Tag Archives: tempeh

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

Getting Through the Weekend

12 Sep

When I left off Wednesday (didn’t mean to go that long between posts), I said that I wanted to try to leave more points unused this week, hopefully coming in below my points allotment.  That hasn’t exactly happened; we had two social engagements this weekend, which I’ll talk more about below, and weekends in general continue to be the hardest part of this whole thing for me.  I find it easy to eat healthfully and exercise during the week, but the weekends are usually when we hang out with friends and let loose a little.  I’m still trying to figure out the best strategies to deal with weekends.  I was so busy Saturday and Sunday that I had to catch up with tracking this afternoon, and I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible from memory.

Also, I haven’t talked about cooking too much on this blog yet, so I’ll give you a few methods/pseudo-recipes that I’ve used in the past few days.

Thursday, 9/8/11

breakfast – peanut butter cookie Larabar, nectarine
AM snack – 1/2 a cantaloupe, coffee with vanilla soy creamer, orange Emergen-C
lunch – stirfry (peanut & sesame oils, onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, carrot, celery, cabbage, edamame, tamari, ume plum vinegar and white pepper) over brown rice
PM snack – peach soy yogurt
dinner – salad (field greens mix, 5 Gardein Crispy Tenders, 1 tsp bacon flavored chips, agave-mustard dressing), 24 oz MGD 64

Exercise – Couch to 5K Week 7 Day 2 (25 minutes running, 10 minutes walking)

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  3
exercise points earned:  6

For a quick and easy honey mustard-like dressing, mix together equal parts reduced-fat vegan mayo, yellow mustard and agave nectar.  I used a bit less agave nectar than the other ingredients since it was plenty sweet.  Adding a pinch of bacon flavored chips brings that extra crunch and flavor.  Also, I’m in love with Gardein Crispy Tenders.  They’re the closest thing to chicken strips that I’ve found, and they’re so good hot from the oven.

Friday, 9/9/11

breakfast – 3/4 cup multigrain cereal squares, 1/3 cup vanilla sunrise cereal, raspberries, almond milk
AM snack – 4 figs
lunch – stirfry (peanut & sesame oils, onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, carrot, celery, cabbage, edamame, tamari, ume plum vinegar and white pepper) over brown rice, 3 figs
PM snack – 1/4 cup wasabi wow snack mix
PM snack 2 – banana with 1 tsp peanut butter
dinner – burrito, 6 oz red wine

Exercise – 30 minutes walking

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  10
activity points earned:  2

Saturday, 9/10/11

We went to a wedding Saturday evening and I kept my drinkage to a minimum since I was driving.  (There’s a tip – if you’re trying to curb your drinking, volunteer to be designated driver.  Then you won’t have any choice!)  Some friends who were there from out of town crashed at our place afterwards, and we ended up staying up waaaaaay too late.  It was such a beautiful wedding, and we got to spend time with people we don’t see very often, so I think it was all worth it.

breakfast – smoothie (banana, strawberries, 2 scoops Amazing Grass chocolate superfood, hemp protein powder, almond milk, 1/2 tsp molasses, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), coffee with almond milk
lunch – salad (leaf lettuce, 5 Gardein Crispy Tenders, 2 tsp bacon flavored chips, agave-mustard dressing)
PM snack – double fiber English muffin with a Tofutti American slice
dinner (at the wedding) – 1 cup salad greens with salsa, 10 tortilla chips, mushroom taco with 2 Tbs guacamole, 1 cup black beans, 20 oz light beer, 5 oz wine, 4 oz champagne
after the wedding – 5 oz wine, 2 1/2 cups plain popcorn

Exercise – Couch to 5K Week 7 Day 3 (25 minutes running, 10 minutes walking)

daily points used:  29
activity points earned:  6
weekly points used:  18
activity points used:  4

Dave & I at the wedding reception, which was held on a tennis court surrounded by these tall walls of ivy.

Yesterday, we hosted a group of friends for the first NFL Sunday of the season.  We served up a nacho bar, although I didn’t actually eat any nachos.  I chose to make tostadas instead because I felt I could load up on more healthy toppings that way, without eating a million chips.

Sunday, 9/11/11

breakfast – a banana, coffee with almond milk
the rest of the day – three tostadas with refried beans, vegan queso, roasted onions & peppers, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce and cilantro, 10 tortilla chips, a taco salad with the same ingredients as the toastadas, 84 oz light beer (a lot of beer, yes, but it was spread out over a long day and night)

daily points used:  29
activity points used:  14

The secret to most excellent vegan nachos or tostadas, Food for Lovers Vegan Queso. It's surprisingly low-cal/low-fat, and delicious.

I made the refried beans from scratch, because it’s so easy to make them that you might as well not waste money on the canned kind.  I minced a medium white onion and a few garlic cloves, and cooked them in two Tablespoons of oil over low heat with a pinch of salt, until very soft and fragrant.  The trick here is to cook them slowly, without browning, which will really bring out the flavor.  If you want, add a few dashes of ground cumin and coriander when the onions are done, stir, and cook for about a minute.  Add some of your pinto beans, about a quarter to a third of them, and mash with a potato masher until there are few whole beans left.  (I used four cans of pinto beans for a large batch.)    Add the rest of the beans and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, mix well, and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for a while then mash some more of the beans.  Add water if the mixture becomes too dry.  Keep simmering, mashing, and adding water until there are very few whole beans and the mixture is the thickness and texture that you want.  The beans will thicken as they sit and cool; you can always add more water to thin.

Monday, 9/12/11

breakfast – banana, coffee with almond milk
lunch – salad (iceberg lettuce, beets, broccoli, 2 Tbs each chickpeas, kidney beans and green peas, 1 tsp sunflower seeds, 1 1/2 Tbs italian dressing), personal-sized pizza with mushrooms, green peppers and extra sauce
PM snack – 4 figs
dinner – smoky maple-glazed tempeh, roasted brussels sprouts

daily points used:  27

This tempeh was really good, for an off-the-cuff dinner.  To make it, I cut a block of tempeh into six pieces and marinated it in a nonstick saute pan with 2 Tbs maple syrup, 1 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs tamari, 1/4 tsp liquid smoke, a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and water to bring it halfway up the tempeh.  Marinated for about an hour, flipping the tempeh halfway through.  Put the pan with the tempeh and marinade over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.  Flip the tempeh pieces over and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.  Flip again to glaze the other side.  Watch the marinade carefully, as the glaze can reduce quickly toward the end of cooking.

This method would probably work with any marinade mixture, but I think having the sweet element (like maple syrup or agave nectar) helps to form the glaze.

I roasted the brussels sprouts very simply with a quick spray of oil, salt and pepper.  Roasting veggies is my favorite way to cook them when I’m looking for an easy side dish.  To roast any vegetable, turn the oven on to somewhere between 400 and 450 degrees F.  Cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces; the more surface area there is, the more brown you can get.  Spread the veggies into a single layer in a roasting pan, lined with parchment or foil if you want.  Spray or drizzle with a little bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you want, and toss to coat.  Roast until tender and browned.  You’ll get a feel for how long it takes certain vegetables to cook;  These brussels sprouts were done after 30 minutes.  Just check and stir every 15 minutes or so and take them out when they look and feel ready!