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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Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Sometimes I eat chocolate chips for lunch.

Sometimes after a period of eating random bits and pieces of food-that-isn’t-really-food for lunch, my personal trainer/aspiring dietitian self decides that I should act like a grownup and actually plan, prep, and cook food to have on hand all week for lunches. Planning is key for me to stay on track.

Some of my challenges:

1. It needs to be portable and not require heating in the event that I am spending the day studying somewhere, or going between the gym and home throughout the day.

2. It needs to be delicious. I get bored easily.

3. It needs to have a substantial amount of nutrients (protein, healthy carbs, healthy fat, vitamins). A basic salad is going to leave me hungry and make it harder to resist treats. Like chocolate chips.

4. The prepping and cooking needs to be simple enough that I will actually do it.

Solution: Quinoa and black bean salad, baby spinach, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado.

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Here is the salad recipe from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites. I am posting it in its original form, but I also added zucchini to mine because I had some left in the fridge. This is a good way to use up veggies that you have on hand.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 tsp olive oil

4 tsp fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp minced scallions

1 15-oz can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked)

1 large can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh)

1 cup diced bell peppers (I used a mixture of red and green)

2 tsp minced green chiles

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve. Using a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed. Allow to cool.

Combine the oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and scallions in a small bowl. This is important so that the spices are distributed evenly. Add the beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, chiles, cooled quinoa, and salt and pepper.

I had this salad on its own, in the larger salad that you see above, and as part of a breakfast burrito. While I like the recipe overall, I think that it could use a little boost. I would recommend increasing the spice amounts if you are someone who likes a lot of flavor.

Enjoy!

Corn Tortillas

A few weeks ago, I needed corn tortillas for an enchilada recipe. I could not find a single corn tortilla in the grocery store, so when I saw that masa harina was on sale, I thought, “Yay! New challenge!” It turns out that it’s pretty easy to make tortillas. I just used the instructions on the bag of masa harina.

Corn Tortillas
from the Maseca masa harina bag

Makes 16 tortillas

  • 2 c Maseca
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/4 c water

Combine the masa harina with salt and water to form a dough. Dough should be smooth and not sticky. If the dough feels dry, add water one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Keep dough covered with a damp cloth.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, and roll each portion into a ball, keeping them covered when not in use.

Unless you are lucky enough to have a tortilla press, you will need to use a rolling pin. Place a ball of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Roll the dough out until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter (it will be very thin).

Carefully place the circle of dough into a heated frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, approximately 50 seconds on each side. It should be slightly browned on each side. Keep cooked tortillas under a cloth until ready for use. I haven’t figured out how to get them perfectly round, but maybe you will have better luck.

Black Bean Chilaquiles

I have come to some conclusions recently.

Conclusion #1: I need to post on here once in awhile. I had dinner with some food bloggers, some of whom post something every day! I should be able to handle posting at least every couple of weeks….right?

Conclusion #2: I am crazy. My husband says so, and I can’t disagree. The recipe below calls for crushed baked tortilla chips, so what did I do? I made my own tortillas, baked them, and then crushed them. What could have been a 45 minute dinner took me twice as long. Hopefully you are saner than I am. If not, see here for tortilla making instructions.

This recipe for Black Bean Chilaquiles from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites is one of my favorite dinner recipes. You could easily alter the recipe to use different vegetables, add in meat in place of (or in addition to) the beans, or use a different kind of cheese.

Black Bean Chilaquiles
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat Favorites

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 c black beans (15 oz. can drained and rinsed)
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1.5 c diced tomatoes (I used canned)
  • 2 c crushed baked tortilla chips
  • 8 oz. fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot 50% Light Cheddar)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 c chopped fresh spinach or Swiss chard
  • 2 c salsa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add in black beans, corn, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add in chopped greens and cook for 1-3 minutes. Immediately drain and set aside.

Lightly spray an 8×8 dish with cooking spray or oil. Layer 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the dish. Spoon the black bean mixture over the chips and top with about 2/3 of the cheese. Spread the chopped greens evenly over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of salsa over the greens, then top with the remaining 1 cup of chips, 1 cup of salsa, and remaining cheese.

Cook for 35-40 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

The slice doesn’t really hold together on the plate, but it still tastes good!