Posts Tagged ‘tempeh’

Tasty Tuesday: Tempeh Tacos

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Tempeh, originated in Indonesia, is an important staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets. What exactly IS tempeh you are wondering? It is a food derived from cooked and fermented soybeans that bind together to form a patty. Tempeh is not the same thing as tofu (which is also derived from soybeans but undergoes a much different preparation process). For those who are not crazy about tofu, but want to include soy in their diet as a low-fat, high protein energy source, tempeh is a great option! It has a vastly different texture to it then tofu does. It is more crumbly and chunky. It differs nutritionally as well. Some people are more inclined to eat tempeh because it is fermented in the preparation process. Additionally tempeh usually has other grains added to it such as barely or millet. You can generally find tempeh in the refrigerator section of your local health food store.

What can you do with Tempeh? It is typically a good “meat substitute” in dishes where you would use ground beef or turkey such as chili, lasagna, or TACOS! Tempeh is quite versatile and it’s mild flavor can easily be adapted to a variety of dishes. Check out this easy peasy lemon squeezy recipe for Tempeh Tacos!

Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 12 oz package of plain tempeh (plain meaning unflavored, okay to use if various grains are added to it), chopped

juice from 2 limes

2 tablespoons taco seasoning (I usually make a bunch at once and then store it in a spice jar)

1/4 – 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

salt to taste

taco shells or tortillas

salsa

avocado, sliced

green onion, chopped

I use this vegan “cheese” sauce when making tacos…although I replace the pimentos with roasted red pepper.

Directions:

Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add tempeh, stir to thoroughly mix oil, onion and tempeh. Add lime juice and taco seasoning. Stir to coat. Allow to cook until tempeh turns brownish in color, turning occasionally. Add cilantro and cook an additional minute or two. Serve in taco shells with taco fixings. Enjoy!

-Sarah

Vegan FAQ

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I have observed a growing interest in people wanting to explore a plant-based diet and reduce consumption of animal products. I believe there are a few contributing factors to this trend including recent media on the topic and current research. Additionally there is a growing concern for the ecological impact of our food choices as well as a shift in thought regarding what foods are considered healthy.

While I have been a vegetarian for 16 years, I am still newer to being a vegan. I made the switch from vegetarian to vegan about 3 years ago. I get asked questions all the time about my family’s diet and thought I would answer some of the frequently asked questions about raising a vegan family.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite question: What do you eat for protein? We eat beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and other whole grains.

And the other favorite question: Why are you vegan? I believe a plant based diet carries great health benefits (primarily in disease prevention) and is an eco-friendly lifestyle choice. I also am not comfortable with the animal treatment practices of most agricultural businesses.

What does being vegan mean to you? For us it means not eating animal products or by products.

What milk substitutes do you drink? Most people assume we drink soy milk, however we don’t. Primarily because we eat tofu and tempeh on a fairly regular basis and I am careful not to consume too much soy. So instead we drink almond, rice, coconut, and hemp milk.

Are you 100% strict all the time? I find being a vegetarian in social situations to be fairly easy. Most people understand what it means and are respectful and even accommodating. However I find being vegan way more challenging in social settings. Most people don’t know what it means and generally there are no vegan options available at social events.  For example at a children’s birthday party there is typically cheese pizza and ice cream with cake. Or a well meaning friend will invite us to dinner and serve bean and cheese burritos or a cheese lasagna. I can appreciate that they have tried hard to prepare a vegetarian friendly meal but don’t fully understand our dietary preferences. Therefore in social situations I am more lax about dairy consumption (not meat though) as I am still figuring out how to navigate the social aspect of veganism with young children. Also since meat is not in desserts, my children don’t feel as though they are missing out not eating a piece of chicken at a picnic. However they sure as heck want a piece of cake at a birthday party and so I bend on those occasions. Also because we choose to be vegan (as opposed to being dairy free due to an allergy) I am comfortable with minimal amounts of dairy here and there.

Does it bother you when people eat meat in front of you? Nope not at all! 🙂

Do you ever crave meat? Rarely. I am pretty sure during my third pregnancy I said something about wanting chocolate covered bacon to my husband 🙂 but 99% of the time the thought of eating meat never occurs to me. I will admit that I usually think ribs smell amazing at BBQs…although at 32 years of age I have never actually eaten ribs despite how yummy I think they smell.

Do you ever crave dairy products? I honestly don’t. I think it’s because I quickly realized how much better I felt once I eliminated dairy from my diet.

Do your kids ask to eat meat? They are very curious about meat and will ask questions about it, but they have yet to ask if they can try some. Granted they are still very young and are at home with me, so their exposure to the meat eating world is still somewhat limited. They don’t yet understand it’s the exception rather than the norm to be vegetarian.

Do your kids ask to eat dairy?  They will ask for yogurt, ice cream, and cheese. There are several dairy-free options for these items made from rice, almond, coconut, or soy so usually I can usually offer them a satisfying substitute.

Will you let your kids eat meat if they want to? Yes. First though I would explain 1) where meat comes from and 2) why we have chosen not to eat it. If they still are interested, then they can choose to eat meat at a friend’s house, at a social event, or at a restaurant. However I will not prepare or serve meat in our home.

Is it possible to be a vegan while pregnant? Yep! I was during my third pregnancy and plan to be during any future pregnancies.

