Now that temperatures have officially hit 90°, I’m more than ready to start introducing BBQ sandwiches into my diet again.
I’ve discussed my dilemma with most veggie burgers multiple times; most of the time they don’t live up to the hype and definitely don’t impress my omnivore friends. Thankfully, these BBQ sandwiches are not only perfect for a cookout, they are meaty and hearty as well. Tempeh is the perfect meat-alternative here. While I prefer making my own, store bought tempeh will do just fine. If your grocery store doesn’t stock tempeh- why not ask the produce manager? I couldn’t get it at our local Safeway so I asked the manager a few times and voila- they now stock it!
My stubbornness often works out.
No respectable BBQ sandwich is complete without coleslaw so I made this in batch in less than 10 minutes. Shredded coleslaw, carrots, little bit of Veganaise, splash of white vinegar, salt and pepper and you have homemade coleslaw by the time your tempeh is ready. If you want to make this dish even easier, thin out your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and pour over the chopped tempeh. Bake as directed below.
I liked this sandwich with big chunks of BBQ’ed tempeh but BL preferred the tempeh chopped even smaller. Oh that Midwest boy!
8 oz. tempeh
4 hamburger buns
1 recipe BBQ sauce, below
1 recipe Simple Coleslaw
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 tbsp. cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1.5 tsp. cumin
Whisk all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop tempeh into whatever size you prefer. I slice it in 1/2, then in 1/2 width wise, then into strips. Lightly spray a glass pan. Add tempeh bits and pour BBQ sauce over, reserving 1/4 cup. Gently shake so that all tempeh pieces are covered.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned and caramelized. Remove tempeh from pan and toss with reserved 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.
Assemble the sammy! You know how to do this, right?
I admit, I am kind of glad the holiday’s are over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am loving my week off from work, catching up with family & friends I haven’t seen all year, but I’m a little over the excess that happens every November & December.
What is it about coming home that turns me into a teenager again? You would think I had never had my mother’s cooking before!
Since I only return to Virginia about once a year, I try to cram as many things into one week as I can. This notion also applies to food. Making sure I hit all of my favorite spots, all in one week, is no easy feat.
Somehow though, I manage to do it year after year.
Gah! I’m full just thinking about it.
And that’s about the time I return to green smoothies & kale.
I mentioned a few weeks ago the magic of kale, and it is just as fitting as I write this today. There is something so nourishing about this little leafy green that wakes me up from too much junk and snaps me right back into place. Better than any pill or cure-all tea, I feel instantly better after incorporating more kale salads into my diet.
The nice thing about this salad is while it’s so very healthy for you, it also feels a bit naughty. Almost like I’m easing back into my clean eating plan for January. Baby steps.
I call this my protein-kale salad because it is loaded with satisfying protein. Crispy bits of tempeh, sesame seeds, and lentils. This salad will keep you full for hours- perfect for lunch after days of grazing.
Make extra of the dressing, you will want to put it on tofu, brown rice, or as a dip for vegetables. I sometimes even make it a little thicker and smear it on sprouted bagels & toast.
Creamy Kale Salad
6 cups kale
1 cup shredded carrots
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1 avocado, diced
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked french lentils
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 tbsp. oil
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. white miso paste
2 tbsp. water- or more if you like a thinner dressing
To make crispy tempeh: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large skillet. Add tempeh and spices. Stir occasionally, until most sides become golden brown and crispy. Line a plate with a dish cloth or paper towel. Spoon the tempeh onto the towel to absorb excess oil. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small blender or whisk by hand. Taste before serving- depending on the brand of tahini and miso you might need more/less salt.
To assemble: Combine kale, cabbage, & carrots for salad in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Don’t be afraid to get messy! Massaging by hand helps to break down the tough kale! Add cranberries, avocado, sesame seeds and lentils. Toss together and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with crispy tempeh and serve!
Stir-frys are my go-to weeknight meal. Easy to throw together, packed with vegetables & protein, they make for a nutrient-dense, filling dinner.
I like the green beans to still have some crunch to them. You can stir-fry them longer if you enjoy them more tender.
Spicy Green Bean Stir-Fry
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in 1/2
8 oz. tempeh, finely chopped
2 tsp. Asian chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. corn starch
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice, stir, cover and boil until tender about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Preheat your broiler. Toss the green beans, 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, and sugar together. Place onto baking sheet and boiled until beans are slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining tbsp. of oil into a skillet. Add the tempeh and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, chili paste and cook 5 minutes more.
Whisk the vegetable broth, cornstarch soy sauce & rice vinegar together. Add the charred beans to the skillet and the broth. Cook, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 more minutes. Serve over rice.
BL and I LOVE this meal, our spin on a hearty chili. Packed with fiber, protein, folate, and iron this meal is not only delicious but good for you. He made this for me when we first starting dating and it’s become a permanent meal in our house. I love brown rice here but feel free to use any whole grain you have on hand. I cannot stress enough how super easy this meal is, open a few cans of beans, add brown rice and tempeh and you have a quick weeknight meal. Not the prettiest meal but man, is it good. The filling is also great on its on, in burritos, or tossed with lettuce for “taco” salad.
Tempeh Chili and Brown Rice
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or use frozen corn. I love the roasted frozen corn from Trader Joe’s)
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 jalapeno, diced
3 tbsp. taco seasoning
1 package tempeh (1lb.)
Prepare tempeh by steaming for about 10 minutes. This step is optional but I like steaming tempeh first before crumbling it. Remove the tempeh from the steamer basket and let cool. Crumble or finely dice, set aside.
Heat a large skillet pan and add the tempeh, corn, beans, tomatoes, seasonings, and jalapeno peppers. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Serve over brown rice.
So yummy! What are your favorite 30-minute or less dinners?