Meatless Monday! Meat, Potatoes and a Vegetable

Venturing into Meatless Monday territory can be intimidating when you’re comfortable with meat, a starch and a veg for dinner. Well, today’s Meatless Monday is a very simple dish: You’ve got a meaty protein, a baked potato (yes! There is room for a white baked potato in a healthy diet!), and a green vegetable plus a rich, creamy sauce.

Hold on, you may be thinking. That ain’t chicken or steak! The protein on this dish is tempeh. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying tempeh before, it’s a tasty, chewy, meaty soy product. It’s high in protein and fiber and less processed than its cousin tofu. Because it’s fermented, it’s also much more digestible than tofu.

But wait, is that hollandaise sauce on that asparagus? And is that a big wad of butter melting on that potato? Nope. You’re looking at a creamy and healthy sauce made from just two ingredients. Here are the details to make two servings of this simple dish—just multiply to make more:

• 2 baking potatoes, each about the size of your computer mouse. Feel free to sub a sweet potato or yam of the same size
• 1 bunch of fresh asparagus spears, rinsed and woody ends snapped off
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• Sea salt and pepper
• Garlic powder 
• 1 package of organic tempeh (I prefer Lightlife Flax Tempeh), sliced in triangles or squares (note that the outside of the tempeh is not very absorbent, but the inside of the tempeh is)
• Tempeh marinade
  o ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  o ¼ cup tamari (or wheat free soy sauce)
  o 1 Tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
  o 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• Simple Tahini Miso sauce
  o 1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  o 1 Tbsp mellow white miso paste
  o 1 Tbsp very hot water

• Marinate your tempeh at least one hour but up to a full day ahead: Mix the marinade in an 8x8(ish) pan and lay the slices of tempeh in it to marinate. Give it a stir or shake every once in a while to coat the pieces well
• Scrub potatoes, stabbing them with a fork a few times, and toss them into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour
• Lay your asparagus on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. In the last half hour of the potatoes’ cooking, 
• When the potatoes are within a half hour of being done, pop the tempeh in the oven as well to cook on a bottom rack, and put the asparagus sheet pan on the top rack with the potatoes. The tempeh will take between 20-25 minutes to finish (the product is already cooked, so no need to worry about “doneness”). Most of the marinade will be cooked off. The asparagus will take about the same time, depending on their thickness
• Make the sauce for the vegetables: While everything finishes in the oven, add the tahini, miso and hot water to a small bowl and stir well to combine. That’s it for the sauce!

It really is an easy dish to get on the table. Let me know if you give any or all of these components a try for your Meatless Monday!

Weeknight Meal: Yam and Chickpea Stew with Indian Spices

I pride myself on throwing together great weeknight meals in record time, and one I whipped up Wednesday ranks high up on the list. It came together quickly, but you'd never know it with the complex layers of flavors! This hearty stew uses mostly pantry basics (okay, fresh ginger isn't always on hand, but you can substitute ground ginger in a pinch), making it a new weeknight classic in our house.

   Serves 4-6


Serves 4-6

1 large onion, chopped (any type)
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of the knife and minced
2 medium yams (about 1.5 lbs), cut into half inch cubes
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced (you can sub 2 tsp dried ground ginger)
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can diced unsalted tomatoes with their juice (look for a BPA-free can)
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans (or one can drained and rinsed)
2 cups water
Sea salt to taste
Optional: Pumpkin seeds as garnish

1. Cook onion and garlic over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until very soft. Stir occasionally and continually add just enough water to the pan to prevent the onions and garlic from sticking.
2. Add the ginger and spices and cook for another minute, until ginger is fragrant.
3. Add the yam and stir to coat the vegetables with the spices. Cook for another minute or two as you stir
4. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the beans and the water.
5. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.

This 20 minutes of cooking time is a great time to throw together a green salad!

6. Salt to taste when the yam is completely tender.

You can either serve the soup chunky like this, or you can puree about 2 cups of the soup and stir it back into the pot for a creamier texture.