Sunday, October 5, 2014

Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh

Tempeh, for those readers who find this food to be foreign, is a fermented soybean product.  The reason I love tempeh is because it is so incredibly easy to digest.  Unlike tofu, which contains trypsin inhibitors that make digestion and protein absorption difficult for the body, tempeh has been fermented thus deactivating the trypsin inhibitors found in other soy products.  It is full of protein and is a wonderful substitute for those, like me, who sometimes have digestive issues from eating soy products.  Since tempeh is a fermented product, I've paired it with my homemade sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, for a probiotic rich dinner that tastes of my favorite flavors from Asian cuisine!  Adding the sauerkraut raw ensures that the beneficial probiotics are fully intact when eaten so please don't heat raw sauerkraut if you want the enzymatic benefits of it, which are plentiful.  I promise to post a how to blog for making raw sauerkraut soon!
This Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh recipe was inspired by the Buddha Bowl at Native Foods, my favorite vegan restaurant in Southern California!!  I remember it having tempeh, sauerkraut, kale and rice and having a heavenly flavor.  I think theirs is made with tahini but I've made mine with a citrus infused sesame garlic glaze and it was heavenly!!  My sister made an abundance of raw sauerkraut and brought a jar over for me so I had been thinking about what to do with it and wanted to try something new!  So, I thought why not make a Buddha bowl?!!
I'm not Buddhist but I believe there are many similar principles between a vegan lifestyle and Buddhism.  Buddha said, "If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe.  You will feel its rhythm.  Go with this flow.  Happiness lies ahead.  Meditation is key."  As an avid yogi, I feel that this concept is true and can be felt in the daily practice of yoga, meditation and the mindfulness that accompanies a whole foods plant based diet.  I don't meditate per se but believe that food can be a form of meditation.  If I choose to eat plant based foods that are full of nourishment and a higher life force frequency, then I feel more connected to the Earth and to myself.  I truly believe that eating plants provides the ability to connect deeply with the life cycle of the Earth and provides great fulfillment in the little moments of life.  Today my little moments were enjoyed during a walk down the coastline with my dog and little beach kitty.


Practicing beach yoga is my favorite...
... and remembering always that there is little point in working towards a beautiful body if you do  not also have a beautiful heart.  Practicing ahimsa allows me to work towards both.

Speaking of ahimsa, doing no harm, let's talk tempeh! Yay for cruelty free protein that is yummy and Earth friendly!  When you steam the tempeh, it softens the patty and makes for a tender and flavorful result.  I've chosen to combine a pan fried and steamed method to seal in the marinade for excellent flavor.  It's so easy, I promise!

Citrus Infused Sesame Garlic Tempeh  (Serves 2)
1 package tempeh, organic and gluten free
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
1 Tbsp.  liquid sweetener such as coconut nectar or honey
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste
3 cups curly kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup raw sauerkraut
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
1 cup jasmine rice, brown or white
2 cups water
Coconut oil for cooking

1. In a large bowl, mix the sesame oil, tamari, liquid sweetener, orange juice, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.  Whisk together to incorporate. 
2. Remove tempeh from package and either cut into triangles or cubes. I prefer triangles because they make for a pretty presentation and sit atop the kale quite easily.  Place tempeh in sauce, saturate each piece evenly, allow to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature.
3.  In a medium sized pot, add 1 cup rice and two cups water.  Bring to a roaring boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  Cooking times vary so check your rice bag for specific cooking time.  I usually just keep an eye on my rice and once the water has been absorbed, I turn off the heat but keep it covered to trap the heat.
4.  While the rice cooks, take a medium sized skillet and add a small amount of coconut oil.  Once the oil is melted add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Once the onions are translucent, remove from the pan and set aside.
5.  Using the same pan, remove the tempeh from the marinade and add to pan.  Quickly pan fry on each side for two minutes over medium heat.  Then reduce the heat to low, add the remaining marinade and cover.  Allow to steam on each side for about 5 minutes or until the outside is golden brown. 
6.  While the tempeh steams, bring a medium sized fry pan to medium heat and add a very small amount of coconut oil, about 1/2 tsp. Add the kale and stir to coat in oil and then add a dash or two of tamari sauce. Stir a few more times and allow to cook for about 1 minute.  When the kale begins to wilt, reduce the heat to low. 

To a small plate or bowl, add the rice, then top with kale, add the onions and sauerkraut, top with two slices of tempeh and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.  Serve with a small side of tamari and optional sriracha.  Enjoy!

We were lucky to have a wonderful sunset to watch from the deck as we ate our yummy tempeh.  Perfect Sunday!  Thank you for stopping by Venturing Vegan! I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you do, please feel free to leave a comment or share your cooking creation on instagram with #venturingvegan.  Happy eats!

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