I adore japanese sweet potatoes and they always bring back memories of cold days in Japan when I would pick them up wrapped in paper from a vendor cooking them on coals on the street or outside a little convenience shop. They are my favorite snack, require only a little sea salt, and taste amazing to me. Note that they take longer to cook than the kale and onions!
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and one of my preferred ways to eat protein. Through the fermentation process the phytic acid is reduced and the iron availability is increased! I always need more iron in my diet and plant-based sources of protein so this is a winner for me. I fell in love with it in Indonesia where it is a staple part of their diet.
In this preparation I use pan-fried spiced tempeh, baked sweet potatoes, kale, and red onions topped with a tahini dressing. I tend to make a big batch of tahini dressing to have around but if you were to prepare this in one sitting, start by pre-heating the oven, getting the vegetables washed and ready for the oven. Make the dressing and then prepare the tempeh. The timing should be perfect at about 45 minutes - 1 hour for what could be a few meals for the week.
I cook my tempeh in red palm oil. Why? Well mostly because I wanted to experiment with this oil and then once I did, I realized it offered the best compliment to this powerhouse protein for its ease of use, buttery flavor, and nutrient profile that beats coconut oil. It is full of medium chain fatty acids, tocotrienols, tocopherols and carotenoids. From the Thrive Market site: "Nutiva Red Palm Oil is a rich, flavorful culinary oil chock-full of vitamins A and E. Nutiva’s certified organic, non-GMO and Fair Trade red palm oil is grown on small, family-owned, organic farms in Ecuador in partnership with Natural Habitats. Their palm oil does not contribute to deforestation or habitat destruction." I buy mine here.
Satsumaimo or Murasaki Sweet Potatoes
1 bunch lacinato or dino kale
2 red onions
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and begin to prepare your vegetables. Chop the onion into quarters, de-stem the kale and tear to reasonable sizes, and chop the potatoes in half long-ways. I used separate pans for these as their bake times differ. Cover the vegetables in a light coating of EVOO. The kale will cook quickly in less than 10 minutes, the onions about 20, and the potatoes about 45. Check on them. When I created this recipe, I was working with an old oven that only heated to 250 so my math may be off!
1 packet of organic tempeh, I use this brand.
2 TB Nutiva Red Palm Oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chilli powder
In a sauce pan or skillet, add 2 T Red Palm Oil on medium heat. Open packet of tempeh, cut the length of the tempeh in half, then cut the height of it in half, stack it and prepare small cube-like size pieces. Once you can place one tempeh on the pan and the oil bubbles around it, you are ready to place the whole lot on the pan. Toss the tempeh in the oil and let it cook on medium heat for a few minutes to crisp the bottom. Then turn the heat to low and toss again. Once the oil is fully absorbed and you find the tempeh is crisp but definitely not burnt, you are done. In the process, add more oil if needed but I have found 2-3 T to be sufficient. Add seasoning liberally and to taste. Set aside.
1/2 cup tahini
1/2-3/4 cup water as desired for thickness
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, or sub 1 tsp garlic powder
1 T olive oil
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 T raw honey (optional or to taste)
Place all ingredients in your high-speed blender and add water slowly to desired consistency. The sweeteners is optional. I like it but often I don't feel it is necessary.
Combine your cooked veg and top with dressing, adding tempeh last. Yum!! The most satisfying cooked plant-based meal. I am obsessed with this!
Repeat as often as your seasonal produce permits. Tempeh is something I keep in the fridge and make very frequently. Do not be afraid of whole and fermented organic and non-gmo soybeans. You will need to consume primarily 60G of the Soy Protein Isolate to be concerned about the estrogenic effects the media likes to hype up. This is not Soy Protein Isolate. This is a healthy superfood with added fermented bonus.