Way back when, when the idea of food and healing was a budding, but intriguing concept, I decided to become a full-blown vegan. Could what you eat actually affect how you feel? Veganism was just starting to become a thing and starting to gain traction as a healthy way to eat and live. Yet, I was in still in high school and not yet up to speed on what healthy eating really was, just a teenager intrigued by the notion that what we ate could shift our health.
While I do not consider myself a vegan today, the principles of veganism and the positive benefits have stuck with me. I still eat a heavily plant-based diet and feel pretty confident with the well researched, true healing benefits to eating a lot less meat, more greens and mixing up my proteins with plant-based options such as beans, tofu, and tempeh.
You might be interested in shifting to a more plant-based way of eating too. In that case, you might want to give tempeh a try. If tofu always seemed to bland for you, tempeh is like tofu’s more bold cousin. Tempeh is fermented soy, so it imparts more of a tangy taste and is much denser than tofu.
Are you running out to buy tempeh yet?
Here’s more good news. You can cube tempeh and put it in stir fries and bowls as I did in the recipe below. You can also crumble it and use it as a meat substitute in chilis and other recipes that call for ground meat. Because it is made from soy, there is no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and yet it is still high in protein.
Are you wondering about eating too much soy, and if it’s safe? Soy was getting a bad rap for a while, some for good reason. A lot of soy is genetically modified and highly processed. Soybean oil, for example, is the primary oil found in junky snack foods. Soy foods like tempeh and tofu are perfectly fine to eat. Be sure to buy organic, which will ensure it is not genetically modified or processed.
Try this Tempeh and Broccoli Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce. It might convert you to a more plant based way of eating after all.
Tempeh and Broccoli Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes 4 servings
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
12 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons honey (preferably local)
1 clove garlic, smashed
1-inch knob of ginger, sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into medium-sized florets (stem removed)
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (preferably local)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce (more or less depending on your spice tolerance)
1. Prep the tempeh: tempeh needs to be marinated or simmered in a broth before you cook with it. In a saucepan, add the vegetable stock, honey, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and add the cubed tempeh. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain. Remove the ginger slices and set aside.
2. Steam or microwave the broccoli: place the broccoli in a microwave proof bowl, cover and cook until tender. Alternatively, fill a large pot 1/4 filled with water and bring to a simmer. Add the broccoli and cook for about 3 minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
3. Saute the vegetables: in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Add the pepper slices and stir every few minutes. After 5 minutes, add the broccoli and tempeh and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. At this point, you may add in the rice, as I did, or you can leave it aside. Turn off the heat.
4. Make the peanut sauce: in a mini food prep or blender, add the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, water and Sriracha sauce. Blend until smooth. Add in another few tablespoons of water to thin the sauce.
5. Divide the tempeh and vegetables into four equal bowls, add the rice if you have not done so yet and drizzle the peanut sauce.