Friday, October 26, 2012

Tempting Tempeh Taco Time!!


The inspiration: So I have been super busy these past few days, and have had to throw together some really last minute dinners which actually turned out surprisingly well. Tacos are quick and fun, and I like that you can make up a sort of taco bar, where everyone gets to make their own tacos with whatever toppings they prefer so tacos were an easy choice.

The idea: Crumble up tempeh (a soybean patty) so that it is similar in texture to ground meat and then season and cook it so that it tastes like taco filling. Make other toppings like guac, lettuce/cabbage mix, chopped onions, salsa, etc.... and let everyone go wild.

Nutrition nut: Tempeh is a lightly fermented soybean patty, so it is a complete protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids. It also has all of the fiber of the soybeans, and is lightly fermented so that the soy is actually easier to digest. It also just taste darn good. We get some more fiber and antioxidants in this meal by using taco toppings such as romaine lettuce, red cabbage, salsa, and red onions. We also get our dose of healthy fats from the avocado in the guac! Using whole wheat tortillas is also an excellent idea, although my brother hates whole wheat anything, so that wasn't an option tonight. Sad day.

The Verdict: My Dad and brother devoured them, and I will remind you for the millionth time that neither of them are vegan! My brother even asked if he could take the leftovers to school the next day!!
WHAT what!

Recipe: Tempting Tempeh Tacos
Just onions and bell peppers at this point.

Taco filling ingredients:
- 2 packages plain tempeh
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 minced medium garlic clove
- 1 cup canned, crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablsepoon chile powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chile pepper flakes (optional, depends on how spicy you want it)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

All of the veggies are in, and tempeh is about to go in!
1. In a saute pan saute the onions  & green bell peppers on medium heat until they are starting to turn clear. If they onions start to stick, add some water or oil, whichever you prefer.
2. Add in the red bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic and saute for a another few minutes until the bell peppers have really softened. Again, if they start to stick, add a little water or oil to loosen things up.
3. Crumble the tempeh by hand into the pan with the vegetables. Try to crumble it into as fine of a grain as possible, this will make very similar to traditional taco filling.
4. Stir around the tempeh so that it mixes with the vegetables.
5. Add in the tomatoes as well as all of the spices. Mix well.
6. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible, and let it cook for at least 20 minutes. You can stir it every once in a while if you think it needs that.

Gauc with everything mixed in!
Guacamole ingredients:
- juice of one medium lime
- meat of 3 avocados
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 3/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (optional, if you liked it spicy definitely add it though)

1. Place avocado meat and lime juice in a bowl.
2. Using a fork, mash up the avocado meat until almost completely smooth. (You could also do this in a food processor but I'm old-fashioned. Okay okay, I'm just too lazy to use and then wash the food processor, you got me)
3. Add all the other ingredients and mix, mix, mix!

Taco Bar!! The finished filling is on the right side.
Taco Bar toppings: Now you can add whatever toppings to your taco bar that you like. This is the best part of the whole thing, so go wild and prepare whatever toppings your heart desires. I always like to have a couple of vegetable options, some salsa, and always some guac. Some things I have had in the past that would be good ideas are a (vegan) cheese, black beans, tofu sour cream, or anything else that sounds good on a taco! Here is a list of the toppings I prepared on this particular night.
- chopped romaine lettuce & red cabbage
- chopped red onions
- pickled jalapenos
- salsa (not home-made)
- guacamole

Eating TACO TIME!!
Now all we do is heat up some tortillas, get some Tempting Tempeh Taco filling, and load up on whatever toppings our hearts desire.

Leftover ideas:
We had lots of taco filling leftovers, so for lunch the next day my brother took some taco filling and guac to school, and at it like a dip with a bag of tortilla chips. You can also re-heat it, add some more tomato sauce, and have some south-of-the-border sloppy joes. There definitely many other ways to use the leftovers as well, but my genius brain can't think of any. Let me know what you think, and if anyone has any creative ways to use the leftovers, please let me know!

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