Hubby Geoff likes to surprise me, and a couple of Saturdays ago he made a vegan dinner for me.  Which was so thoughtful since Geoff basically thinks that bacon and ketchup are two of the four food groups.  And Jersey Mikes, if it could, would be one as well.   Geoff respects that I eat an almost exclusively plant-based diet, so he jumped online and found a couple of recipes for a Tempeh Stir Fry and a Coconut Strawberry Ice Cream. He made a few tweaks to both, and the resulting meal was delicious.

Tempeh is one neat-o product. As plant eaters know, most often the first question that you get from an omnivore is “OMG, where do you get your protein?”  (umm….I don’t know, I buy it at Whole Foods???)  Tempeh has a ton of protein-about 13 grams per serving.  FACT-The average person in this country is NOT protein deficient.

Package of Tempeh–you can make a mean taco meat out of this stuff as well

I was schooling myself at The University of Google last week and started reading up on soy products.   OMG talk about internet research creating quite the food conundrum!  There are many advocates of soy consumption and just as many naysayers regarding its health benefits.  Here is what I came away with:

  •  Unfermented soy products such as soy milk, edamame and tofu contain phytic acid which is present even after cooking or heating. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium etc. (so why do I make sure that I take all of those vitamins and minerals daily only to wash them away with a wave of tofu????? LOL…).   When soy is fermented (think miso, tempeh and tamari), the phytic acid is neutralized. Great news, the soy is fermented.  Now your body can absorb all of those minerals.
  • Eat only organic soy products as most soy is genetically modified.  Which for some reason we allow in this country.  By law, organically-labeled products cannot be genetically modified.

Scary, yeah?   Well, here’s my take:  Be mindful but not militant.  A little organic soy milk in your coffee or some tofu is okay. But don’t embark on a plant-based diet and stuff yourself with fake soy meats and pints of tofu ice cream.  Natural colors of the rainbow always trump the beige ones (except after Ironman racing where I tend to eat a week of beige food) meaning that brightly colored fruits and veggies are are chock full of phytonutrients and are damn good for you and anything that is highly processed and typically beige-vegan or not-won’t help you become the poster child for a healthy plant-based eater.  You should consume anything that is made in a factory in moderation.  Case in point: Nutter Butters are Vegan (thanks Angie for that one!).

Tempeh-Vegetable Stir Fry with Almond-Ginger Sauce

 Tempeh Stir Fry with Almond Butter-Ginger “Peanut” Sauce

For the Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Yellow Miso
  • 1 Tbsp grated Ginger Root
  • 1 Tbsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp-1 Tbsp Siracha Sauce (organic if possible-Sky Organics is a good brand)
  • 1/3 Cup of warm water

 For the Stir-Fry

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 each 8 ounce package Tempeh, Cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 4 Carrots, cut in half lengthwise and cut thinly into half-moons
  • 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Sugar Snap Peas cut on the diagonal into thirds

Tasty Garnishes

  • ½ Cup thinly sliced Green Onions
  • ½ Cup roughly chopped Cilantro Leaves
  • ½ Cup roasted, salted Almonds, roughly chopped

 Method

  • Whisk together ingredients for sauce. Set aside
  • Heat wok over high heat.  Add oil, swirl to coat. Add tempeh and stir fry two minutes
  • Add carrots and broccoli, stir-fry two minutes
  • Add snap peas and stir-fry one minute
  • Drizzle with sauce and top with green onions, cilantro leaves and almonds
  • Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Dinner on the patio. We paired this with a bottle of Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc. The wine had just enough floral (and not to much “cat pee” smell) to complement the dish. You can see Tempo’s 4 legs in the background as he was angling for a bite or two.

The strawberry-coconut ice cream was delicious. I’ll do a whole other post regarding that as I’m off to the pool to log another swim workout. Eagleman 70.3  is just around the corner.

-LM