I am not a vegan, nor am I a “meat-eater.” I am not Paleo, Macrobiotic or Carb-Free. While I try to eat gluten and dairy-free most of the time based on experience with my own body, sometimes I “give in” and want a piece of good-quality sourdough bread or cheese from the local farmer’s market. (Um, the cheese thing happens more than sometimes.) I avoid red meat for the most part, but I won’t say no to a good-quality, organic grass-fed burger every now and then…when I’m in the mood that is. My body knows what it can handle, and I listen to it 99% of the time.
The thing is, I don’t like to define myself, or my diet. I like to think of food as food, and load up on as much food that makes me feel good inside, reducing those things that make me feel not-so-good. It’s as simple as that. As you learn to listen to your body and treat it with lots of love, you’ll come to realize your own recipe for happiness and contentment in your body.
One of the many things that make my body feel really darn good is loading up on plant-based meals prepared with real, whole foods. That is, foods that are as LEAST processed as possible, and closest to their natural state. Therefore, while I am not a strict “vegan” or “vegetarian,” many of my meals happen to be naturally vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Same goes for gluten and dairy; I find often times while cooking I could do without these ingredients and therefore I do.
These Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce that I whipped up the other night is a great example of a not-on-purpose vegan dish prepared with fresh, wholesome ingredients.
Coconut Curry Tempeh Tacos with Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce
Vegan, Free from gluten & dairy
For the tacos:
*makes 6 tacos
- 1 package organic tempeh (8 oz), diced into small squares (I used Lightlife Foods’ Organic Flax Tempeh)
- 6 whole corn tortillas (I used Food for Life’s Sprouted Corn Tortillas)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 TB coconut oil, organic, cold-pressed & unrefined
- 2 TB tamari, organic
- 1 tsp. curry powder (add additional according to taste)
- salt & pepper to taste
- handful of leafy greens (for taco toppings)
1. Heat large skillet on medium heat with coconut oil. Add in shallot and cook for about 3 minutes.
2. Mix in tempeh, using spatula to create a crumbled effect (like ground meat). Add tamari, curry, salt and pepper and stir. Cook until tempeh is lightly browned and crispy. Reduce to low heat, and let sit covered. In the meantime, heat corn tortillas in the oven for a few minutes until soft and warm.
3. Top each tortilla with taco mixture, sauce (see below), & leafy greens and serve.
[We enjoyed ours with a side of homemade fish-chowder!]
For Creamy Garlic & Ginger Tamari Sauce
- 6 cloves garlic, pealed and chopped
- About 1/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/4 c. tamari, organic
- 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed & unrefined
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 1 TB nutritional yeast
- sea salt to taste
Note: This makes enough so you have leftover to use for other dishes, sandwich toppings or as a dip with your favorite veggies.
~Add the garlic, ginger, tamari, lemon juice and half of the olive oil. Blend on high speed in a food-processor or Vitamix (I used a Vitamix). Then slow add in the olive oil, pulsing until it creates a creamy texture. Mix in nutritional yeast and sea salt to taste, and stir with a spoon.
This sauce is seriously AMAZING. I was literally licking the sides of the Vitamix…I kid you not! It was originally inspired by Life Alive’s Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce (which is served on my favorite Green Goddess dish) since I just had to try making something similar at-home. Enjoy!
Do you define your diet, or eat a particular way? Have you ever tried cooking with tempeh? What’s your favorite vegan or vegetarian dish?
This is the tastiest dinner for a single gal (or dude) looking for a filling, hearty fall meal! This dish serves one and can be enjoyed with a side salad, piece of garlic toast & glass of wine…hope you enjoy!
*makes one serving for the single gal in the kitchen
-1/2 c. whole wheat or brown rice pasta
-1/4 c. spinach
-1/4 c. Roma tomato, diced
-3 mini mozzarella balls, halved or quartered
-2 generous TB of homemade pesto
To Make Pesto:
-1 c. fresh basil leaves
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 c. walnuts
-1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-3 TB extra virgin olive oil
-salt & pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to directions on box. In the meantime, add the pesto ingredients in a mini Cuisinart and chop until well grounded, creating a smooth pesto sauce texture.
2. Mix together tomatoes, mozzarella balls, spinach and 2 TB of pesto. Add in the pasta once cooked. Stir together and add in salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!
This is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts because it’s quick, tasty and oh so filling! Enjoy with a piece of Ezekiel or whole grain toast and half a grapefruit!
-1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, whisked with fork
-1/4 c. sliced portobella mushrooms
-1/4 c. chopped zucchini
-1/4 c. spinach
-1/4 c. chopped red onion
-2 TB feta cheese
-1 tsp. oregano
-1 tsp. parsley
-s & p to taste
1. Cook the veggies in olive oil on medium heat, adding in spinach last (because it cooks faster and we don’t want to burn it!)
2. Move veggies to one side, and add in the egg mixture. Cook on medium heat.
3. Once it starts to bubble, add in the feta cheese and herbs. Flip the plain side over the veggie side to form the “omelet shape.” Enjoy : )
Usually, I season my tofu with herbs and garlic, but last night I chose to change it up a bit. I just purchased some sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a brand new bottle of Agave syrup, so decided to experiment. Let’s just say my little experiment was a huge success. I hope you enjoy!
*makes 2 servings
-1 Package Trader Joe’s Thai-style Lime Rice* (or other brand of choice) *Next time I’m going to make my own!
-1/2 package extra firm tofu
-2 TB sesame oil
-2 TB agave syrup
-few shakes of garlic salt (according to taste)
-2 TB olive oil
-1 TB lemon juice
-2 TB sesame seeds
-1/2 TB nutmeg
-1 tsp. ginger
-s & p to taste
1. Preheat oven on 350. Blot the tofu with a paper towel to remove excess water, then chop into edible square pieces.
2. Add tofu into a zip lock bag with oils, herbs, spices and lemon juice (hold off on lime juice). Shake up thoroughly being sure to coat each piece of tofu.
3. Arrange tofu on a coated baking sheet (I like to line with tin foil) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tofu is crisp and slightly browned.
4. In the meantime, cook the rice according to directions, using stovetop or microwave. When the rice is finished, add in the juice of 1/2 lime and stir in.
5. Add in tofu, and top with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a pretty bowl with lime wedge to garnish. Eat with chopsticks or a simple ol’ fork!
A while back, one of my reader’s asked for a recipe for homemade hummus. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t attempted making it until last night. And boy did it turn out delicious…so delicious that I’m actually thinking of never buying store-bought hummus again (well unless I’m realllllyyy craving it and have no chickpeas on hand). Anyway, I used some of the basic hummus ingredients, with a little extra flare to spice it up. I enjoyed my hummus as a side with cucumbers, salad, and baked pita with feta!
-1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
-2 TB olive oil
-1 TB sesame seed oil (tahini)*
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 TB dried oregano
-1 TB dried parsley
-1 to 2 TB fresh chives, chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
*start with 1 TB and add more to taste
1. Drain the chickpeas and place into a large bowl. Mash up with a fork to soften.
2. Add chickpeas into a blender or Cuisinart and start to blend, slowly creating a hummus-like texture. Add in lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil and blend well.
3. Once mixture is well blended and smooth, add in the herbs, salt and pepper and blend on low for another 30 seconds.
4. Serve with chopped veggies or pita chips and enjoy : )