Confession: sometimes I eat the same thing over and over again until I find a new dish that I become obsessed with. It’s easy, convenient and incredibly tasty. Right now, three of my favorite foods are raw garlic kraut (which is basically fermented cabbage with garlic), pickles and tempeh. People often tell me that they don’t like the taste and texture of tempeh and to be honest, when I first tried it, I didn’t either. The trick is to find a mode of preparation that works for you. Add your favorite spices and then bake it, cook it or eat it raw.
I’ve also noticed that the taste varies from brand to brand. I usually buy Lightlife or SoyBoy tempeh as those are the brands my supermarket sells. I prefer lightlife when I don’t cook the tempeh and SoyBoy when I do cook it (the latter is also significantly cheaper). If you can, try different brands or even make your own before you dismiss it. Tempeh is low in sodium, rich in plant-based protein and high in fiber. Since it’s made from fermented soy beans, it is like a less processed version of tofu and it’s easier to digest. Here’s my favorite way to prepare it. If you try it, let me know what you think!
2 cups of arugula
1/2 cup raw garlic kraut
1/3 cup pickles
For the smokey shiitake tempeh:
4 oz tempeh
1/3 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 minced clove)
1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1 thinly sliced shallot)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
1 pinch chili flakes (optional)
1 pinch Himalayan salt
1 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp roasted peanuts
Dice the tempeh and cook it in a pan with all other ingredients (except the coconut nectar) for about 5 min on medium heat. If you’re using garlic and shallots instead of garlic and onion powder, be sure to sauté them for 3 minutes beforehand.
Add the coconut nectar at the very end and serve in a bowl with the arugula, avocado, pickles and garlic kraut. Tip: I also like to add mustard and a little nutritional yeast.