Friday Night Bites: Tempeh Bowls

IMG_2009 Another easy Friday night dinner. Between the holiday and testing recipes for a new cookbook, I needed something super easy. This marinade is courtesy of my friend Amy of From the Ground Up Wellness. It is oil free and it is unbelievably delicious! Thanks Amy. Tonight I had kale and cooked quinoa in the refrigerator and so that was in my bowl. But you can make whatever you want.

Marinated Tempeh
1 8oz package tempeh
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons chickpea miso
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Cube tempeh. Steam the tempeh in water for 10 minutes. Let cool. Mince the garlic (or use a microplane) and add to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Toss tempeh with marinade and let stand as long as you have time. Bake the tempeh in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Kale & Quinoa
Bunch of kale
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of cooked quinoa
Water

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Shred the kale and drop into the water and blanch the kale for 30 seconds. Drain.

Mince the garlic. Add a tablespoon of water to a skillet. Cook the garlic on a low flame until fragrant. Add the kale and quinoa and mix together until heated through. Place the kale and quinoa into a bowl and top with the the marinated tempeh. Enjoy!

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Mother’s Day Lunch: Spaghetti with Kale, Ramps & Peas in Cream Sauce

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The perfect lunch for me on Mother’s Day!

serves 1

1/2 package gluten-free spaghetti
2 curly kale leaves
6 ramps
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup cashew cream *
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutitional yeast (nooch)
Salt, to taste
Olive oil

Get the spaghetti going.

Very thinly slice the kale and ramps. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and cook the kale and ramps until bright green, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the cashew cream, lemon juice and nooch. Season with salt and then taste and adjust.

Throw the peas in with the spaghetti to quickly defrost them.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the peas and toss them in with the kale and ramps. Add the cashew cream and mix together.

Lift out the spaghetti with tongs and add it to the vegetables. Add as much pasta water as necessary to get the consistency of cream sauce that you like. I like the sauce on the thick side.

Enjoy!

* Cashew cream
My cashew cream sauce has evolved since the early days of the blog. When my son was a little baby, I would place cashews, olive oil, water and lemon juice in the food processor and then add it to my lunch. This was the fast and easy way to have a gourmet lunch between naps and nursing. Now, I make a batch of plain cashew cream and keep it in the refrigerator.  It can be sweetened for dessert or jazzed up for pasta.

To make cashew cream, soak cashews overnight and then drain the water. Add to the Vitamix or blender with enough water to cover the cashews. Let it go until the cashews become creamy. Add more water, if necessary.

Q & A + Big Bowl O’ Protein & Iron (Kale-Quinoa-Chickpea Soup)

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Us vegans…we get a lot of questions.

Q. Where do you get your protein? (The #1 question…)
A. There is protein in everything including spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, quinoa, rice, potatoes, avocados…

Q. How do you get iron? (I don’t really worry about this but here is a list…)
A. Iron rich plant sources such as kale, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, peas, green beans.

Q. Is being vegan difficult?
A. No! Ok, maybe in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!

Q. Really, it’s easy?
A. Yes, many dishes are already vegan. You just have to read or ask the waiter for the ingredients. When you want to cook for yourself, think about your favorite foods and figure out vegan substitues. For protein, think tofu or tempeh. For butter, think Earth Balance or oil. For milk, think oat milk, almond milk, hemp milk, or soy milk. For chocolate, think dark chocolate or look for the ‘v’ on the package. For ice cream, think dairy free! It is a matter of reeducation. Then it is easy!

Q. Is it expensive?
A. No! I can buy a pound of dried chickpeas for $2. And get 8 cups of cooked chickpeas out of it. That’s 8 meals such as chickpea salad, chickpeas and pasta, curried chickpeas, and chickpea stir-fry. A big bunch of carrots goes a long, long way.

This soup answers all of the above. It is packed with protein and iron. And it is so easy to make, it is not even cooking. Price per bowl: < $1.

makes 4 very big bowls

1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 carrots
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup cooked quinoa (I used tri-color quinoa tonight)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup green beans
1 cup peas (frozen)
2 stalks of curly kale
Olive oil
S and P

Dice the onion and sauté in a soup pot in olive oil. Mince the garlic and add to the pot. Slice the carrots and add to the pot. Add the stock and bring to a slow boil. Add salt with each layer of vegetables.

Add the green beans and cook until bright green. Then add the peas and cook for another minute. Finely dice the kale and add to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Tahini Dressing

IMG_0736If you read this blog, you know how I feel about kale; it is just a little too bitter and earthy for me. But considering that it is s a nutritional powerhouse filled with fiber, calcium, antioxidants, iron, and other minerals, I figure out ways to incorporate it. I blanch it in dishes like my potato-apple-kale sauté or in pasta with caramelized shallots and kale which takes the edge off.

But, raw, not so much. And, here is why. I recently read an article about supertasters, people who are hypersensitive to the bitterness in certain foods, kale being a prime example. Finally, an explanation!

So I came up with this salad and dressing which is influenced by three of my friends: Rachel, Amy and Kim. The creamy avocado dressing, combined with the sweetness of raisins, the sharpness of scallions, and the kick of the lemon juice, makes for a delicious salad. Yeah!

makes 1 serving

1 stalk of curly kale
1 scallion
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons golden hunza raisins

Creamy Avocado Tahini Dressing (makes almost 1 cup, even better the next day)
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (nooch)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
The juice of 1 lemon
S and P, to taste

Place all ingredients into the food processor and combine until smooth. Add more water if too thick.

Take the kale off the center rib and chop it finely. Thinly slice the scallions. Toast the pine nuts. Place everything into a big bowl including the raisins. Toss with as much dressing as you like. Enjoy!

Pasta with Caramelized Shallots & Kale

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I wish Rachael Ray was vegan. I love that she makes big plates and easy meals that are done in a half hour or less, like me!!! She recently made her version of this pasta on her show, and before she dumped a cup of parmigiano-reggiano on it, it was almost plant-based perfection. I remade it, with miso to add depth and touch of saltiness, and now it is vegan, healthy, and delicious. I could have eaten the whole thing myself.

serves 3 to 4

4 big shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 head of Lacinato kale
1 tablespoon chickpea miso (or sweet miso)
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
Olive oil
Salt
1 box quinoa pasta (8 oz. of any pasta you like)

Slice the shallots thinly. Mince the garlic. Add olive oil to a pan (with sides) and add the shallots and garlic. Keep the heat on medium low and caramelize the shallots until they are super soft and starting to brown.

Get the pasta going.

Take the kale off the stems and chop.

Add 1 tablespoon of miso to the shallots plus 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Whisk together until miso is dissolved.

With a few minutes to go on the pasta, add the kale to blanch it, which is a great way to take the edge off.

Drain the pasta and kale and add to the pan with the shallots. Mix well and turn out onto a big dish.

Enjoy!