Y’all have been very patient with me as my catering and client work have gotten hectic, and I so appreciate your patience.
As you may have guessed from the title, we’re going all-out this week. Wanna impress the living daylights out of someone who’s vegan or gluten-free (or not at all vegan or gluten-free)? Make them this meal. Have someone in your life who’s worried about vegans getting enough protein? Make them this meal. If it sounds intimidating, don’t worry- you’ll see that each component is actually fairly simple and I’ll walk you through all of it.
This particular take on tempeh was the brainchild of Chef Matt Props, and he and I worked together when we owned Stay Fresh Veg to create this particular meal. Major props (PUN INTENDED) to Matt for being an incredible innovator as always.
Cannelini Bean Puree:
- 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cube bouillon (or the amount of bouillon you’d use for one cup of water)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 cup water
Put all ingredients into a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, then blend into a puree
Braised Red Cabbage:
- 1 small red cabbage, cut into thin strips
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
Heat a large pan or pot on medium-high. Add olive oil. Add cabbage, salt and vinegar and stir thoroughly. Once the cabbage has cooked down for about 6 minutes (stirring frequently), add the mustard and cook for another 3-4 minutes
Just make any simple kale chip recipe. Kale ripped into pieces, some olive oil, some salt, and an oven preheated to 400 for a couple minutes and ya done.
- 2 8oz blocks Tempeh
- 2/3 cup corn starch
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup Sriracha
- 1/3 cup tamari or Soy Sauce
- 4 Tbsp grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil
- Cut tempeh into rectangular cutlets about 1cm in thickness (for most tempeh blocks, that means cutting them in half widthwise). If they are too thick, they will not cook thoroughly. If they are too thin, they will fall apart easily.
- Place cornstarch into a shallow bowl and dredge each tempeh cutlet so that it is fully covered in a thin layer of cornstarch. Gently pat off extra starch off tempeh and set aside
- In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, siracha and tamari/soy sauce. Taste to adjust for desired levels of heat, sweetness and saltiness
- Heat a seasoned cast iron pan* on medium heat for approximately seven minutes or until hot. Once it is hot, reduce heat to medium and add oil and distribute evenly around pan. Allow oil to heat for an additional minute
- Once oil is hot enough to sizzle when tempeh is added to it, carefully place tempeh in pan. Allow it to cook undisturbed for approximately 6 minutes per side or until each side is golden-brown. If needed, add more oil as tempeh cooks. Once tempeh is cooked on both sides, turn the burner completely off
- Wipe out excess oil and starch from the pan with a paper towel
- Return tempeh to pan and pour sauce over it. Allow sauce to bubble, reduce, and coat the tempeh thoroughly as a thick glaze
*you can get away with a regular skillet, but cast iron works infinitely better here
Spread some of the cannelini puree on a plate, then pile some of the red cabbage on top of it. Layer a couple pieces of tempeh on that and finally, top the tempeh with some crispy kale. If you have a little extra sauce from the tempeh, go ahead and drizzle that in some sort of fancy way. Look at you being impressive.
This super-easy weeknight meal is healthy, cheap and filling. Cabbage leaves are boiled until soft and pliable, stuffed with a simple lentil-walnut “ground beef” and rice filling (though there’s a paleo variation, a nut-free variation and an even cheaper variation listed below), rolled up and smothered in tomato sauce, then baked. I ate these all the time while training for the Colfax Marathon because I needed hella nutrients but didn’t have as much time to cook for myself.
Yield: About 8 Servings
- 1 medium/large head green cabbage, rinsed
- 1 jar tomato-basil pasta sauce (for this recipe I like Simple Truth, which is Kroger’s generic organic brand*)
- Roughly 3 cups cooked brown rice (can be leftover)
- 1 1/4 cup green or brown lentils (or you can use 3 cups leftover cooked lentils)
- 1 bouillon cube or 2 tsp Better than Bouillon
- Roughly 1.5 cups walnuts, soaked for at least 2 hours or overnight
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (the Kroger generic brand is vegan**)
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- Optional: cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
Note: If you don’t have one or a couple of the seasoning ingredients, it’s not the end of the world. Just season the filling with what you have until it’s nice and savory and you’re happy with it. If you want to use oregano and basil instead of cumin and coriander, it’s your world.
- In a small, covered pot, bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil with the lentils and bouillon. Lower heat to medium and cook, covered, until lentils are soft but not mushy (about 20 minutes.) Remove lentils from pot and allow to cool
- In a large pot on high heat, boil roughly two quarts of water (or enough to cover the cabbage) with a teaspoon of salt. Cut around the core of the cabbage. You don’t have to cut the core out, but cut around it so that you can easily detach the leaves once they’re soft
- Once the water is boiling, add the whole cabbage. As the outer leaves cook and soften, gently detach them so that the leaves underneath can cook too. Once each leaf is soft and pliable, remove it from the water and drain in a colander
- Drain and thoroughly rinse the walnuts, then pulse in a food processor until broken into small crumbles. Add the cooled lentils and pulse until crumbly as well
- Empty the lentils, walnuts and rice into a large mixing bowl and mix together with all of the seasoning ingredients (chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, pepper and optional hot sauce/red pepper.) Taste and adjust to your liking
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Spread a large cabbage leaf out on a cutting board and cut out a triangle of the thick, stem-like piece at the bottom so that it’s easier to roll up. Spoon about three spoonfuls of filling into the middle of the leaf and roll up like a burrito or summer roll, tucking in the sides. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Repeat with each cabbage leaf until your filling is used up
- Spread about half the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan. Place each cabbage roll into the pan- it’s fine to get them really crowded. Once your cabbage rolls are all packed into the pan, spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top
- Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are wrinkly
Use cauliflower rice and substitute soaked sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds for the lentils. Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
Substitute soaked sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds for the walnuts
Omit the walnuts and just use all lentils
*if you want to make your tomato sauce from scratch, knock yourself out
**I’m not in any way affiliated with or compensated by Kroger or any affiliated brand, I just recommend some of their products because they’re on the affordable end of the spectrum and fairly widespread across the US.