VeganMoFo: Tempeh

29 Oct

I’m not sure if I was successful in warding off whatever sickness Dave had this week.  My throat feels scratchy today, like it does when you’re starting to get sick, so I’m still trying to rest and hydrate and will see how I feel tomorrow.  However, at least I’ve got some free time, so here’s a MoFo post!

Tempeh.  Most people love it or hate it.  I was ambivalent about it until I tried Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk’s Tempeh Wingz.  The recipe isn’t really WW friendly, but if you want to fall in love with tempeh give it a shot.  After trying the wingz I would regularly crave tempeh, and now I eat it probably a few times a month.

Tempeh is a traditional soy food which originated in Indonesia.  It is made by fermenting whole soy beans into a chunky-textured solid cake, and because it is less processed than tofu it has a higher content of protein, fiber and vitamins.  Tempeh is a good source of manganese, phosphorous, B vitamins, magnesium, copper and iron.

Tempeh has a nutty, earthy flavor which can be a turn off to some.  Prepared correctly though, I think tempeh is a great addition to almost any meal.  In the past you had to go to an asian market or health food store to find it, but as it has grown in popularity it has become much more easy to find in mainstream groceries.  Much like tofu, tempeh can be eaten as is, but you probably don’t want to.  It will do a lot better in a tasty marinade or sauce.

The first step to preparing tempeh is usually steaming or simmering it for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cooking tempeh gently in or over water will open it up a bit, preparing it to accept whatever flavors you are going to add.  This step will also ensure that you’re tempeh doesn’t dry out during cooking.  I don’t always steam or simmer my tempeh if I’m in a rush, but it definitely improves the flavor and texture.

One of my favorite tempeh recipes of late is the Buffalo Tempeh from Appetite for Reduction.  It’s moist and spicy and low fat and all around wonderful.  I would highly recommend buying AFR if you don’t have it yet, but if you want to troll the internet for the recipe it’s posted here.

Shredded or crumbled tempeh makes a great meat substitute.  These Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce are a little bit of work, but they’re really delicious, and make a beautiful presentation.  Tempeh also makes a great “sausage”, a la this Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from The PPK.  Shred tempeh with a cheese grater and you’ll have a stand in for ground beef, to be used in tacos or chili.

To make TLT’s (tempeh lettuce tomato), I like to use Smoky Tempeh Strips by Lightlife.  Of course, you can find a recipe to make your own tempeh bacon, but sometimes you can’t beat convenience.

In my kitchen, I usually pair tempeh with a sweet and smoky glaze or sauce.  This Smoky Maple-Glazed Tempeh was easy and delicious.  My Tempeh Pepper Steak is also a great choice for dinner.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
Wikipedia – Tempeh

Thursday, 10/27/11

breakfast – Blueberry Muffin Larabar
AM snack – pear, apple, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – garam masala roasted delicata squash rings, salad (romaine, arugula, shredded carrot, spicy roasted chickpeas, roasted radishes, bacon flavored chips, Sanctuary dressing), one piece multigrain toast
PM snack – 6 oz chocolate cultured coconut yogurt
dinner – Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree, 1 cup mashed potatoes made with almond milk

exercise – 45 minutes elliptical

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  1
activity points earned:  3

Friday, 10/28/11

breakfast – 1 cup optimum slim cereal with unsweetened almond milk and sliced banana
AM snack – apple, pear, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – garam masala roasted delicata squash rings, salad (romaine, arugula, spicy roasted chickpeas, roasted radishes, Sanctuary dressing), spelt English muffin
dinner – 2 slices bread, beet soup with green coriander seed, crostini with roasted red pepper spread, shell peas in olive oil sauce with cavolo nero and roasted eggplant, five dates, 28 oz beer
after dinner – 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer, 2 oz Tings

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  31

Saturday, 10/29/11

breakfast – grits with nutritional yeast, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with soy milk
lunch – breaded vegan fish fillet with 1 1/2 Tbs ketchup, 3 carrots with Sanctuary Dressing
dinner – 2 cups fettuccine with mushroom pasta sauce, 4 oz red wine
snack – 2 oz Tings

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  13

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