Archive for Tofu/Tempeh

Hungarian Goulash (or GHOULash, for Halloween:)

Ok, so when I looked Hungarian Goulash up before writing this post, I realized that my version is actually not that much like authentic Hungarian Goulash.  However, this is my take on the Hungarian Goulash my mom used to make when I was growing up which was, in fact, inspired by my father’s Hungarian roots.  The version on which I grew up was basically ground beef and onions, seasoned with paprika and probably some other spices and then mixed into pasta.  I’m sure there were canned foods involved too.  It was one of the few meat dishes I really remember enjoying.

I made a few changes, of course.  I pressed some extra-firm tofu and seasoned it with paprika, oregano, and sage, then mixed it in with sauteed cabbage, spinach, and tomatoes, then served the whole thing over quinoa.  You can certainly use pasta instead of quinoa, but I’ve been doing a lot of homemade candy taste-testing, so need to keep things a little lower on the glycemic index.

  • 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, preferably frozen and thawed
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 big clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup jarred strained tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • Cooked quinoa or pasta

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onion, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and turn the heat down just a bit.  While the onions are cooking, press as much water as you can out of the tofu and crumble it up.  When the onions are soft and starting to caramelize, stir in the tofu and spread it, more or less, into a single layer on the pan.  Cook until the tofu is browned, then give it a stir and continue to brown on the other side.  Move the tofu and onions to the side of the pan and add the cabbage, and spinach, then sprinkle with salt, cover and cook for a few minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes and paprika, then crumble the oregano and sage between your fingers as you add them to the pan.  Cover and cook for a few more minutes.  Stir everything in the pan together and clear a space in the middle of the pan, add a little oil, and cook the garlic directly on the pan for a minute or so.  When the garlic is fragrant, pour the tomato sauce and tamari over it, then stir it all together, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve over quinoa or pasta.  Enjoy!

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Tofu and Market Veggie Sauté

It’s always so great when the market opens in April to give us fresh, local greens; and I’m so grateful for the hothouse tomatoes after a LONG Winter.  Come June, though, I’m ready for a little more color, and maybe something slightly less leafy, at the Farmers’ Market.  I’m happy to report that the time has come.  This morning, we found carrots, sugar snap peas, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, green garlic, garlic scapes, baby walla walla onions, and of course big beautiful bunches of kale, spinach, salad greens to which our loyalty remains even when their more colorful counterparts finally come into season.  There’s more too; visit the market and see!

We like to sleep in on Saturday mornings, which means rolling out of bed and getting straight to the market – no time for eating!  We munched on our first farm carrots and sugar snap peas of the season, but we were hungry by the time we got home!  So, we took stock of our bounty and made a delicious and simple tofu and veggie sauté.   If you don’t like tofu, skip it and use a different protein.  If you bought herbs on your trip to the market or you have some in your garden, by all means, use what you like.  Vary the vegetables as you like, but use them generously!

This makes enough for 2-3 hungry people, but you can adjust as needed…

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large baby walla walla onion, thinly
  • 1/2 pound extra firm tofu (preferably frozen and thawed), diced
  • 3-4 inches garlic scape, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (or so) of sugar snap peas, cut in thirds
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups cooked rice (or other grain)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large cast iron (0r stainless) skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, pick up your skillet and tilt in a circle until it’s generously coated.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then add walla walla onions and tofu.   Spread into a single layer and  leave undisturbed for a few minutes.  Once the tofu is browned, flip it and spread again into a single layer.  Add the garlic scapes and sauté for a few more minutes.  Add the spinach and stir through until it begins to wilt.  Add the tomatoes and sugar snap peas.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Give the veggie mixture a few stirs, then layer the rice on top and leave it for a few minutes to let the steam finish cooking the vegetables.   Stir the rice through and let it cook another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Enjoy!

