I spent most of last week at a conference in New Orleans. I love exploring new cities but I was excited to get back to cooking in my kitchen. Of course the food was amazing but after a week of eating out, I was ready for some greener & cleaner eating. If you’ve ever left home for a few days or more, you understand coming home to an empty kitchen. Tired from traveling, I wanted a quick, nutritious meal without having to go to the store. I seem to always have frozen artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes around. Adding a few other ingredients, this light & easy pasta was born.
Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine
Ingredients: Serves 6-8
1 lb linguine or noodles, whole wheat if you’ve got it!
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or 1 can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (Use the dehydrated ones if you can, not packed in oil)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced into 1/2 moons
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper
handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. capers
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a separate bowl, add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup hot water. Let sit for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes rehydrate and plump up. Drain and slice into thin strips.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the 2 cloves sliced garlic, sliced onion and a small pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions have reduced. If the garlic or onion sticks too much, add a little more broth.
Add the sliced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, wine and remaining broth. Continue to stir, and cook for 10 minutes allowing the sauce reduce and thicken slightly. Add the pasta at this time and cook until al-dente.
Add the cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of cooking water to the skillet. Toss the hot pasta with the chopped parsley and serve!
Per serving: 292 calories, 2g fat, 10g fiber, 11g protein
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Have you tried making your own tempeh yet? I use it in this recipe and it is incredibly light and fresh tasting. If you don’t have a fresh cake on hand, use whatever protein you want as the black bean sauce taste great on everything. We are right in the middle of asparagus season and I have been using it in most of my dishes. I can’t get enough! Use what you have on hand- The sauce is the star!
Asparagus in Black Bean Sauce
3 tbsp. chinese black bean sauce (or 1 tbsp. fermented black beans if you can find them, finely chopped)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onions, sliced very thin
1 lb. or 1 bunch asparagus- cut to 1″ pieces
2 tbsp. finely chopped/grated ginger or paste
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. tempeh
1 thai chili, minced
Steam the tempeh and asparagus using a steamer basket or microwave. Steam tempeh for 8 minutes, asparagus for 4. Set aside and chop the tempeh into cubes.
Combine ingredients for sauce and set aside.
In a hot skillet or wok, heat the canola oil. Add the minced garlic, ginger, onion and chili and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the tempeh and asparagus pieces and cook an additional 2 minutes until well coated with the ginger/garlic oil. Add the black bean sauce and stir fry about 5 minutes until sauce covers the ingredients and thickens. Serve immediately with brown rice or other hot grain.
Serves 4. Per serving: 340 calories, 16g fat., 3g fiber, 26g protein
Recently I’ve been making my own tempeh and I am hooked. The flavor is unprecedented, a complete 180 from store bought tempeh. If you have had store bought tempeh and don’t like the bitterness of it, homemade tempeh has none of that. The fermented cake gets it’s flavor from Rhizopus oligosporus, a mold similar to bread mold. The bacterium helps to partially digest the beans making the amino acids (protein) and minerals easier to digest and absorb.
Nutrition aside, tempeh is one of the cheapest sources of protein. Grocery store prices are rising and protein is usually one of the most expensive items in the cart. If you’re looking to add a low-cost, nutrient dense protein into meals, tempeh is an excellent choice. Tempeh has a rich, nutty, mushroom like flavor and can be substituted in any recipe. My favorite way to serve tempeh is to lightly fry it and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Creamy, garlic tahini sauce with fried tempeh is delicious!
You will need to purchase a starter. There are a few places online to get it, http://www.tempehonline.com is a great place and you will get the starter in a few days. While your there, you can pick up a tofu starter as that is the next cooks class topic I will be sharing. I am using soybeans in this starter recipe because they are easier to master than other types. However, you can use any type of bean you like. (Garbanzo bean tempeh changes lives and is perfect in your favorite pasta sauce).
3 cups whole soybeans (about 1lb.)
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. tempeh starter
Soak the beans overnight or 6-8 hours. From here you will need to remove the outer hull of the bean. The easiest way is to crack the beans in a food processor or with an emulsion blender. Transfer the beans to a food processor and pulse a few times. Rub the beans until the skins fall off. I place the beans in a large bowl and add water to cover. As you rub the beans the hull will rise to the top and you can scrape it off.
Cook the beans for 30-45 minutes until done. Drain the beans and dry thoroughly. Moisture is the enemy of spore growth so your beans must be dried completely.
Now you have to prep a container for incubation. You can use trays and they are definitely a greener alternative to plastic bags but I don’t think they make a good cake. In my experience, the bottom doesn’t firm up quite right. If you’ve used trays successfully, please let me know your method! I use sandwich plastic bags. Whatever you use, poke holes using a pin ¾” to and 1” apart. This will allow the mold to breathe.
Place the dried soybeans in a bowl, add 1 tbsp. vinegar and mix together. Add the tempeh starter and mix well.
Now you’re ready to fill the bags! Fill them halfway, seal and pack flat in a uniform layer no more than 1 inch thick.
There are lots of ways you can incubate your tempeh, a food dehydrator or yogurt maker works great. If your oven has a pilot light or proofing light, you can use that just add a thermometer to check the internal temperature. You might need to crack the oven door every now and then to keep the oven at the right temperature of 83-90°F for 22-28 hours. Make sure not to go over 90 as you will kill the starter and allow unwanted bacteria to grow. After 16 or so hours, you can reduce the temperature as the fermentation is now generating it’s own heat.
Once the cake is solid and has a mushroomy aroma, your tempeh is done. You can use right away, refrigerate or freeze. The flavor stays the same after freezing so you can make a batch to keep in the freezer. Take care not to stack them in the fridge as the internal heat will make the cake continue to ferment.
I hope you will try making your own tempeh. I know it seems like a lot of steps but like anything, once you do it a few times it becomes very easy. A second note, don’t be discouraged if your tempeh does not set up correctly the first time. I don’t know why but the first batch or so never turns out right at least with people I’ve talked to. So, start in small batches until you get it right. My first time was a disaster but the second attempt came out perfectly.
I will be posting a new amazing tempeh and asparagus recipe this week, just in time for your fresh tempeh use! What are your favorite tempeh recipes?
Celebrate spring with this easy weeknight salad, perfect as a light dinner or side dish. I received this lettuce and spinach in our CSA this week and wanted to use them in a hearty salad. Light, lemony and colorful and easy to throw together. Make more than you will need- the leftovers were perfect the next day for lunch.
1 cup uncooked Bulgur
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dill
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/4 cup olive oil
Place the bulgur into a large bowl and add 2 cups hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes until the bulgur is tender. In a seperate bowl, combine the beans, cucumber & red pepper. Add the cooked and cooled bulgur to the vegetable mixture and combine.
Make the dressing: combine the lemon juice, zest, cumin, dill together and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Whisk together until a vinegerrette forms. Pour over the salad, add the chopped parsley and stir to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Place lettuce and/or spinach leaves on a plate or plater and top with 1 cup of salad.
Enjoy! What are your favorite weeknight meals?