Tempeh Kitchen Therapy

It was one of those Sundays where you almost convince yourself that taking the easy way out and ordering in seems fair. I had been making quite a stride with experimenting in the kitchen over the past week, so I thought well why not. But it was my heart that was telling me to forgo Seamless Web, as tempting and easy as it may be, and get off my toosh and into the kitchen. 

My poor refrigerator. It was hardly stocked, only with slight remains of smoothie ingredients, a jar of tahini, a bit of pesto, and a lemon. Most of my goodies stay stocked in my pantry, but I was not about to have trail mix for lunch (although, that's certainly been done before).

I quickly remembered the tempeh that was hidden down in the produce drawer of my fridge that I specifically bought so as to try and replicate the tempeh hash that I had last weekend from Sweet Sue's in the Catskills. That spark of inspiration hit me hard and I was rummaging through my pantry pulling out all kinds of spices in hopes to make some sort of tasteful magic happen. 

If you remember, I'm not so much into measuring exact ingredients. I just eyeball and alter to my liking, hence the reason that baking is not something that particularly tickles my fancy. 

Anyhow, here's how my Sunday kitchen therapy session, as I like to call it, went down. I diced up the tempeh, threw it in a mixing bowl and generously drizzled it with some extra virgin olive oil. Then, the magic. Cracked pepper, turmeric powder, curry powder, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and some gomasio. I went straight in for the kill and used my hands to ensure that each piece of tempeh was coated generously. [Note: turmeric apparently makes your nails yellow, so perhaps using gloves or a ziplock bag to marinade will be the smarter option next time.] 

 

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They should look a little something like this. Throw those bad boys on to a baking pan and pop into the oven on 350F and let them be, for the time being.

I then realized that quinoa would pair extremely well with the tempeh. Fortunately, I keep quinoa stocked in my pantry for spontaneous moments like this, but also because it's so versatile and can be used in nearly any dish, especially as a healthy fix in salads. Two cups of water for every cup of quinoa. The golden rule. Remember it. 

So as the tempeh was crisping in the oven and the quinoa was boiling on the stove, I wondered what kind of sauce I could whip up to complete this dish. That's where the tahini comes in. It was probably something like two tablespoons of tahini and enough olive oil to make it "drizzle worthy." And by that, I mean lifting the spoon from the mixture and watching it drizzle back into the bowl, as if I was playing with my soup. You'll know once you experiment for yourself, I hope. I sprinkled in some gomasio and more cracked pepper, gave it a stir, and that was that. 

 This is the same sauce that I used to dress my falafel earlier in the week and will likely make regular appearances in my meals now. Imagine adding some almond butter to it and then mixing it into a soba noodle salad...yum.

Back to the tempeh. You want it in the oven long enough so that it's a little crispy, but not to the point where it becomes crouton-like. Crisp edges, yet still tender in the middle. 

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Now for the purposes of serving, I scooped a generous portion of quinoa into my bowl, topped with my crispy tempeh cubes and then drizzled on that delicious tahini sauce. Because I like all ingredients to be featured in every single bite, I mixed it all together, but suit yourself.

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An excellent source of protein, fiber, zinc, omegas...you name it. I felt completely satisfied without feeling stuffed and was left with an overall boost in my energy level.

This particular dish happened to come together so well due to the random ingredients that I had in my pantry that I just so happen to enjoy, however tempeh, similar to tofu, takes the flavor of whatever it's cooked in. It's worth some experimenting and certainly is an excellent meat substitute. Imagine all the possibilities with barbecue, crushed wasabi peas, maple dijon...

For ease of reference, the ingredient list is below, sans exact ingredients of course.  

Turmeric Tempeh with Sprouted Quinoa & Gomasio Tahini Drizzle: 

Base

1 cup cooked quinoa (I used Whole Foods Organic Super Grains, a blend of white & red quinoa, millet and buckwheat that contains 51g whole grains per serving) 

Tempeh Marinade

Organic Tempeh (I used Lightlife, a favorite which contains 16g protein per serving)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Simply Organic Turmeric Powder

Simply Organic Curry Powder

Eden Organic Gomasio (a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed and sea salt) 

Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Raw Hemp Seeds

Cracked pepper

Tahini Drizzle 

Organic tahini

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Gomasio

Cracked Pepper

 

Have you cooked with tempeh before? Share below your experiences or favorite ways that you incorporate it into your dishes. 

Allison WaltonComment