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Szechwan Tempeh

This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire for those days when you truly only have 15 minutes to make a meal.  It is that quick and doesn’t require anything to be prepped ahead.  And, it is really yummy.  Even my kids, who aren’t particularly fond of tempeh, ate it with gusto.  Serve the tempeh and sauce over any cooked grain or over noodles with some steamed broccoli or greens on the side and you have a complete, well-balanced, delicious meal!  This recipe will serve 4 people with a grain and vegetable.   

This recipe is slightly adapted from Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair, a book I highly recommend. 

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or refined coconut oil
  • 1 (8-oz) package of tempeh, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup or other sweetener (I cut this to 1 Tablespoon, but used agave, which is sweeter.  Next time, I’ll probably use btw 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut sugar – you can always add more if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or hot pepper oil
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, then add tempeh in a single layer.  Do this in batches if it doesn’t all fit at once.  Saute until browned on both sides and turn heat off.  In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and water until the miso is dissolved.  Add tamari, mirin, vinegar, sweetener, and sesame oil, and whisk again.  Pour sauce over tempeh and bring to a low simmer (keep the heat low to protect the beneficial enzymes in the miso).  Simmer for 5 minutes or so, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Garnish with scallions and serve.  Enjoy!

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Slowing down…and Miso-Vegetable Soup

A good percentage of my family was home for most of last week with the chicken pox, or taking care of people with the chicken pox.  While this might sound like something less than desireable, it was really a wonderful blessing.  It made me think about our culture and the fact that we have very few natural opportunities to slow down and just be with ourselves these days.  We have phones and email that go everywhere we do, so that car rides and hikes are always in danger of becoming conferences and business meetings rather than opportunities for reflection.  We have machines that dry our clothes, so that most of us don’t have that quiet time outside hanging them on the line.  We have vaccinations that keep us and our children from getting sick, so that we don’t have to take time from work or out of our normal life to be home recuperating.  Of course, the benefits of all of these things are many and I would never argue that, but they also come at a cost.

Being at home without any thoughts of leaving gave us time to be together, as well as time to be with alone with each of ourselves.  After two days, I felt a shift in my body, and my mind opened to a presence that has alluded me for at least the last few months.  Now that everyone is better, it’s a little hard for all of us to think about getting back into the fray.  We truly enjoyed each other in a way that we sometimes don’t when we have so many other things coming at us – work, playdates, getting to the bus on time.   

So, while I know that the week to come will bring rushing and arguing and traffic and everything else that comes with a normal week, I hope to retain some of the calm, connectedness that we’ve experienced in the past week.  I think I’ll turn my phone off more.  It’s finally warm and sunny enough to hang my laundry again.  I might even pull out my book for a few minutes in the middle of the day, and take the time to meditate.  And, I know that I’ll put other things aside to sit with my children more and appreciate some quiet with them amidst the fray…

Here is a recipe that has served us well in the past week, and will continue to serve us well when we want to devote our time and energy to other things, but still eat a nourishing meal.  Miso soup doesn’t have to be any more than miso, water, and seaweed, but even as a more elaborate soup, it’s simple and quick to make and will cooperate with whatever you have in your refrigerator. 

You can use whatever type of miso you want, and the amounts you use will depend on the type and your preference for the strength of the soup.  Do be aware, though, that some types of miso contain gluten.  For those who avoid soy, you can use soy-free chickpea miso and skip the tofu, maybe adding some beans for protein.  I now that aduki bean miso is also available, though I haven’t come across it in Boulder yet. 

One important note is that you never want to boil miso, as it’s a live food and too much heat destroys the beneficial enzymes. 

