cups of water and seasoning mix, giving a good stir to get it all mixed in. Add the pasta and cover. Bring the heat up to a boil. Once boiling, you can reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once. Remove the lid, and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to your liking, usually about 3 minutes. Taste for salt.

Serve topped with “cheese” sauce.

“Cheese” Sauce:

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
dash of salt
dash ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (less if you’re a mustard hater like Joey)

Mix all ingredients together and microwave for 30 seconds or until thick the pour over tempeh helper mixture.

Pour on that “cheese.”  I think this would be really good with real cheese as well, I just happen to love the taste of nutritional yeast and when I gave my cheese loving boyfriend the option of using real cheese he chose the “cheese” too so you can trust the nutritional yeast cheese is delicious.

I don’t know what real Hamburger Helper tastes like (I do know what it smells and sounds like and neither are pretty…) but this tastes pretty damn good and it was a heck of a lot healthier than the “real” stuff.  Real in what sense, I ask.

And there’s even some green in there 🙂

Happy Thursday!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 7:21 AM

    Cool, that looks nice. But what is a hamburger helper anyway, I’ve never heard of it. But I think the pasta is good enough with the creamy look and my favorite ingredients.
    So for more healthy recipes, you can go to :
    Check it out. Hope you enjoy it.

    • March 3, 2011 8:15 AM

      Hamburger Helper is a boxed dinner that comes with pasta and a packet of seasoning then you add your own meat and cook it all together.

  2. March 3, 2011 9:21 AM

    This is an awesome recipe! My roommate would love this! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. March 3, 2011 10:53 AM

    THis looks awesome! I think I’ve had Hamburger Helper once in my life – we weren’t too big on hamburger in my house growing up.

  4. March 3, 2011 1:37 PM

    I’ve never had hamburger helper before! Omg love your tempeh recipe. I need to try it 🙂

  5. March 3, 2011 2:13 PM

    This looks awesome!!! Waaaaaaaay better then the “real” Hamburger Helper.. although there really isn’t anything real about the actual product.

  6. March 3, 2011 6:42 PM

    This looks so tasty! Love your healthified version of this boxed “classic”…if you want to call it that. Can’t wait to try this out!

  7. March 4, 2011 1:39 PM

    I love that you added peas! 😀 YUM!


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