14 October 2009

Good Stuff: Granola, Tempeh, and Kale

I like to think that it's been a fairly healthy food day for me, as I've still managed to feel satisfied in that comfort-food type of way without gorging on fat and calorie-laden fare. Not that I'm any expert, but I know how much worse it could have gotten (and get), given the current rainy spell and the gluttony-inducing holiday season right around the corner. I think the granola is what got me started. There are phases when I seem to eat it all the time, spurring the burnout period, which in turn cycles back to eventually wanting granola all over again...and so it goes. Today broke the burnout part of the granola cycle, and I went back to my go-to recipe to bake up a fresh batch.

The reason I enjoy this specific granola is that, for people like myself who find the texture of food almost as significant in the eating experience as ingredients and taste, this provides both chewy and crunchy components, fitting whatever preference I might have at any given point. And it's addictive. Not only does it contain maple syrup, brown sugar, and pecans (all of which I love), the clumps and bits make it so easy to just pop in your mouth without knowing just how much you've consumed. I actually followed the recipe amounts as written, except that I had to substitute the spelt flour with whole wheat and reduced the amount of ginger to 1/4 teaspoon. I'll often make a batch with chopped dates rather than apricots, reduce the sugar, substitute molasses for some of the maple syrup, or use whole almonds rather than pecans. The wonderful thing about granola is that it is so versatile and can be made to fit each individual's tastes. And this version doesn't use as much oil as many others out there, so it's definitely a healthier snack than, say, French fries (a weakness of mine, I confess). Actually, I would have reduced the sugar by half, had I read my own notes, which would have made it that much better for me. Ooops.

Tempeh was to be the focus of lunch/dinner. I'm more of a tofu sort of gal, only because it was more familiar to me in my early stages of vegetarianism (and then veganism) than tempeh, seitan, or other animal-free proteins. But I do eat all of those once in awhile (I particularly love the Tempeh Sausage and White Bean Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance) and am trying to get more soy-free protein into my diet. I thought today that I would gather up some tempeh and the bunch of Tuscan kale from the farmers' market and start from there in deciding what to cook. Rather than try to go with something elaborate, I went with the "just wing it" option, throwing together a simple dish of marinated sesame tempeh and braised kale and hoping it would result in something edible.

It did, and actually, I really liked how the tempeh and kale turned out. I boiled tempeh chunks in vegetable stock, then marinated it in a shoyu-mirin-hot sauce mixture (with a dash each of sesame oil, garlic powder, and onion powder), then grilled them until brown. While browning the tempeh--using a nonstick pan negated the need for additional oil--I used the broth from earlier to braise strips of kale. I piled up the kale then the tempeh in a shallow bowl and sprinkled gomashio and roasted white sesame seeds over it all. Somewhere during the kale-tempeh experiment, I baked up a batch of Sunset Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Times, opting to cut out neat little discs rather than using the drop method, as well as limiting the nutmeg to just a pinch. It was a simple but satisfying meal, and I'm thinking that with all the nutrients and other good stuff involved, not too unhealthy, either. At least, that's the hope.


  1. That Tempeh and Kale looks delicious!

  2. I'm no nutritionist either, but it definitely sounds like a healthy day to me. And, more importantly, a delicious one!

  3. I'm no nutritionist either, but it definitely sounds like a healthy day to me. And, more importantly, a delicious one!

  4. That Tempeh and Kale looks delicious!


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