Chipotle tempeh tacos with kohlrabi slaw

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Our CSA pickup is one of my favorite things about summer. Due to some scheduling issues with the pickup time, we made a switch this year to First Root Farm, and we’ve been really happy with the quality and variety so far. After years of participating in a CSA, I’ve discovered that our vegetable intake is much higher when we have it than when we don’t, and it also pushes me to be more creative with meal planning.

With this recipe, I was able to use kohlrabi, beets, carrots, and cilantro from the CSA share, and a chili pepper from my garden. The fresh, cool slaw nicely offsets the savory, spicy tempeh, and let me tell you, this tempeh is SPICY. If your tolerance for spice is in the non-masochistic category, you can dial back on the heat by removing the seeds from the chili pepper in the slaw, and by using chipotle powder in place of canned chipotle chilis.

Chipotle tempeh tacos with kohlrabi slaw

Makes 4-6 tacos

The slaw

2 small kohlrabi bulbs, peeled

1 medium beet, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

Juice from 1/2 lime

1 serrano chili pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt, to taste

The tempeh

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp vegetable oil

14.5 oz can tomato sauce (plain)

2-3 chipotle chili peppers in Adobo sauce

2 tbsp white vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey), add more to taste

1 package tempeh

Other

Whole wheat tortillas (taco or fajita-sized)

Fresh avocado or guacamole

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 scallion, sliced

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Prepare the slaw by shredding the kohlrabi, beet, and carrots. If you have a food processor with a shredding disc, this goes very quickly. If you only have a box grater, you may want to delegate to a friend or family member while you get started on the tempeh. Once everything is shredded, place into a large bowl, add the chili, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Toss to combine, and set aside.

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Look how gorgeous it is!

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat, add the shallots, and saute until they begin to brown. Stir in the tomato sauce, chipotles, vinegar, lime juice, garlic powder, and maple syrup. Taste, and add an additional 1-2 tbsp maple syrup if needed. Cook for 2 minutes to combine flavors. Chop the tempeh into cubes, and add to the sauce. Bring to a boil very briefly, then lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes).

Assemble by filling the tortillas with tempeh, slaw, fresh avocado or guacamole, and garnish with some sliced scallion and cilantro leaves. If you try this recipe, feel free to leave me a comment with feedback!

*Note: Your tempeh should look a bit saucier than what is pictured below. I made some tweaks to the recipe, but didn’t get a good picture.

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Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Lemon Tofu

Things are busy around here. Hubs has been job hunting for the past couple of months, which has involved lots of meet-ups and networking events.  I’ve had regular evening clients at the gym, along with work to do for my dietetics program. To ensure that we have reasonably nutritious dinners, it has become even more important to plan our meals, stock up on groceries, and make dinners that will last more than one night. Combinations of protein, vegetables, and whole grains tend to fit the bill, providing a variety of nutrients, and acting as a palette for herbs and spices. I’m going to explain the thought process in case anyone out there is trying to figure out how to develop a recipe.

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When planning a meal, I usually start with a general idea, and then decide on the specifics as I go along. In this case, I decided on tofu, wild rice, and roasted vegetables. I then decided on cauliflower and carrots, based on textures, flavors, and nutrients. Carrots and cumin are often paired together, which evolved into the decision to use Moroccan spices with the vegetables. I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty for ideas, and I ended up adapting the flavors used in his “Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad.” I was dry-frying the tofu while the vegetables were roasting, and I decided that some acidity was needed to balance out the sweet, spicy flavors of the vegetables, so I went with fresh lemon juice on the tofu. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but it totally did. Sure, I could have done more with the tofu, but I was trying to keep it simple for a weeknight. I tried to find a decent photo of the meal, but I couldn’t. I’m a terrible photographer. You will just have to take my word for it that it is delicious.

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Lemon Tofu

14 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu (I use Nasoya Lite Firm Tofu)

1 lemon

1 head of cauliflower

3 large carrots

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

Red bell pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare wild rice, or grain of your choice, according to the package directions. While the rice is cooking, drain the water from the tofu, wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, and place a bowl or other weight on top to gently squeeze out excess water. While the tofu is pressing, begin preparing the vegetables. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl. Chop the vegetables (excluding cilantro) into bite-sized pieces and place into a shallow baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, mix to combine, add the spices, and mix again. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring the vegetables halfway through. 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. It is VERY important to use a nonstick pan for this cooking method since you are not using any oil. Remove the towels from the tofu,  slice the tofu into small triangles or rectangles, and place into the frying pan in a single layer. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes, gently pressing down on each piece with a spatula. Once the tofu is golden brown on the bottom, flip over, and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Lower the heat to “low,” and squeeze lemon juice over the tofu, stirring to coat. Serve with wild rice and vegetables, and garnish vegetables with fresh cilantro.

You guys, I’m just yolking.

Hahaha. The title of this post makes me laugh. So dorky, I know, but I just finished my microbiology final exam, and I am in rare form. Microbiology is a really interesting subject, but my professor made it a terrible class. I’m pretty excited that it’s over. I decided to celebrate with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a dinner of healthy leftovers. My dinner was so delicious that I decided to share the recipe with you. Full disclaimer: My husband actually made it, but I modified it, so it still counts. Really.

Garlicky Black-Eyed Peas & Greens with Eggs, Feta, and Sriracha

Adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

Adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

Garlicky Black-Eyed Peas and Greens: Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

2 cups dried black eyed peas
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch (or 3/4 lb) of collard greens or greens of your choice (kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.)
1 T olive oil
2 to 4 T minced garlic (I used 3-4)
1 t dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Optional

cooked rice
chopped scallions or red onions
lemon wedges or hot pepper vinegar

Rinse the black-eyed peas. Place them in a soup pot with garlic cloves and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, until tender, adding water occasionally as needed. When the peas are tender, if most of the water has not been absorbed, lightly drain them. Cover and set aside.

Rinse the greens and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the minced garlic and thyme for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the damp green and continue to stir until they are wilted but still bright green. Stir the greens into the beans and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The instructions above are basically copied from the original recipe. I decided that it was a little boring, which is where the yolk part of this post comes in. I eat a lot of eggs. Until a couple of years ago, I was anti-yolk. It grossed me out. Well, now I can’t seem to get enough. There are so many dishes that are 1000x better with eggs on top! Like the sweet potato and kale hash that we made a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t take a picture, so I can’t remember exactly what was in it (but it was good). I also try to not eat a ton of rice unless the deliciousness of a dish is dependent on rice. So anyway, I decided to top my peas and greens with a couple of eggs-over-medium for some richness, a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese for some saltiness, and a drizzle of Sriracha for heat and acidity. The final result was healthy and delicious. Healthylicious.

Try it!

Fun with our 6/10/10 CSA pickup- Kohlrabi

I’m still really excited about our CSA. Can you tell? This week’s share (from L to R) included broccoli, bibb lettuce, cilantro, kohlrabi, Chioggia beets, and Swiss chard. Along the top are Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and Asian turnips.

Kohlrabi? What the heck is that? Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family, but the globe of it looks more like a crazy turnip variety. People use the leaves of the plant, but hubs and I weren’t crazy about the flavor. The globe has a fairly mild, sweet flavor with a tiny bit of kick to it. When sliced, it looked a little like a granny smith apple. Honestly, I was skeptical. A lot of people eat it raw, but I didn’t see the appeal, so I decided to roast it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roasted, this stuff was like crack. I couldn’t get enough! I don’t even know how to describe its wonderfulness, but I highly recommend trying it.