  • 1 Tablespoon oil (I use olive oil for everything, but you could also use sesame oil, coconut oil, or your favorite cooking oil)
  • 1 small onion, minced (or when scallions are in season, use those)
  • 1/2 pound tofu, cubed (I prefer to freeze my tofu, then thaw and press before use, but that is optional)
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 cups chopped greens (cabbage, spinach, chard – whatever you choose)
  • 1/4 cup wakame flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari, or more to taste ( or salt)
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 3-4 Tablespoons red miso
  • 3-4 Tablespoons mellow white miso
  • dash of toasted sesame oil
  • optional additions: very thinly sliced potato, cooked grains or noodles, frozen peas, sesame seeds, chopped parsley or cilantro, to garnish

Heat a soup pot to medium heat, then add the olive oil and, after about 30 seconds, add the onions.  Cook until soft and lightly browned, then add the tofu and continue to cook undisturbed until it’s lightly browned on the first side.  Flip it around and brown the second side.  Add the carrots and greens and cook until they begin to soften.  Add the wakame, water, and salt or tamari, bring to a boil, and continue to cook until the carrots are soft.  Turn the heat off and ladle some of the broth into a bowl.  Add the miso to the hot broth, stir to dissolve, then add back into the soup.  Add more miso and/or salt/tamari to taste and add a splash of toasted sesame oil.  Garnish as desired.  Sit, take a deep breath, and enjoy!

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Winter Squash and Kale Sauté with Almond Butter Sauce

This is a really great Fall dish, just right for the end of the Farmers’ Market season, when there is plenty of local Winter Squash and kale.  I love cubed and roasted Winter squash, especially delicata, so I roast a bunch at a time and use some for this meal and save the rest for snacking, salads, etc.  The original recipe was for stuffed Winter Squash, but I’ve embellished it by adding tempeh and quinoa.  Both versions are delicious – great for Thanksgiving!    

By the way, the original version for stuffed squash was given to me by a friend from Minnesota who got it from a cooking class at her local co-op.  I wish I knew the name of the author, but I can’t find the original recipe. 

  • 1 lb Winter Squash (I love delicata, but you can also use butternut or any other sweet squash you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh*, chopped
  • ¼ cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • ½-1 bunch kale or other green, chopped
  • About ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 3/4-1 cup hot water, or more if needed
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari, or more, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • Pinch curry powder (optional).can use ginger or garlic
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Toasted almonds: chopped, slivered or sliced:  add before serving

Peel and seed the squash and chop it into 1/2 inch squares.  If you are using a squash with ridges, like delicata, don’t worry if a bit of the skin stays on.  Toss with olive oil and bake at 375 to 400 degrees until squash is tender to your liking.  Doneness depends on taste, ranging from just tender to browned and carmelized. 

While the squash is baking, heat oil in large skillet.  Sauté onion until lightly browned, then add the tempeh and continue to cook until browned.  Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.  Add greens and water, checking that there is enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet.  Cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the greens begin to feel tender.  Meanwhile, combine the almond butter, hot water, tamari, lemon or vinegar and spices, if using.   Stir the roasted squash and quinoa into the kale/mushroom mixture, then stir in about half of the sauce, continuing to add more to taste.  Reserve any extra sauce for drizzling on top, or for a dipping sauce for veggies or another meal. Top with almonds and enjoy!   

*you can cook the tempeh as is, but poaching it in a flavored broth will give it a little more flavor and more tender texture.  Just slice the tempeh into thin slices (preferably on the diagonal), then stir together 3/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons tamari, a splash of toasted sesame oil, and a bit of agave, if desired, in a small saucepan and add the sliced tempeh.  Simmer, covered,  until liquid has been absorbed.  If I’m in a rush, I sometimes cheat and crank the heat up – just be careful not to burn it to the pan! 

Variation: For stuffed squash, simply cut it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle a layer of olive oil on the cut surface and place it cut side down on a baking sheet with sides.  Bake at 375 to 400 degrees until soft.  It will release some liquid, which will burn and get sticky, so you’ll want to keep that on your baking sheet, rather than baked onto your oven…(Suggestion: while you have the oven on, roast an extra squash or two, then mash and freeze for butternut squash soup.)  Meanwhile, make the filling, with or without the tempeh and quinoa, and serve inside the squash half, topped with chopped or sliced almonds.

