Friday, January 23, 2015

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

I have been making this wrap for years now. I think it may even be the first recipe that I made with tempeh. I got it from a blog (I think). I tried searching for the original recipe, but can't find it anywhere! So whoever started this recipe, thank you so much for endless nights of tantalizing taste buds!

Over the years the recipe has changed little by little, adding a marinade to the tempeh, different flavors on the greens, more greens to the wrap, but the original taste of the pineapple wasabi sauce is the same! It is one of my favorite sauces that I make. The sweet tangy pineapple along with the zesty wasabi in unmatched. I usually double the sauce, just to have extra the next day.

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

I feel that tempeh is another one of those ingredients that people either love or hate. If they're on the hater side, I am convinced they just haven't had it prepared right. I have always loved tempeh, but as of the last year, I love it even more. What changed you ask? I know always marinade my tempeh before cooking it. Once it's cooked, I put it back in the marinade for one last coating. The marinade flavor comes through better, which in my opinion, tempeh needs because it doesn't absorb marinades quite like tofu.

Since I'm bringing up tofu, you could easily use tofu in place of tempeh, but tempeh is actually the healthier option. It has a nutty flavor and is much more dense. Tempeh is fermented soy beans, making it easier to digest than other beans. The entire bean is fermented, making it a great source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. It actually has over twice the amount of protein as tofu does ... usually 15-20 grams / 4 ounces (depending on the brand)! Some new studies even show that the way your body absorbs the calcium is almost equivalent to how bodies absorb the calcium in cow's milk!

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

I usually lean towards tempeh for my meals and leave tofu for sauces and desserts. It is completely preference, but hopefully the nutritional boost of tempeh helps you give it a few more glances next time you're debating tempeh vs tofu at the store!


Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

Makes 3

8 oz tempeh
3 T olive oil
2 T tamari
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

1/4 c veganaise
3 T pineapple, finely chopped
1 1/2 t wasabi, depending on the strength of your wasabi you may want to adjust this
1 t ground mustard

1 c cabbage, julienned
2 scallions
1 t rice wine vinegar
1 t lime juice

1 cup spinach
a handful of sprouts
3 tortillas*


*To make gluten free, use cabbage leaves as your tortilla and use more spinach to mix with the rice wine vinegar and lime juice instead of the cabbage.

Cut tempeh into 2 inch by 1/2 inch slices. Mix together the marinade of olive oil, tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over your tempeh and leave it for at least 2 hours, flipping it around every now and again making sure everything is getting coated.

Meanwhile, mix the veganaise, wasabi, pineapple and ground mustard in a bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix your cabbage, scallions, rice wine vinegar and lime juice (if you are making them gluten free, use more spinach or other greens instead of cabbage and use large cabbage leaves for your wrap. Set aside.

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

When you are ready to start cooking, heat a little oil in a pan. Take your tempeh out of the marinade (reserving the marinade for later) and lay them flat in your pan on medium heat. Cook on both sides for about 5-6 minutes or until nicely browned. Once done, throw the tempeh back in the marinade to get even more flavor on them!

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

Finally, assemble your wraps with sauce, tempeh, cabbage mixture, greens and sprouts. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Pineapple Wasabi Tempeh Wraps

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why I Love Nutritional Yeast

I think obsessed would be an understatement when talking about my love for nutritional yeast. Whenever I'm talking nutrition (which is a lot), I always bring out my big container of nutritional yeast to show people. I think the reason I have run out of my small tupperware is that I always send a sample of nutritional yeast home with friends so they can try it out and fall in love too.

So, what is nutritional yeast anyways? It's not brewers yeast, it's not bread yeast ... it's TOTALLY different. Nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows in a controlled environment on sugar cane and beet molasses. It gets harvested and is heated to deactivate the yeast, keeping it from leavening when you use it. This process dries it out and it becomes the yellow, flaky product that we can buy from the store. It has a distinct cheesy, nutty flavor.

15 Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

I started using nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute when I needed one. However, there are so many great benefits to it, I now add it to so many things, even when I don't need a cheese substitute. It is a complete protein which means that it contains all of the amino acids that your body can't produce. It also contains a ton of minerals including zinc, manganese and iron. It contains 4 grams of fiber too! Nutritional yeast is low in sodium and fat which makes it a great flavor burst to foods while being good for your diet. It's gluten free, soy free and dairy free.

