As part of my mission to turn old favorites into plant-based recipes, I discovered gluten-free tempeh* is a perfect stand-in for steak in a stir fry. The fermented soy in the tempeh will soak up loads of flavor from the sauce, and sauteeing your tempeh for a few minutes helps bring out the flavor (uncooked tempeh may be a bit weird, flavor-wise, for some people, but once it’s cooked, it is amazing!).
If you saw my recipe for Egg Foo Yung, you’ll recall that one suggestion I made is using the stem of broccoli to make the vegetable filling. This recipe uses broccoli florets, so maybe serve the two dishes in the same week (that’s how I did it!). Also, if you have leftover green onions, they can be put to use here as well.
*: Make sure your tempeh is gluten free as not all brands / flavors are.
As noted in my recipe for Roasted Carrots, I roast almost all of my vegetables. They simply taste better that way. There are two keys to roasting vegetables: high heat and evenly sized vegetables.
Oh, and some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Everything else is just a variation on the theme.
Also, don’t crowd your vegetables, and make sure as much of the vegetable as possible is touching the pan. It’s that contact with the heat that matters. Here are a few more tips on roasting vegetables.
If I’m using my oven to roast veggies, I cook in the upper third of my oven and turn once or twice during the cooking process. If I’m using the grill, I keep an eye on the vegetables to ensure even browning (versus, you know, burning). You want to achieve a nice level of caramelization — a deep golden brown shade.
How to Roast
- Preheat your oven or grill to 425 degrees.
- Make sure your vegetables are about the same size.
- Toss with olive oil (a few tablespoons usually does the trick)
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Other herbs and spices can be used as well.
- Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until you have a good number of caramelized spots. Turn once or twice during the cooking process if necessary. Different veggies cook at different times, so pay attention!
So what can you roast? Read on, my friends, read on. This is, obviously, not a complete list…use your imagination.
- Asparagus. Break off the woody ends, otherwise leave whole. If you’re adding to a pasta, you can cut into smaller pieces, then roast. Asparagus cooks pretty fast, so check at the fifteen minute mark.
- Bell peppers. Cut into strips and roast.
- Broccoli. I love roasted broccoli. Cut into 1 − 1 1/2 inch florets. The ends will get very brown, but that’s a good thing. You can also roast the stems.
- Cauliflower. Oh, roasted cauliflower is especially good (and use the leftovers as the basis for a great soup; or just, you know, roast the cauliflower for the soup). Cut into 1 − 1 1/2 inch pieces. Or make roasted cauliflower “steaks”: cut the head of cauliflower into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush olive oil onto both sides, add salt and pepper, and roast, turning once. Yummy!
- Parsnips. Roast like carrots — diagonal chunks or whole (cut in half if the parsnips are especially thick).
- Sweet Potatoes. Cut into 1-inch chunks, and serve as a meal or make part of a great sweet potato salad. You’re welcome.
- Turnips. Cut into 1-inch chunks and discover what you’ve been missing all these years.
- Zucchini. I usually cut my zucchini in half or quarters (lengthwise) and roast away.
Another weeknight quickie, especially if you’re using leftover quinoa (or rice). It’s a great vegetarian option that is highly flexible when it comes to ingredients. For example, instead of spinach, I’ve used dandelion greens or kale. In fact, you can mix up the ingredients all sorts of ways…to the point where instead of a bell pepper, maybe you’re stuffing an acorn or butternut squash (note: this may increase cooking time!).
For the gluten-free eater, gumbo is one of those foods we will likely never enjoy in a restaurant. At the heart of this dish is the classic New Orleans-style roux — a mix of flour and oil cooked until it is a rich, deep brown. Roux is synonymous with gumbo.
But I love gumbo, and knew I could make an excellent dish using gluten-free flour, specifically, in my case, Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour. I also borrowed a trick from Alton Brown, using my oven to build my roux. This allowed me to do all my prep work while the roux turned a gorgeous shade of chocolate brown.
You can make chicken gumbo, shrimp gumbo, vegetarian gumbo, gumbo with okra, without okra. It’s your gumbo. This recipe has everything but the okra (which I prefer served on the side, lightly fried rather than in the stew itself). As a bonus, gumbo served over steamed rice makes an impressive they’ll-never-guess-it’s-GF party dish!
Jambalaya is most strongly associated with Louisiana, though friends from Mississippi claim it as their own. Every person who makes jambalaya has his or her own secret recipe — and, if you spend about five minutes searching for recipes on Google, you will discover dozens of variations of this classic dish.
Put another way: this recipe is just a starting point for your own version of jambalaya. My recipe anticipates you will have plenty of time to cook this dish…but, as you will see, there are plenty of opportunities to speed up the meal if time is short.
There are two major types of jambalaya: Creole, which contains tomato and is often associated with New Orleans, Cajun, which relies upon browned veggies and meat for a wonderful smoky flavor. My recipe blends the best of both styles, featuring chicken, spicy andouille sausage, and, when it’s on sale, shrimp.
Needless to say, jambalaya is a great party dish because the recipe can easily be doubled. It’s also a great dish for crockpots.