Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sesame-Honey Tempeh and Quinoa Bowl

I typically choose non-soy protein sources when I eat vegetarian (beans, nuts, cheese, etc.), but every so often I'll make a meal with tofu or tempeh. It's not that I'm anti-soy protein, but all too often soy proteins are pretending to be meat instead of just simply enjoyed for what they are. If you make this recipe expecting it to feel like a dish made with ground meat, you'll be disappointed, but if you're looking for a hearty vegan meal full of bright flavors and satisfying protein, this is just the ticket. (If tempeh really isn't your thing, ground pork or chicken could be substituted for a vaguely larb-like dish.) This recipe gets an even bigger protein boost from quinoa, a trendy grain I've now been eating and adoring for years. Periodically I get into a real quinoa kick and sneak it into every recipe I can, swapping it for all manner of grains and even tossing it on my salads. Here quinoa serves as a traditional grain base, eagerly soaking up a vibrant Asian-inspired dressing, its chewiness the perfect textural contrast to crunchy carrots and firm tempeh. The flavors used here are pretty common and traditional, but they appear frequently in Asian cooking because they are so wonderfully balanced and complementary. If you need to fill up in the healthiest way, this is absolutely the meal for you. Packed with protein, whole grains, and a healthy helping of veggies, this vibrantly flavor bowl has enough fuel for even the most arduous days.

Sesame-Honey Tempeh and Quinoa Bowl
adapted from Eating Well
serves 2

Quinoa and Carrot Slaw
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup grated carrots (1-2 large)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

Sesame-Honey Tempeh
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 8-ounce package tempeh, crumbled into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)
Scallions, for garnish (optional)
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for topping (optional, unless you're me)
Freshly squeezed lime juice (optional)

1. To prepare quinoa: Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and let stand.

2. To prepare carrot slaw: Meanwhile, combine carrot, cilantro, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. To prepare tempeh: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.

4. Combine honey, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened and coats the tempeh, about 1 minute.

5. Divide the quinoa between 2 bowls and top each with half the slaw and half the tempeh mixture. Sprinkle with garnishes and topping of choice.

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