Tag Archives: tempeh

TLAT — My New Favorite Sandwich

I LOVE the TLT at Om Cafe in Ferndale (and now Traverse City too!). I developed a bread/sandwich thing while pregnant and certain aspects of it have not yet left me. I still crave that sandwich regularly, but haven’t had it in several weeks.

Today I got the babe down for a nap and found myself starving — I only had juice I made this morning. What I really wanted was that TLT. Then I realized, I had the ingredients to make a pretty good rip-off myself.

I started with organic tempeh. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a bunch of fermented soybeans smashed together into a brick. It’s really high in both fiber and protein and also has good amounts of iron and calcium.

I started by cutting the brick in half, then cutting each half into three thin slices. I browned the slices in a sauté pan in a little bit of oil and seasoned them with Miracle Blend from Michigan’s own Alden Mill House.

sandwichI popped a couple of slices of bread into the toaster and sliced a small tomato and an avocado. My favorite method for that is to cut the avocado into two halves, use your knife to make slices while still in the shell, then use a large spoon to scoop them all out at once.

I grabbed my Organic Girl 50/50 blend and a jar of Follow Your Heart Pesto Vegenaise I picked up a couple of weeks ago but hadn’t tried yet.

In about 5 minutes, I built this sandwich and I have to say — DELICIOUS. This will definitely be a go-to when I’m having a TLT craving. Don’t worry, OM. I’m still your biggest fan.

Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

I recently stopped by my favorite fruit and vegetable stand  to pick up a few things for dinner. I had glanced at a few recipes earlier in the day for stuffed acorn squash and knew I had most of the ingredients at home, so I just picked up two acorn squash, an onion, some mushrooms, some herbs and hoped for the best. Of course, I didn’t get around to making it, so when I had to run to my hometown this weekend I brought all the ingredients with me so I would have some “real” vegetarian food to eat while I’m here. I made it quickly when I got into town and, thanks to my early-riser nephews, I  have time to write this blog this morning.  🙂

There were several recipes for stuffed acorn squash that sounded good. Usually I end up combining several recipes, but when I came across this one on Healthy Crush: A Love Affair with Living Well, I realized I had all of the ingredients, so I decided  to make it verbatim.

This would be a great recipe for vegan Thanksgiving — it’s beautiful, it looks like fall and it tastes great. AND, there is a ton of extra filling so any meat-eaters could try it — it’s already gotten the thumbs up from 5 meat-eaters who tasted it last night. This recipe proves that eating healthy and eating vegan don’t have to be boring or bland.

• 2 large acorn squash
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• sea salt and pepper to taste
• 2 c. quinoa, uncooked
• 1 med. yellow onion
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 1 c. chopped mushrooms (any variety)
• 1 pkg. organic tempeh or 1 c. chickpeas
• 1 c. chopped fresh basil
• 2/3 c. raisins (I used golden)
• 2/3 c. pine nuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds (I had pepitas on hand, so I went with those — I think walnuts would be good too)
• A few splashes of soy sauce or tamari
• A sprinkle of cayenne (mom’s not into heat, so she didn’t have any and I didn’t bring my own — so I omitted)
• A sprinkling of chopped fresh sage (I imagine jarred rubbed sage would be just fine too)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds. Place in oven-proof baking dish face up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes.

2.  While the squash is baking — make the stuffing! First prepare quinoa according to package directions. Place 2 c. quinoa with about 4 c. water (I always do just under — maybe 3 1/2-3 3/4 c. water). Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

3. Dice/chop onions, mushrooms, garlic and tempeh and or chickpeas (I used tempeh because I had it on hand) and saute with a tiny bit of oil and a few splashes of soy sauce in a large saute pan. I actually started with the onions and garlic, then added in the mushrooms and tempeh. I sprinkled with salt and pepper, tasted and adjusted — adding a bit more soy sauce.

4. Add cooked quinoa to mixture and mix well. It seems like a lot — and it is. But the ratio ends up working really nicely together.

5. Add raisins, basil and nuts to the mixture.

6. At this point, the acorn squash should be just about done. (It really was perfect timing). Overfill with the mixture — I piled it as high as I could without it spilling over. If you’re aren’t vegan, Healthy Crush recommends topping with some goat cheese. I imagine feta or parm would be pretty good to. Place back in oven for 15 more minutes. The squash should be beginning to brown a bit and everything should be heated through.

