April 17, 2012

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash & TEMPEH!

Okay, so I have been plant-based for over 2 years now, and I was more terrified of tempeh than most omnivores are.  In fact, it was a friend that was the one to convince to try it!

I am, of course, whole foods, plant-based, so my recipes don't include many meat or cheese substitutions - after all, the point is to be healthy and prevent disease - and eating a bunch of processed mock-meats and cheeses is not the way to achieve optimum health!

However, I discovered that tempeh is not just another mock meat - in fact, like tofu, tempeh is very minimally processed and is basically just fermented soy (remember my post about tofu?).  Like tofu, tempeh is loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, vitamins and minerals - plus, it's low in cholesterol and sodium.  You can find it in most supermarkets - around here, I know Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Health Foods Unlimited all carry it (This is the brand I really like - and they often have coupons, making this a very inexpensive protein choice!).

Unlike tofu, tempeh is made with whole soybeans, which give it a much firmer texture and more heartiness.  It's also fermented, so the soybeans are "pre-digested," making it easy to digest and allowing the body to absorb all of the minerals that soy provides.

Personally, I much preferred tempeh to tofu in terms of texture and flavor.  It will take on the flavor of any sauce you cook it with, just like tofu, however it also adds its own "nutty" flavor and texture.  I'm officially hooked!

So I remembered I had a recipe for tempeh somewhere, but had hid it, since I was too afraid to try it.  When I pulled it out, I discovered it was in the section with holiday meals - and I came across another recipe I had been meaning to try.



This Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash is most definitely reminiscent of the fall, and holidays.  Yes, I understand it's April - but do you understand how darn good this stuff is!?  Well then I'll tell you....

So, so yummy - everyone I served it too absolutely loved it - picky omnivores included.  In fact, my friend's kid could literally not stop eating the stuff.

So.......nuf' said!  MAKE THIS.

Love & Kale,
Ali

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Wild Rice Stuffed Squash
The nuttiness and crunch from the wild rice is absolutely perfect paired with the sweet softness of the squash.  This is such comfort food - all the flavors of a Sunday, home-cooked meal, without all the bad stuff.  Yum, yum and yum.
Serves:  4-5
Original recipe from Forks Over Knives.

Print here.

Ingredients:
  • 4 medium-sized acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 3/4 water or vegetable broth (I used broth for more flavor)
  • 3/4 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional - I didn't use)
  • 1-2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place squash halves, cut side down, on 1 or 2 deep baking sheets filled with an inch of water. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven, remove the water, and flip the squash so it is cut-side-up.
  2. In a medium pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth until slightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add wild rice, brown rice, mushrooms (if using), poultry seasoning, sage, black pepper, and remaining water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then simmer on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Add parsley and walnuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Spoon rice mixture into each squash. Cover in foil and return to oven. Bake for 20-25 additional minutes, or until squash is tender. Serve warm.

Ingredients

Cut squashes in half and seed them - save seeds for apocalypse 

Place squashes, cut side down, in a pan filled with a little water - bake.

Meanwhile, saute veggies

Chop up some walnuts and parsley

When rice is almost done, add parsley and walnuts

Squashes are ready to stuff!

Cute little stuffed squashes - ready for round 2 in the oven!

Done - and perfect

Comfort food at its finest....


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Tempeh Italiano
Great texture, excellent flavor - this tempeh is super easy to make and a great way to add a little extra plant-based protein to your meal.  
Serves:  4-5
Original recipe from Forks Over Knives.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed a bit with your fingers
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 - 8oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into quarters

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tamari, balsamic vinegar, garlic, vegetable broth, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, ground fennel seed, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add tempeh cutlets, and stir well to evenly coat. Transfer tempeh cubes to the prepared cookie sheet, and spread out into a single layer.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Stir tempeh with a spatula, and spread out into a single layer again. Bake for 10 to 15 more minutes or until tempeh is golden brown around edges. Remove from the oven. Serve hot or at room temperature as desired.

Ingredients

Chop up your tempeh - don't be scared!  It's supposed to look like that!

Mix marinade ingredients together and toss with tempeh strips

Line them up and get them ready for the oven!

Perfectly golden brown and delicious!

Little tempeh bites.






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