Being a vegetarian, I love nutritional yeast for its B-Vitamins, including B-6, B-12, folate, thiamine and niacin to name a few. Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day can give you your daily dose of Vitamin B. Because nutritional yeast is grown in a controlled environment, it is fortified with B-12, which can only be found in animal products. It is important for us veggie eaters to get our B-12. B-12 deficiency can be the cause of many things ... anemia, gastritis, immune system disorders like Graves' disease or lupus and even conditions effecting the small intestines like celiac disease, Crohn's disease or bacterial growth.

Nutritional yeast is not just for vegetarians and vegans though! It is a great addition to any diet, gluten-free, paleo ... even carnivores! Lastly, not all nutritional yeast is created equal. Check the label to make sure it has what you're looking for. Because not all nutritional yeast is the same, they will vary in flavor too. The brands I tend to use are Frontier, Mrs. Braggs and Kal.

Why I Love Nutritional Yeast


15 Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

  1. It's a thickener ... replace flour in any sauce using nutritional yeast as your thickening agent.
  2. It's a binder ... replace your breadcrumbs in a burger to help hold them together.
  3. Add it to baby food.
  4. Sprinkle it on popcorn.
  5. Make a Vegan Mac & Cheese or even add some to your box macaroni and cheese.
  6. Top your salad with it.
  7. Make a salad dressing with nutritional yeast, olive oil, Mrs. Braggs Amino Acids, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle it on homemade tortilla chips or kale chips before baking them.
  9. Mix it in your mashed potatoes.
  10. Add it to your soup.
  11. Sprinkle it on your roasted vegetables.
  12. Add jalapenos to this cheese sauce for some amazing nachos! Or, use the cheese sauce as a dip or mix with your favorite roasted vegetables. I love it with steamed spinach too!
  13. Add it to your marinade.
  14. Toss it with your fries before you bake them.
  15. Make an eggless egg salad or even add it to your normal egg salad.

Or ... if you're like my son, you'll grab a spoon and have a scoop just as it is! However you decide to use nutritional yeast, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and please, I'm always interested in more ways to use it so let me know how you like to use nutritional yeast too!

Why I Love Nutritional Yeast

Sources:
The back of my Bragg's Nutritional Yeast can.
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms-causes
http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/blogs/practical-well-being/nutritional-yeast-demystified
http://www.livestrong.com/article/263528-what-are-the-benefits-of-nutritional-yeast-flakes


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers

I've been trying to use more tahini lately. It is a higher protein source than nuts ... and is a perfect nut substitute. It is high in B Vitamins, which us vegetarians are always looking for. It's a 'good' fat, rich in minerals and it's easy for your body to digest. I think we all could use a little more tahini. Yes, it's high in calories, but everything in moderation, right?!

I've never been that creative with tahini besides hummus and spreading in on a sandwich, I don't use it that much. For my family, when I need to get something in our diets, I put it in a burger! Everyone eats burgers and the new ingredients is hidden a bit. You can always find good food combinations so it will taste great too.


Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers

I discovered Moroccan burgers at a restaurant a while back. Cumin, coriander, ginger ... the spices are right up my alley! However, there are usually raisins or dates in their food, which I'm not a huge fan of in my dinners. It's just a personal preference, like don't fruit my salad, but I wanted to leave them out ... the sweet potatoes are sweet enough! Plus, sweet potatoes are again on the EWG's Clean 15 list so if you are buying non-organic, they are one of the vegetables that doesn't get sprayed with as many pesticides as others! I had to make these a couple times to get all the spices and the consistency to work. I don't have a burger or entree that's anything like this. The kids are really enjoying them too!


Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers

Makes 8

1 lg sweet potato, about 2 cups, diced
1/2 c quinoa
1 c water
1/2 c garbanzo beans, cooked
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 med carrot, shredded
3/4 c oats
1/3 c tahini
3 T cilantro
3/4 t salt
3/4 t pepper
3/4 t cumin
3/4 t coriander
3/4 t ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t cayenne pepper (a little more if you need more spice in your life)


Preheat oven for 400ยบ.

Boil a pot of water. Cook sweet potato until it is tender.

In another pot, cook quinoa in water. Bring both to boil, then turn down heat and cover. Once water is gone, the quinoa should be nice and plump!

Meanwhile, saute, onions and garlic in a little oil until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add carrots and cook a few more minutes.

Once the quinoa and potatoes are done, put them in a food processor with oats, tahini, cilantro and spices. Mix until everything is well combined. In a bowl, mix the potato and quinoa mixture with your carrots and onions.


Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers

Divide into 8 patties. Bake on an oiled sheet tray for 18 minutes. Flip them and cook for another 5 minutes. They will firm up a bit more when they are out.


Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers

Serve with your favorite toppings. I like spreading a little more tahini on the bun!

Moroccan Sweet Potato Burgers


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