Sweet + Spicy

standard April 14, 2013 Leave a response

I’ve been on a serious salad kick this week. The warm weather plus the delicious variety of veggies now appearing in our CSA delivery makes me just pile whatever I can on a bed of lettuce and call it a meal.

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Also, my meat and potatoes husband has decided to try out the paleo diet. So instead of making one meal and adding meat to his, we’re now all out making two meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thankfully, he’s completely taking charge of his meal plan, shopping, prepping, and cooking, so all I have to suffer through is the bacon smell in the morning. And I no longer have to consider what he will eat when I make our meals. I can make whatever I feel like. So salad it is.

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This was by far the best idea for a salad topper I’ve ever had. I made blueberry chia syrup about a month ago, and there was about a tablespoon left stuck to a jar in the fridge that I figured needed to be eaten or tossed. So I thought why not combine my go-to chickpea marinade to the jar and see what happened. My only regret is it didn’t make more.

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Spring Salad with Blueberry Chili Balsamic Tempeh

Serves 1.

Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 block tempeh, sliced in half
  • 1 T blueberry syrup, jam, or mashed fresh berries
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 T + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, or chili powder
  • 2 cups spinach, mixed greens, or butter lettuce
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 c snap peas
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 T dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Steps:

  1. Place tempeh slices in a shallow dish and microwave or steam briefly to soften.
  2. Whisk together blueberry syrup, 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, cinnamon, Arizona Dreaming, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over tempeh, turning to coat. Let sit and marinate for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  3. Heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Add tempeh and marinade to pan. Cook, watching closely, until marinade thickens around tempeh, and slices are browned.
  4. Wash and tear lettuce into pieces in a salad bowl.
  5. Dice veggies and avocado and add to lettuce with cranberries.
  6. Combine 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil, mustard, and a dash of salt and pepper together in a jar. Seal and shake well to combine. Toss with salad.
  7. Top with warm tempeh and serve.

Squash Spaghetti

standard January 22, 2012 2 responses

Spaghetti squash has always intrigued me, but I’ve been too scared of trying to figure out how to prepare it. I’d seen a few recipes recently that made it seem easy to cook, so I finally caved in and bought one during last week’s grocery trip. My goal was to make spaghetti with it, just for fun.

Spaghetti Squash with Tempeh Marinara

Serves 4.

Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Double batch of Tempeh Marinara Sauce

Steps:

  1. Roast the whole squash in the oven at 375 for 45 min – 1 hour, until the skin softens and turns brown. Pray it doesn’t explode in your oven. 🙂
  2. Let the squash cool while you prepare the tempeh marinara.
  3. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scrape squash with two forks to pull the strands off the skin.
  4. Saute garlic in olive oil until soft. Add squash, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss together over low heat, letting the flavors blend together.
  5. Serve as you would regular spaghetti noodles, topping with marinara sauce. Sprinkle a teaspoon of nutritional yeast on top, and enjoy!

While roasting the squash, I heard a loud pop right before the timer was set to go off. The skin on my squash had sliced right open, exposing all the stringy flesh to my oven. Thankfully the pan took the brunt of the explosion rather than the oven. I would recommend checking and turning the squash every 20 minutes or so, to ensure even cooking. You can also cut the squash in half before you roast it, but the skin is much easier to cut through once its been cooked.

The squash is slightly sweet but not overly so. And it keeps a crisp texture instead of the mushiness you’d expect from cooked squash. The acidity of the sauce helps balance the sweetness. I might actually prefer this over real pasta!

 

Chickpeas and Cabbage

standard September 4, 2011 Leave a response

Not a super appetizing title, but a delicious recipe! I ate this almost every day for two weeks, I couldn’t get enough of it! Good thing I had a lot of veggies to use up – a bag of snow peas and a head of cabbage goes a long way! This was probably one of the cheapest meals I have ever made, especially considering how many meals I got out of it.

When planning my weekly menus, I kept coming across various Asian dishes that sounded interesting, but they all had too many new ingredients that I didn’t want to buy just for one dish. I figured I could just buy some snap peas, carrots, and cabbage and make something work from there. While at the store, I happened across a bottle of orange sauce that had an impressively real food ingredient list which finalized the recipe in my head.

Orange Chickpea Stir Fry

Serves 4-6; Can be served as a rice bowl or lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

(All quantities are estimates, so please adjust amounts based on taste and preferences).

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 bag of snow peas
  • 2-3 carrots, cut into match sticks
  • 1 c bulgur wheat
  • 1 c store-bought orange sauce
  • 1.5 c cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz can)
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T dried cilantro
  • 2 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 c chopped peanuts

Steps:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water. Add bulgur wheat, cover, and remove from heat. The bulgur will absorb the water and cook through in about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Toast chickpeas in a dry skillet on medium heat for a few minutes. Add orange sauce, stir to coat, and let simmer for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
  3. Remove and discard outer leaves of cabbage. Set aside middle leaves to use as wraps, if desired. Chop remaining head into thin strips. Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add chopped cabbage, carrots, and snow peas. Toss to coat in oil, and heat through for no more than 5 minutes, until veggies are warm and slightly cooked, but still crisp.
  4. Fluff the cooked  bulgur wheat with a fork, and add cilantro and sesame seed oil. Stir to combine.
  5. To make lettuce wraps, spoon a tablespoon of bulgur in each cabbage leaf. Top with veggie mixture, chickpeas, and peanuts.
  6. Or, layer bulgur wheat, veggies, and chickpeas in a bowl. Garnish with peanuts and drizzle with more orange sauce. I also added a little soy sauce to cut the sweetness of the orange.

When I first made this, I made it as lettuce wraps. The leftovers turned into the bulgur bowl for lunch the rest of the week. And then I ran out of chickpeas, but had tons of veggies still. So I improvised with crumbled tempeh (pictured). It was still delicious, but the texture of the chickpeas worked better than the tempeh.

This is definitely a new staple meal for the occasional “I don’t really feel like cooking” easy dinner rotation along with spaghetti and taco salad!