Mongolian Tempeh Stir-Fry

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.

Broccoli and White Beans with Goat Cheese and Lemon Dressing

If you’d asked seven-year old me how I often I’d eat broccoli as an adult, I’d have probably put the number at about “never”. Poor, deluded seven-year old me. It turns out I eat broccoli (and its relatives) all the time.

I love this salad. It has roasted broccoli (fact: all vegetables are better roasted), beans, cheese, and a lemony dressing. It’s basically a summer salad that happens to be filling, delicious, and vegetarian if you omit the anchovies (plus, ahem, gluten free!).

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

This is a great, easy recipe for weeknight meals. Soy sauce and fish sauce marinate the chicken. A bit of brown sugar added to the final stir fry adds a touch of sweetness and helps caramelize the chicken while it’s cooking. Bright green broccoli is the final touch in this fast meal.

Lunch Misadventures

“So, is anyone here a picky eater?”

The question from a co-worker came as our department sat down at a dim sum restaurant. The restaurant was busy with a lunchtime crowd, and our group took up two large round tables in a private dining room. Already the lazy Susan was laden with dumplings, and another cart filled with delicious food was being wheeled into the room. Everyone was grabbing steamer dishes and exclaiming over flavors.

“Because,” my co-worker continued, “this is not a place for picky eaters.” Then he looked directly at me, like he’d found a picky eater. “Aren’t you going to eat anything?” Continue reading “Lunch Misadventures”

Beef with Broccoli

If there’s one thing I miss about my pre-gluten-free days, it’s going out for Chinese food. Sure, even then, I could make it for myself, but there’s something about the way restaurants prepare the food that had me going back, time and again.

Yeah, that’s generally a solid clue what I ordered wasn’t the most healthy choice on the menu. Except when I ordered beef with broccoli. Done right, it’s a fairly healthy dish. And, it turns out, it’s so easy to make at home.

Which is perfect for those times when I want to treat myself with my favorite food!

More Roasted Veggies

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

  1. Preheat your oven or grill to 425 degrees.
  2. Make sure your vegetables are about the same size.
  3. Toss with olive oil (a few tablespoons usually does the trick)
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Other herbs and spices can be used as well.
  5. 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!
  6. Eat!

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.

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This is a quick and easy way to serve broccoli on a hot summer night (or any other time!). It’s a great salad for parties as well. The buttermilk dressing is creamy and refreshing. The nuts and berries add tastiness, and experimenting with flavors is a definite bonus in this salad.

The broccoli can be just the florets or a mix of florets and stem (the stems add a lot of body to this salad. If you aren’t into the stems, omit them.

You’ll probably end up with more dressing than you need. If it’s too thick for your taste, thin it with a bit more buttermilk. If you’re making the salad in advance, use some of the leftover dressing to freshen up the salad right before serving. Or, use the dressing on you favorite green salad.

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