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Walnut Miso Dressing (or dipping sauce)

I found this recipe on the 101 Cookbooks blog – a blog that is well worth following, by the way.   The dressing sounded intriguing, but I’m doing a cleanse of sorts, so I altered it a bit to meet my needs.  I used it on a chopped salad, but I also like it with quinoa and vegetables and as a dip and I think it would be great on a veggie burger too.  See below for some recipe suggestions…

By the way, I use a Magic Bullet to make this and other nut-based dressings, as well as for a variety of other things like chopping flaxseeds and other nuts and seeds, blending frozen fruit into a quick frozen treat, etc, etc.  Yes, it’s one of those “as seen on tv” things.  I received it as a gift from my sister-in-law and I have truly used it at least once a day since then.  You don’t have to wait for the infomercial if you want to buy one; I have seen them around town at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Costco. 

Walnut-Miso Dressing

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked and dried or lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mellow white miso
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • water, 1/4 or more
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Blend walnuts, olive oil, garlic, miso, and apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup of water in a blender (or Magic Bullet:)  Add additional water to achieve the proper consistency – thick, but pourable for a dip or a bit thinner, but not watery, for a dressing.  Add some pepper and just a bit of salt, then taste and adjust if necessary. 

Walnut-Miso Quinoa: Add diced, crunchy veggies like carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, and sugar snap peas, along with lightly-steamed broccoli and cooked white beans to some cooked quinoa and dress with walnut miso dressing.

Chopped Salad: Crunchy salad greens, chopped roasted beets, diced raw carrots, chopped steamed broccoli and garbanzo beans placed on a cutting board and roughly chopped, then tossed with walnut miso dressing

Tempeh Burger: Cut one cake of tempeh into burger-sized patties and put in a medium saucepan with about 1/2 cup water, 3 Tablespoons tamari, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and 1 clove of garlic, chopped.  Turn heat to high until the liquid boils, then turn down to medium and steam the tempeh until the liquid is absorbed.  Grill, saute, or bake tempeh, then serve on a bun with lettuce, tomato and walnut miso dressing.  If you don’t have buns, serve over brown rice with green beans (below) on the side, then drizzle with walnut miso dressing.   

Walnut Miso Green Beans: Saute a shallot in olive oil until lightly browned, then add green beans and a pinch of salt and continue to saute, until green beans are tender-crisp.  Drizzle with walnut miso dressing and enjoy!

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Yakisoba

I am anxiously awaiting the opening of our Farmers’ Market in just a few short days.  In honor of the vast amount of Asian greens we got last year at the beginning of the season, I offer this recipe as an easy, quick, and delicious way to use them up!  Bok choy is used here, but cabbage and/or any leafy green would work just fine, as would broccoli.  Feel free to add more than the recipe calls for too if your veggie drawer is overstuffed, or to use noodles, rice, or quinoa.  Or any other grain you want.  And, it’s a bit of a misnomer in this case, as soba noodles have gluten in them, but any long rice noodle (I highly recommend Tinkyada brand, it does make a difference) will be great.   

  • 1 package noodles (We also love this with mochi rice flakes, which are a bit hard to come by, but a nice change)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut in half moons or chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1  carrot, cut in matchsticks
  • 5 shitakes, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups water, or a little more
  • ½ cup tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ pound tofu (omit or replace if you aren’t into tofu)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cups chopped bok choy
  • Scallions for garnish (2-3, sliced)

Cook noodles; I like to boil them for 2 minutes, then cover and turn off the heat for 20 minutes, or whatever the appropriate time is for your noodles.  In the meantime, sauté onion and garlic.  Add carrot and mushrooms and sauté a few minutes longer, then add the bok choy or greens.  Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Add water, tamari, sesame oil, tofu, and ginger and bring heat up to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer about 10 minutes, or until ready to serve.  Serve over noodles and garnish with chopped scallions. 

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