7. Sprinkle with chopped/rubbed sage and dig in! There will be tons of stuffing leftover, but it’s delicious on its own too. If you like, the mixture will freeze easily for you to eat as a side dish another time.

Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh

I’ve never cooked tempeh before and I’ve only eaten it once or twice. Basically, D doesn’t like “fake” meat, so I assumed he wouldn’t like it because it’s kind of “meaty.” Then I saw some at the store and decided “screw it,” and bought it anyway. I decided to slip it into a dish and we’d see what he says. Like when someone swears they don’t like Chinese food, then you make them sweet and sour tofu and they love it. Or when you’re sure you don’t like green olives, but when presented with tomato juice and vodka, it changes everything (that would be me).

But I digress…I did a quick search for tempeh recipes and quickly came upon one that sounded unique — something that’s neither Asian or Mexican (which seems to be happening a lot lately). I stumbled on the recipe on the blog 101 Cookbooks, which had gotten the recipe from Australian cookbook author Jude Blereau.

The recipe definitely was a success! We both loved it (D was glad I decided to ignore his imaginary tempeh aversion!) and it was so nice to have a completely new flavor going on. The recipe calls for one 10 oz. package of tempeh and I had two 8 oz. packages on hand, so I just decided to go for it and throw both in. This was fine, but I really should have also doubled the orange glaze/sauce. The flavor was there and it definitely seeped into the quinoa I served it over, but you can never have too much sauce, right? The more the merrier I say.

It was really easy and really delicious. I’ll definitely make this again soon.

OH — not sure what the heck tempeh is? Check out www.tempeh.info — but don’t be afraid. There’s talk of fermentation and mold, but it’s made out of soybeans, just like tofu. It’s a great source of protein, is great for digestion, heart health, it’s said to ease menopause symptoms and so much more. And don’t be afraid if it’s a little black or looks moldy — that’s normal.

On with the recipe!

• 1 c. freshly squeezed orange juice (4 big navel oranges did it for me)
• 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
• 2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. mirin
• 2 tsp. maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
• 2 small garlic gloves, crushed
• roughly 10 oz tempeh or extra firm tofu
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1/2 lime
• a handful of cilantro leaves

1. Put the orange juice in a bowl. Squeeze grated ginger or the bowl to extract the juices (I used cheesecloth, but you can just use your fingers/hands obviously), then discard the pulp. Add the maple syrup, tamari (I used soy sauce), mirin (oops — I forgot to buy some at the store! Since it sits somewhere between sake and rice vinegar, I used rice vinegar, then put a little extra syrup in for sweetness), ground coriander and garlic. Mix and set aside.

2. Cut the tempeh or tofu into thin-ish bite-sized pieces, patting tofu dry with paper towel if that’s what you’re using. I was using tempeh, so I cut the entire block in half lengthwise (so I had two long, thin rectangles), then cut it into triangles, to mimic the picture on 101 Cookbooks.

3. Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the tempeh in a single layer and fry for 5 minutes or until golden underneath. Then flip and cook the other side for 5 minutes (this was the only other problem with doubling the tempeh — there wasn’t room for all of it to fry at once, but I worked it out).

4. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over it from time to time (I mostly just stirred it up/flipped the tempeh around from time to time…). Again, I wish I had doubled it considering the fact that I used 16 oz. of tempeh. But for 10 oz., I’m sure this amount of sauce is perfect.

5. Serve it drizzled with any extra sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze a wedge of lime over it before eating. I served it over mixed quinoa (half traditional, half red), which was delicious and perfect! My friend Erin schooled me on quinoa when I told her about this dish. I knew it was delicious and had a lot of protein, but did you know quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, by the way) is the only non-animal complete protein containing all essential amino acids? It has more protein than any of its grain counterparts and is supposed to digest easier than other grains. (And it cooks in about 15 minutes, versus the 45 rice takes — I like that!)

I had some kale on hand, so I served this with some kale on the side…with a ridiculously good peanut sauce. I’ve tampered with the recipe a bit since I posted it (essentially adding 1/2 to 3/4 can of coconut milk), but I first came upon this kale-peanut sauce combo thanks to my friend Angela at our first cooking club gathering. Since there are some similar flavors going on in both dishes (ginger, soy, garlic, rice wine vinegar…) I decided to go for it. I mean, you can’t go wrong with peanut sauce in any situation, I say.

I’m officially a tempeh convert… in fact, I’m off to make a new recipe now — stand by!