Is it possible to be a vegan while breastfeeding? Yep! I made the switch to vegan while my second son was still nursing and have been vegan the entire past year of nursing my third son.

Is it possible for athletes to be vegan? Yep! While I am not an actual athlete, I do a great deal of running on a vegan diet. My husband is also an avid runner and weight lifter all on a vegan diet. Brendan Brazier is a well known vegan athlete who created a line of vegan protein supplements geared for athletes.

Is it possible for vegans to eat out?  Yes, with limitations. We have found ethic restaurants such as Thai or Indian to have the best vegan options.

Do you think you’ll always be vegan? I can’t imagine not being vegan so while I can’t say for sure what the future holds, my best guess is yes I will continue to follow a vegan diet indefinitely.

For more information about vegan diets check out Vegan Action.

Have you explored a vegan diet? If so what was your motivation to do so? And what was your experience with it?

-Sarah

Recipe: Vegan “BLT” Sandwich

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I made this for dinner tonight and it was super yummy and sooo easy that I thought I would share the recipe. You might be aware that you can buy vegetarian “bacon” however it is typically heavily processed and often full of questionable ingredients. Being vegan (for me) is about eating healthy whole foods so the convenient fake meat substitutes are rarely on my grocery list or in my fridge.

In this plant-based version of a BLT the ‘bacon” is actually tempeh. Tempeh is a soy product, however it is different than tofu. Some nutritionist think that tempeh is a healthier choice than tofu because it is made from fermented soy. I like to buy my tempeh from Trader Joe’s.  I basically love all things Trader Joe’s but their package of organic tempeh for $1.69 is one of my favorite products (which I hope they do not discontinue!! If you are a regular at Trader Joe’s you know that have a tendency to discontinue products at random). The ingredients in Trader Joe’s brand of Tempeh are all familiar foods which include: organic soybeans, water, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, and lactic acid (from plant sources). The other great thing about this product is that it has 20 grams of protein per serving! That makes this vegan smile! As well as gives me a great answer to the commonly asked question “where do you get your protein from?”

There are many different delicious ways to use/prepare tempeh, but this BLT sandwich is my current favorite. The following recipe will make 4 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

One package of tempeh

8 slices of bread

1 Roma tomato

4 leaves of lettuce

vegan mayonnaise (oragnic Vegenaise is my favorite brand)

Oil (a high heat oil such as safflower oil works best)

Onion powder

garlic powder

Soy Sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

Directions:

Cut tempeh in half lengthwise and width-wise to create four squares of tempeh. Heat oil in pan. Place tempeh in pan. Flip over when golden brown on the bottom side. Sprinkle liberally with onion, powder and garlic powder. Squirt with soy sauce to taste. Continue to fry in pan until both sides are golden brown. Assemble sandwich on toasted bread including one slice of tempeh, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, and lettuce on each.

That’s it! It serioulsy takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and is a deliciously healthy alternative to a traditional BLT sandwich. Serve with soup and salad for a complete meal.

 

-Sarah

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Vegan “Chicken” Strips

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

 

There are now several meat alternatives and substitutes available on the market. There are vegetarian burgers, hot dogs, bacon, chicken strips, and even ribs. (Vegetarian ribs? Now that’s an oxymoron!). Sometimes when someone is new to being a vegetarian or wants to reduce their meat intake they will stock up on these types of products assuming that they are a healthy alternative. However if you look at the list of ingredients on the package, you might question what it is you are actually eating? They are often heavily processed and full of GMO soy. Therefore we avoid most brands of “fake meat” substitutes.

Uncooked tempeh

Making delicious homemade vegan “chicken” strips is super easy! You only need 5 ingredients and they take less than 10 minutes to make. The main ingredient is Tempeh. Never heard of it, huh? Don’t be scared to give it a try! It’s really versatile and adapts to flavors of any dish. If you have a hard time with the texture of tofu, you might prefer tempeh as it is much firmer. Also many people believe tempeh is healthier than tofu because it is a fermented soy product. Some brands add grains such as barley, millet, and rice into them. I usually buy Trader Joe’s organic tempeh because it’s unflavored and only costs $1.69. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you can typically find tempeh in the refrigerator section of any health food store. Tempeh is considered a high-protein, low-fat food. For example the Trader Joe’s brand has 20grams of protein and 11grams per a 240 calorie serving.

Tempeh sliced and ready to be dipped

Ingredients:
Tempeh
Coconut milk (Thai Kitchen is the brand I like to use; the low-fat one works best in this recipe)
Flour
High heat oil such as Safflower Oil (not sure about what oil to use? check out this chart)
Salt

Sizzling

Directions:
1. Cut tempeh into slices
2. Heat oil to medium heat for frying
3. Dip slices in coconut milk and cover in flour
4. Fry in oil on each side for about 5 minutes
5. Sprinkle with salt and serve with your favorite dip such as honey mustard or BBQ sauce.

Lunch is ready!

In our house we simply call these Tempeh Sticks and they are definitely a favorite “go-to” lunch or snack. If you try making them let me know what you think!

-Sarah

Ever see someone with dreadlocks and feel curious about them, but afraid to ask? Check out tomorrow’s post where I will answer some Frequently Asked Questions about Dreadlocks.